By Kris Voakes | Italian Football Writer
Laurel and Hardy, Mills and Boon, Fred and Ginger, Serie A and controversy. Some couples just belong together.
On Saturday night, without the slightest bit of surprise to any seasoned Italian football connoisseur, the new campaign was greeted by an immediate dose of conjecture, with Andrea Pirlo awarded a highly questionable goal as Juventus got their title defence underway with a 2-0 win at home to Parma.
|MATCH FACTS | Juventus 2-0 Parma
This summer’s introduction of goal-line officials was passed after the now-infamous Sulley Muntari ghost goal in the clash between AC Milan and Juve in February, which remains the subject of some rancour to this day. But anyone who believed that the addition of two extra referees would put the entire issue to bed was proven wrong on the very first day of the new trial.
With Juve a goal up thanks to Stephan Lichtsteiner’s sidefoot finish from Kwadwo Asamoah’s left-wing cross, they were then awarded a 58th-minute free-kick. Up stepped Pirlo, but Antonio Mirante appeared to keep his effort from crossing the line as he slid on the sodden Juventus Stadium surface. As the Bianconeri players appealed for a goal, there was a sudden realisation that referee Andrea Romeo had indeed pointed to the halfway line after consulting with his newly-appointed additional assistant, Maurizio Ciampi.
In truth, even after a great number of TV replays, it still looked a close call, and a tough one for Parma to take. As difficult as it is for an official to make any decision in a split second, there appeared to be far too little conclusive proof for Ciampi to award a goal in this instance. With both the post and Mirante’s arm obscuring his view, he can in no way have been certain that Pirlo’s shot had cleared the line, and as such there should have been no second goal for Juventus. To award a goal on what was little more than a guess sets a very dangerous precedent for other officials in his position to follow.
Juventus would undoubtedly have won the game anyway such was their superiority. In chalking up their 40th Serie A fixture without defeat, they have thrown down the gauntlet to the rest of the league, and they were very worthy winners. They still have questions to answer, especially up front as they were as wasteful in front of goal as they often were last term, but it is once again a questionable call that will take away from what was a very convincing display by the Scudetto holders.Follow Kris Voakes on