Referee Watch - How Paolo Tagliavento fared in AC Milan-Juventus clash

The senior official was always likely to be in the firing line, and so it proved on the night as a web of controversy grabbed all the headlines at San Siro
By Kris Voakes | Italian Football Editor

It was always tipped to be a controversial fixture, given the backdrop of recent claims and counter-claims to refereeing decisions involving AC Milan and Juventus. We were reliably informed that Paolo Tagliavento is the best referee Italy has to offer before Saturday night's 1-1 draw, but there were almost inevitably a number of talking points during the 90 minutes.

With coach Antonio Conte and director Pavel Nedved having complained about Juve's rough justice of late in the past 10 days, sporting director Giuseppe Marotta was quick to back Tagliavento pre-game. But did he justify the credit that came his way?

Two moments in particular will stick in everyone's mind post-match, but how did the referee and his team do in the big flashpoints on the whole?

Below we break down all of the key moments.

FLASHPOINT 1: 25th min - Muntari no-goal
The game's big talking point. With Milan a goal to the good and bossing much of the territory, Philippe Mexes' header forces Gianluigi Buffon into an excellent save, but the ball is only cleared as far as Sulley Muntari. The Ghanaian's header is far from emphatic, but is more than enough to beat Buffon and clear the goal-line before the keeper claws the ball back into play.

However, referee's assistant Roberto Romagnoli inexplicably fails to spot the ball's flight despite being stood in a perfect position to call it. Tagliavento signalled as if to award the goal, but bows to his colleague's over-rule given his better positioning. His instinct had been right, the assistant's decision-making was wrong.

FLASHPOINT 2: 46th min - Mexes' dig in the ribs
The second half was barely a minute old when Philippe Mexes and Marco Borriello clashed in back play after the ball had been cleared from their immediate surroundings. With initial pushing and pulling having not quite subsided, the Frenchman lands a hefty blow into the ribs of the Juventus striker. With no official catching it, the Milan man gets away with his indiscretion. One for the video panel, perhaps.

FLASHPOINT 3: 54th min - Vidal and Robinho clash
With Tagliavento in close proximity, Robinho makes a run for the Juventus penalty area with the ball in tow. The Chilean comes across to make a challenge, but when the Milan attacker knocks the ball wider to his left, Vidal seems to half pull out of the tackle. As contact is made between the two right on the edge of the box, the referee decides that the Juve man had done enough to avoid bringing down the now prostrate Brazilian. His decision to allow play to continue was probably the right one.

FLASHPOINT 4: 80th min - Matri's equaliser chalked off
Another black mark against Sgr. Romagnoli. Juventus substitute Alessandro Matri latches onto a throughball and fires home what appears to be an equaliser for the Bianconeri, only to see the linesman's flag go up. The striker's instincts were right.

On the video replay, it is clear that Matri had timed his run perfectly, and while strike partner Mirko Vucinic was in an offside position, the Montenegrin had not interfered with play, meaning the goal should have stood.

Juve fans may well claim that it was enough to cancel out the bad call on Muntari's goal, but since when have two wrongs made a right? The timings of the 'goals' were also very different, but it's hard to say one was more harsh than the other. Either way, Matri was right to feel aggrieved.

FLASHPOINT 5: 89th min - Vidal's red card
The Chilean topped off a poor night by going to ground and taking down Mark van Bommel from behind. The challenge was not only late, and nowhere near the ball, it was also high. The resulting red card was fair.

There had arguably been other tackles in the game which the referee could have taken a hard line with, but taking this incident in isolation, it was again the right call.

And as if all of that wasn't enough, there were tempestuous scenes at full-time, as Van Bommel and Andrea Pirlo came head-to-head after an incident during the second half when the Juve man claimed his former team-mate delivered an elbow to the head. Then, Massimo Ambrosini and Giorgio Chiellini got into a spat of their own.

There will be plenty for the Lega Serie A's Disciplinary Committee to keep themselves busy with in the coming days!