TURIN, Italy – A Sunday match-up between the giants of Italian football, Roma and Juventus, gave us an early glimpse as to who has the advantage momentarily in the Serie A title race. In a game that could have meant so much in terms of the squads actual abilities, it was decimated by poor officiating which ruined not only the match but was another chip out of what little credibility the FIGC possesses.
A Tainted Victory – Juventus vs Roma
It was a night in which Roma dominated possession throughout the pitch, controlling the tempo and dictating the pace. This was a match, like in Manchester, in which Roma were short several key cogs throughout the lineup. It did mark the return of Iturbe who managed to convert off of a lovely through ball from Gervinho, and a return for Andrea Pirlo of Juventus as well, making his first start of the campaign. Juventus were reduced to counter attacking football and were not able to create much of a dent on the match thanks to Roma’s high pressure. That is, not counting assistance from the match officials.
It will be a game etched in the memory of many for Gianluca Rocchi’s inability to maintain a grasp on the pitch first off. Understandably he attempted to encourage the flow of the game by reducing stoppages and so forth, yet by doing so it fostered aggressiveness amongst the players of both squads. A match which saw nine cards handed out by the end of it, it was a spirited spectacle from both teams and a refreshing sight for viewers of it – evident that more than just three points were at stake here.
This is not Rocchi’s only impact on the game; as Roma’s Rudi Garcia (who was sent to the stands for making a violin gesture) put it best “It’s a shame that the penalty boxes are 19 yards here”. Rocchi gave three penalties on the night, the two that went Juventus’ way are debatable although Roma’s was evident; Francesco Totti was clearly hauled down in the box by Stephan Lichtsteiner.
For Juventus the first was awarded for a handball on Maicon, the second a tackle from Pjanic. The issue is that both fouls were committed outside of the 18-yard box – to have one called, mistakes happen, but two just left supporters sore. These are difficult calls to make, matters of inches so one must feel a bit for the referee. To make matters worse, replays show a Juventus striker in an offside position obstructing Roma keeper Skorupski’s view of the ball on the 85th minute match winner from Juve’s Bonucci.
At the end of the day, he is paid to correctly make those calls having much experience in the top flight in big game situations like this so it is unexcusable. What is the point of the 5th official who stands behind the goal waiting for moments like these if they do not actually contribute to outcome of matches anyway? This entire situation confirms the dire need for video replay, as Roma captain Francesco Totti reiterated afterwards.
Another far worse blight to what could have been an incredible evening of calcio were the Juventus supporters who racially taunted Roma’s Adem Ljajic with anti-Semitic insults, according to Sky Sport. This led to Kevin Strootman gesturing in an offensive manner towards the individual with pictures of the incident surfacing over social media. As of now, nothing has been resolved on this issue. The only matter resolved is confirmation of Juventus’ tainted victory over Roma, and my, how tainted it was.
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