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Posted by Sumeet Paul on 02/26/2012

It's as you were in the Scudetto race following Saturday night's stalemate at San Siro, with both sides feeling aggrieved having been denied a genuine goal apiece. Aside from a tense yet entertaining affair between Milan and Juventus, the controversy surrounding the decisions of the officials dominated the headlines in Sunday's newspapers. From Muntari's ‘phantom goal', to Matri's disallowed strike for an incorrect offside call, the Rossoneri remain a point ahead albeit having played a game more.

Controversial: Muntari nods past Buffon ©Getty Images

While it would only be natural to start with the controversial talking points of the game, I’m not. Coach Antonio Conte showed humility in revealing after the game that not only did he get his initial tactics wrong, with the questionable decision to start with the strike-pairing of Fabio Quagliarella and Marco Borriello, but also that Milan were on the whole the stronger side;

“Anyone who saw this match realises Milan were wonderful, while Juve were lucky. Where I see that we went wrong, it’s also because they made us go wrong. I compliment my lads for hanging in there and eventually snatching a draw at the end. That fight-back showed our 24 games unbeaten are not down to luck, but also heart and hard work”

With the pleasantries suitably covered, the game provided various talking points. Leo Bonucci had a nightmare 10 seconds to forget, not only giving away possession in the lead-up to Antonio Nocerino’s opener, but then being the unfortunate man to deflect the ball past a hapless Gigi Buffon. Massimiliano Allegri’s tactics notably went a fair way in nullifying the threat of Andrea Pirlo and Stephan Lichtsteiner in particular, however Conte’s second-half substitutions countered his opposite number well with the fresh legs of Simone Pepe and Alessandro Matri combining for the equaliser. All in all, from a tactical and footballing aspect, it was an intriguing battle between the two Italian coaches, presumably with Conte the happier man on the journey back to Turin.

Post-match bust-ups ensued after the full-time whistle, Massimo Ambrosini and Giorgio Chiellini traded words on the pitch, while Conte and Sky pundit Zvonimir Boban exchanged harsh words before making peace off it. The debates will undoubtedly rage on throughout the week, all centred around two key moments in the game. Having initially denied Philippe Mexes with a fantastic sprawling save to his left, Gigi Buffon was unable to prevent Sulley Muntari from nodding in the rebound...or so we all thought. Attention switched to Paolo Tagliavento’s assistant on the far side, yet Roberto Romagnoli’s flag stayed down as bewildered Milan faces cantered back as Marcelo Estigarribia broke away. Unfortunately, Romagnoli wasn’t done for the night, as Matri thought he had levelled matters (before his actual equaliser), only for Romagnoli’s flag to this time go up and deny him an almost immediate impact.

Understandably, such events are a newspaper editor’s dream. It provides countless debates and articles to be written and contributes to what makes football the most talked about sport in the world. However, having now viewed countless ‘tweets’ on the matter, the simple conclusion is this. Unless your name is Bill, Ted, Captain Picard or Marty McFly, and you have the ability to time travel and whisper in Romagnoli's ear to make the opposite/correct decision, we will never know how the game would have ended if either goal had stood. Some will say had Milan opened up a 2-0 lead it would have been game over, go ask Walter Mazzarri if he thought the same when Goran Pandev handed Napoli a 3-1 lead against Juve with just over 20 minutes to go in Naples before it ended 3-3. Others will say if Juve had equalised with Matri’s offside effort, they would have gone on to win the game, go ask practically every other side in Serie A if breaking down Milan is quite that simple. The only things that matter are the facts, it ended a draw, the Rossoneri are a point ahead and Juve have a game in hand away at Bologna. Milan bossed matters in the first-half, but Juve showed great determination and grit in the second half to grab a share of the spoils.

With Milan facing a tricky trip to Sicily to take on Palermo next weekend, the Bianconeri host Chievo. While many will still be asking ‘what if’ this time next week and perhaps at the end of the season, Juventus have a potential opportunity to go two points ahead of their title rivals on Saturday night and render all controversy obsolete should they go on to defeat Bologna to make it a five-point buffer.

