Just as we have come to expect from Juventus when playing a grand team, they put passion and determination above all else to overcome the excessive number of obstacles they have been forced to face to achieve a point against Roma. It was a well-played out fixture as both sides were searching for maximum points. As with all great matches, it had controversy, moments of brilliance, blood and a penalty that left Juve fuming but the result at the end was certainly the right one.
Juventus have come under fire for moaning about the penalty decision on Saturday night – a penalty that many Roma fans themselves have admitted was perhaps a tad harsh. Their public dissatisfaction comes hot off the heels of Milos Krasić’s ban a few weeks earlier in which Juventus complained once again that the club had been treated too harshly. Juve critics have blasted the club for moaning a little too loudly about decisions that have not gone their way in recent weeks and many have advised them to quieten down. Some see it as a form of sweet revenge that comes after years of the Old Lady having every decision go her way and now smile quietly at the injustice she is experiencing whilst others simply feel that she should accept that sometimes referees make mistakes.
However, it is important to listen to what Juventus have to say and the reasons behind their recent annoyance. When Krasić was banned retrospectively and by way of video replays after that infamous dive against Bologna – management made it clear that they were defending their player not because they felt he deserved that penalty but because his punishment went against the notion of consistency. If Krasić was banned because of simulation then other players who dive for a living in Serie A should also be receiving similar punishments to make the system fair. They called for uniformity and that was their only argument.
Against Roma, Simone Pepe was punished even though he had his back turned and had a ball fired at his arm. In fairness, the player had his arms held a little too high but it seemed fairly obvious that it was not intentional but merely a stupid decision made by the player. Was it a penalty? Nobody knows. Vincenzo Iaquinta admitted that perhaps it was whilst some Romanisti felt they were lucky. Nonetheless, this is not the issue and not the reason for Juve’s complaints. The Bianconeri are angry that once again there is no consistency being shown by the referees with regards to their decisions. If Kevin-Prince Boateng managed to get away with what he did against Palermo – setting off a whole chain of events that now sees Maurizio Zamparini wanting to sell his club – then Pepe should have been offered the benefit of the doubt in the same way to maintain uniformity within the league.
Zamparini no longer wishes to take part in the footballing world because everything seems a little too unjust. Yes, of course we understand that the referees are only humans and we have to account for human error but the FIGC need to prove that they are monitoring the situation. Dismissing the errors and blaming them on the fact that refereeing is not an exact science is a counter-constructive argument and one that will further plunge this league to oblivion. These mistakes being committed by the referees could well change the outcome of the season and as such, it is vital that they be punished for any errors they make in order to raise the officiating levels.
The Italian league was once considered the greatest league in the world but now it is one tainted by constant controversy as the rules seem to change day in and day out without any evidence of clear guidelines or equality. Serie A fans from around the world need to believe that this is in fact a fair league with equal punishments being handed out to every team that commits a mistake – irrelevant of their size. If Juventus had to pay the price for sporting injustice by being demoted in 2006, then let it not be in vain. If the authorities wholeheartedly believe that Pepe’s error earned Roma a penalty then Palermo surely deserves a public apology.
It is a shame that such controversy meant that refereeing errors and not excellent play were the main topic of discussion on the night. However, the squad should be praised for both their attitude and their ability to create such good goal-scoring opportunities in light of recent injuries. Alberto Aquilani proved just why Roma should never have let him go by winning man of the match whilst the young Frederik Sorensen did superbly well as right-back, showcasing excellent defensive skills. As for Iaquinta – that was quite possibly one of the most beautiful goals of his career.