Juve victory shrouded in more controversy
Controversy with more betting implications returned to Italy’s top flight yesterday as Juventus extended their lead and nine-man Lazio dropped to fourth after a bad-tempered defeat to Fiorentina.
Arturo Vidal’s 57th-minute winner against Catania helped Juve stretch their unbeaten streak to 48 matches.
Juventus now have a three-point lead on second-placed Napoli who came through a tough encounter at home to Chievo thanks to Marek Hamsik’s 59th-minute winner.
However, the Turin giants’ eighth win in nine games came amid huge controversy.
Argentine striker Ruben Bergessio had tapped a rebound from Nicolas Spolli’s glancing header past Gianluigi Buffon in the Juve goal to give Catania a 27th-minute lead and send the Sicilian fans wild.
Buffon, making his 500th Serie A appearance, looked to have been fairly beaten but Catania’s celebrations were cut short when the referee disallowed the opener after consulting with his assistant who said Bergessio was offside.
Club president Antonino Pulvirenti was sent from a furious Catania bench and later complained: “For me, that’s the end of football. Bergessio’s goal was cancelled by the Juve bench.
“The referee and the linesman gave the goal, but after protests from the Juve bench they went back on their decision.”
Despite the Sicilians’ defeat, Irish bookmaker Paddy Power announced it had paid out to punters who backed them to win.
It activated the “Justice Payout” system in Italy for the first time, and explained in a statement: “Sometimes the result is so unfair that it’s simply a fair reimbursement.”
Juventus official Beppe Marotta brushed off claims suggesting foul play. “These accusations don’t even deserve a response,” he said. “The referee was wrong but we would have won on points.”
As Inter maintained their recent resurgence with a 3-1 win away to Bologna which moved them up to third, a fiery, 2-0 defeat to Fiorentina dropped Lazio to fourth.
Serbian striker Adem Ljajic gave La Viola the lead when he dribbled past Lazio’s Alvaro Gonzalez to rocket the ball into the top corner in first-half injury time.
Lazio levelled thanks to Stefano Mauri’s diving header in the 59th minute but he was flagged offside.
The visitors began to dominate but ultimately failed to level and when Luca Toni came on for the hosts the tide turned.
Toni spurned two quick chances and then Lazio’s composure evaporated when Cristian Ledesma gave away a foul which earned him a second yellow card and a sending-off.
Lazio were then reduced to nine men when Brazilian midfielder Hernanes was shown a straight red for a nasty foul on Cuadrado.
Toni’s persistence finally paid off in the dying seconds when he used his physique to hold off the defence, turn and smash the ball into the net to seal Fiorentina’s win.
Lazio coach Vladmir Petkovic praised Fiorentina but felt aggrieved by the referee’s decision not to award Mauri’s goal.
“The goal was clearly not offside,” he told Sky Italia.
Napoli briefly lost touch with the top after a 2-0 defeat at Juventus last week but Hamsik’s strike was enough to secure the points.
In yesterday’s other late match Roma were stunned 3-2 by Udinese. The Giallorossi had built a 2-0 lead thanks to a quick brace from Erik Lamela.
However Zdenek Zeman’s side were pegged back by Maurizio Domizzi’s 32nd-minute goal and then stunned by a double, including an 88th-minute penalty, from Antonio Di Natale.
Ranocchia 27; Milito 53; Cambiasso 64;
HT: 0-1. Att: 24,512.
HT: 0-0. Att: 12,000.
Red card: Marchese (C) 67.
Ljajic 46 pen; Toni 90;
HT: 0-0. Att: 20,287.
Missed penalty: Fernandez (F) 27.
Red cards: Ledesma (L) 75, Hernanes (L) 82.
HT: 0-0. Att: 25,000.
Red card: Vacek (C) 78.
Red card: Peluso (A) 47.
Lamela 22, 24;
Domizzi 32; Di Natale 50, 88 pen;
HT: 2-1. Att: 36,500.
Red card: Tachtsidis (R) 90.
HT: 0-0. Att: 21,586.
N. Sansone 72; Amauri 73; Rosi 88;
HT: 0-0. Att: 16,000.
Red card: G. Sansone (T) 53.
Tomorrow: 20.45 Palermo vs Milan.
Wednesday: 20.45 Atalanta vs Napoli; Cagliari vs Siena; Chievo vs Pescara; Inter vs Sampdoria; Juve vs Bologna; Lazio vs Torino; Parma vs Roma; Udinese vs Catania.
Thursday: 20.45 Genoa vs Fiorentina.
6 goals – Cavani (Napoli); Klose (Lazio); El Shaarawy (Milan).
5 goals – Gilardino (Bologna); Jovetic (Fiorentina); Hernanes (Lazio); Cassano (Inter); Osvaldo (Roma), Lamela (Roma).
Prima Divisione ‘A’
FeralpiSalo vs Entella 1-1; Pavia vs Treviso 2-0; Portogruaro vs Trapani 1-1; San Marino vs Carpi 0-3; SudTirol vs Como 0-0; Tritium vs Cuneo 0-0.
Leading standings: Lecce 22; Carpi 17; Entella15; Portogruaro, SudTirol 14.
Prima Divisione ‘B’
Andria vs Latina 0-1; Frosinone vs Barletta 3-1; Nocerina vs Paganese 1-4; Perugia vs Carrarese 3-0; Pisa vs Catanzaro 4-1; Prato vs Gubbio 0-1; Sorrento vs Benevento 1-1; Viareggio vs Avellino 1-1.
Leading standings: Frosinone, Latina 16; Pisa 15; Gubbio 14; Avellino, Viareggio, Perugia 13.