What did you make of the game itself? Your thoughts on the incorrect decisions? Happy with a point?

Follow me on Twitter for more news on Juventus and Serie A @italiafooty and check out Football Curva

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Posted by decina on 02/27/2012

As a juventino, the game was nerve wracking. I'm so happpy to see the draw of course. Both teams have a case for a win, loss or draw in that match. They are the class of calcio and either team will deserve the scudetto. That being said, Juve needs to take 3 pts against all their midtable and lower opponents. Milan will pounce on any chance we give them.
Bonucci was inept all night, part of me wants to see giorgio back in the middle with barzagli with steven and carecas wide, but giorgio plays some of his best soccer on the flank. His ability to get forward and retreat and defend their best is world class. Matri has proven he deserves every start. He is clutch. I'm calling him Kobe from now on. Of the other 3 regular strikers it is a wash, but their success depends on the wingers ability as well. Pepe was great, Esti was too. We have a lot of talent on the wings that works hard and deserves the time. To win the scudetto, it must be all effort every game, no lapses. Forza Juve!!

Posted by Dipchan Bedasie on 02/27/2012

I believe that both goals were good. As a Juve fan I was surprised because even without replays I knew the ball went in. In saying this, Milan fans should be the last to complain about decisions since they have received about 6 penalties this season where their players threw down themselves. Add to this the hand ball that Bologna should have received again seedorf that was waved. away. Also, how man points have referees cost Juventus this season, when you think of atleast 2 games, siena and parma recently where there were stone cold penalties not given. In this game, the Matri ruled off goal cancels the Muntari goal. I cannot complain about a point from the game as we committed too many first half mistakes, and maybe in the end the draw was a fair result. Milan fans can complain all they want but our disallowed goal cancels their disallowed goal and they should consider how many points they have won this season from the referee's help.


Posted by Ryo on 02/27/2012

As a milansta, I would like to commend Sumeet on an article well written. Even Conte admitted that he got his tactics wrong and that Milan were deserving of more than the draw. That said, I think even though many Milan fans will feel aggrieved at not picking up three points, none of the sane fans would put any blame on anyone other than the horrid linesman, who apparently was both dumb and blind. I would only like to point out to some here that whilst Milan did go through a period of gaining pentalties from the referees, that four out of six given were perfectly legitimate. That saying, Milan has received their short end of the stick from referees this season, yet you only point to the penalties because that's what's seperating you from us . Milan had a perfectly legit goal against Fiorentina disallowed, which cost us two points. If the refs in SerieA could actually ref, then there wouldn't even be such a feud between our fans right now. The only team that I see getting excessive favo

Posted by erik on 02/27/2012

the goals do not cancel. to say that a goal that puts you up 2-0 is equal to one that should have made it 2-1 is silly. tactics would have been changed on the part of juventus in forcing them to play more offensive. they are not built for this. milan would have countered and another goal would not have been out of the question. yes, at 2-0 juve could have tied it, but it was more likely that the score line would have increased for both teams. to say both teams were equally slighted would be wrong

Posted by Debashis kundu on 02/28/2012

Juve outplayed Milan in tactics. What a tactics they applied!!!! Pressurizing ref thruout the week making them shaky to give a fair decision. That tactics u always applied to challenge scudetto and also teach to ur players. See the liar -Buffelo Buffon. That is why u people are a loser in CL becoz u cannot manage ref either. Nxt time try to play some fair football.......forza MILAN.

Posted by Tim on 02/28/2012

We've been to 7 European finals (CL and EL) so you're point is destroyed. Also, Milan was just as guilty as Juve and Inter in Calciopoli: all three should have been relegated. Something tells me if that had happened, Milan would still be in Serie B because their players would have darted, unlike the majority of Juve's.

