Ref row brews in Italy

2015-01-21 15:16
Referee whistle (File)

Milan - Empoli coach Maurizio Sarri has branded the Coppa Italia an "unsporting competition" after his team's controversial extra-time defeat to AS Roma, the latest refereeing controversy to hit Italian football.

Roma converted a penalty six minutes from time for a foul by Piotr Zielinski on Leandro Paredes in Tuesday's game. However, replays appeared to show that Zielinski played the ball cleanly before any contact was made with his opponent.

"There's my own resentment, but above all I'm upset for the lads," Sarri told state broadcaster RAI.

"If I'm going to be honest, this competition doesn't interest me at all because it's unsporting, there are teams who have entered in the fifth or sixth round," he added

"The club have told me not to talk about the penalty but everyone in the stadium saw what happened. Two of the Roma players told me afterwards that it was not a penalty."

The Coppa Italia is a knockout competition where the top eight clubs from the previous season's Serie A are given byes until the round of 16 - the fifth round - while other Serie A clubs entre the fray in the fourth round.

That means there is almost no possibility of lower tier clubs getting the chances to play the likes of Roma and Juventus.

Roma themselves have been sulking since September when they lost 3-2 to Juventus in a top-of-the-table Serie A clash which produced three penalties, two to Juve.

However, Roma were the beneficiaries of another controversy when they beat Udinese 1-0 this month after the referee over-ruled his assistant and gave a goal in a ball-over-the-line incident.

Roma coach Rudi Garcia backed the penalty award against Empoli.

"I haven't seen the pictures, I've just been told that the penalty was clear," he said.

"You can see that the Empoli player takes away Paredes' legs and the referee is less than five metres away, he's in an excellent position to make a judgement.

"You just need to have faith in the referee. However, I don't know if the Empoli player touches the ball first and the legs afterwards."

"The most important thing in the Cup is to qualify," he added. "We had more than 30 shots on goal. The only thing that matters is to go forward."

Read more on:    roma  |  serie a  |  soccer

What To Read Next


Read News24’s Comments Policy publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.
Live Video Streaming
Video Highlights
Sport Talk

Live scoring

Love 2 Meet
English Premiership flutter

Take Sport24's "expert" tips at your peril...


With the Absa Premiership in full swing, who will be crowned champions when all is said and done? Will Mamelodi Sundowns defend their title? Or can Kaizer Chiefs, Orlando Pirates or Bidvest Wits mount a serious challenge? Stay glued to Sport24 to find out!

Latest blogs

Who was the best summer signing in the EPL?

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.