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The disallowed goal has certainly stirred lots of controversies as the top of the table of clash was marred by poor refereeing decisions

By Jeremy Lim | Singapore

As a top-of-the-table clash, the Serie A match between A.C. Milan and Juventus lived up to its billing entirely. A game of two halves, both teams outlined their resolve with plenty of end-to-end action, characterized by Milan showcasing plenty of attacking flair and Juve much of their trademark grit, producing a footballing spectacle as appealing to neutrals as much as to fans alike.

However, credit and applause to the football played was unfortunately and inevitably diverted onto post-match altercations and the heated exchange of opinions made by members of either side regarding arguably the key moment of the match - Sulley Muntari’s incorrectly unawarded goal that was judged not to have crossed the line, despite television footage providing clear evidence to the contrary.
Stoking tensions that were already high, brought about by Juventus’ stand that they were being treated unfairly by officials when it came to game-changing decisions made, ensured conspiracy theorists were up in arms after the game.

In wholeness, this match has placed emphasis on the uglier side of Calcio in front of a global audience, and could not have come at a more unfortunate instance than in a game that will have a big impact, if not statistically, then psychologically, on this season’s Scudetto race.
Indeed, with the half-time score still leaving Juventus very much in the game, Milan gradually surrendered their control, with Antonio Conte making key substitutions that allowed the Bianconeri to revert back to their principle 4-3-3 formation and take the second-half by the scruff of the neck, deservedly equalizing when substitute and Juventus top-scorer Alessandro Matri volleyed home in the 83’ minute.

The match’s incorrect refereeing decisions left a sour taste in the mouths of both clubs – Juventus also had one other Matri goal incorrectly ruled offside. Nevertheless, it is Milan who will feel especially hard-done by the officials, where the awarding of Muntari’s goal and a 2-0 cushion in the first-half when they were clearly on top would have provided the impetus for them to go on to comfortably seal victory over an initially lackluster Juventus side sporting an odd starting line-up that included Marco Borrielo in place of the afore-mentioned Matri.

Apart from the damage to the reputations of Italian referees after this game, the claims by Milan president Silvio Berlusconi that the attention Juventus drew to match officials were to curry favor are strengthened by Juventus’ own post-match comments.

The comments by Juventus Coach Antonio Conte that he didn’t understand the furor around Muntari’s disallowed goal given his side also suffered from a wrong offside call of equal weight were made in poor taste. Buffon stoked the fire further by claiming he would not have admitted Muntari’s effort had crossed the line to the referee even if it did.

Through their own actions, Juventus have further undermined their credibility and made worse the perception around the peninsula that stealing is something the club will readily resort to, especially post-calciopoli.

Too much has already been made of what really should only have been a really good match. At a time when the credibility of Italian Calcio is increasing in Europe, such farces only serve to undermine the good work done so far.

It therefore is the duty of officials and clubs-alike that matches are played out in the least controversial and most gentlemanly conduct possible, the only way to preserve the match’s true value.