Posted by Debashis Kundu on 02/28/2012

There is a good news for u. Milan will open a lab called Buffonello for treating Buffon like creatures and you played 7 finls and we have won as many. Mind that of 7 you were in losing side of 5. Aftr calciopoli who remained in Juve were liars. Champions like cannavaro left. So ur point is also destroyed.

Posted by Daniel Duncan on 02/28/2012

LOL i can't believe them Milan fans even talking about juve like that. They have received a majority of calls from the refs even when they dive and swim meanwhile refs afraid to even give us a penalty becuz they all reminded of 2006 Capolli. The match was a great spectacle and a draw was a good result but that score was only so becuz of mistakes made by Conte in fielding players and tactics used and for those Milan fans who said they should of won cuz that goal should of stand, they still wouldn't of won it was either one of 2 results Milan a loss or draw and Algrei knew it, all u fan who blasting ur mouths know it too. It was only when Vidal was sent off that Juve stop attack else u would of surely lost that game. I never liked Quags/Borellio and they proved themselves unworthy once again I hoping they go soon. I thought Conte would of finally let Elia and Krasic loose on the wings to give Milan something to think about but... All the best Fonza Juve

Posted by Tim on 02/29/2012

@Kundu I never said we won more than Milan, I said we won and did and could not get the help of the refs in Europe. Therefore, we didn't need their help. Also, Cannavaro came back to Juve for the 2009-2010 season. So, you're point about cheaters is false. Additionally, it was the board and not the players that cheated. The proof: a Juventus-stocked Italy squad won the World Cup after Calciopoli. Therefore, both of your points are destroyed.

Posted by Zaid on 02/29/2012

well written. I personally was worried throughout the whole game. I am a Juventus fan and thought that we did not perform at the top level we have been performing at, especially in the middle of the park. A 4-2-3-1 formation would have been more effective against a Milan side with strong fullbacks. Matri should definitely have started with Pepe and Vucinic as flank attackers and a brilliant Vidal, Marchisio,Pirlo midfield behind them. Forza Juve!

Posted by Ollegio on 03/02/2012

Bonucci should be the 3rd choice at center back. They should start De Ceglie or Caceres at left back and move Georgio to the middle. Juve are weak in attack this year, but their best options right now are Vucinic and Matri up front. They should start every game unless one is injured or suspended. There is a good chance that Milan will drop points at Palermo this weekend. JUVE MUST PUT CHIEVO TO THE more draws at home to these teams! --Forza Juve.

Posted by Simon on 03/06/2012

Sumeet Article very well written....Who are these Milan fans talking about 2006 Cacliopoli??? Were they not involved in 2006 Cacliopoli? Didnt they have their points docked???

Only reason they didn't get relegated is because of their famous or I should say infamous, corrupt, bunga bunga Prime minister of the Country saved them???

Posted by Daniel Duncan on 03/07/2012

what currently happen in Juve is disgusting me seriously the January transfer market passed and they picked up Borellio, Padoin who are clearly ordinary players it would of been better to recall players like Ekdal,Pasquato,Bonperti,Immoble, etc who is classed as normal by the club. To think they go in the market to buy these players who aren't capable of doing anything extraordinary and we have players coming tru the youth system who we can play and have more promise than those they buy. At least with youth players from your academy you know what u have and the potential, we should not be buying ordinary players instead mix the ordinary players from the youth system with some 3or4or5 magnificent players, who can lift the team qualities and abilities, else it makes no scene to buy players who can offer anything more than stress to the club wage bill. Paul please pass this message to the Director at Juve or else we'll be spinning in circle for the next ten or more years. Fonza Juve

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David Young After watching his first Serie A game as a youngster, Sumeet Paul has been an avid fan of Italian football ever since. Offering in-depth and opinionated views, coupled with a humourous element, he has a strong desire to become involved in sports writing. Pairing up his life's two greatest loves; football and talking, he would appreciate any feedback and general football conversation, you can email him at or you can follow him on twitter @italiafooty

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