NAPOLI LEFT SEETHING

Con­tro­ver­sial penalty de­ci­sions hand Ju­ven­tus Ital­ian Cup semis ad­van­tage

New Straits Times - - Sport -

This evening, we suf­fered a de­feat be­cause of de­ci­sions which were not de­bat­able, but were shame­ful and harmed the whole of Ital­ian foot­ball.

CRIS­TIANO GIUNTOLI

Napoli di­rec­tor

NAPOLI were left fum­ing af­ter Ju­ven­tus were awarded two penal­ties early in the sec­ond half on their way to a 3-1 win in the first leg of their Ital­ian Cup semi-fi­nal on Tues­day.

To add in­sult to in­jury, Napoli had their own penalty ap­peal turned down im­me­di­ately be­fore Ju­ven­tus were awarded their sec­ond.

Paulo Dy­bala con­verted both spot kicks for Juve and his fel­low Ar­gen­tine Gon­zalo Higuain scored in be­tween af­ter Jose Calle­jon had given the vis­i­tors a half­time lead.

It was Higuain’s sec­ond goal in as many meet­ings against Napoli since he left them to join Ju­ven­tus in July af­ter scor­ing a record 36 Serie A goals last sea­son.

Higuain had two years to run on his con­tract with Napoli, who did not want to sell him, but moved af­ter the Turin club agreed to pay a €90 mil­lion (RM444 mil­lion) buy­out clause in his con­tract.

“This evening, we suf­fered a de­feat be­cause of de­ci­sions which were not de­bat­able, but were shame­ful and harmed the whole of Ital­ian foot­ball,” said Napoli di­rec­tor Cris­tiano Giuntoli. Ju­ven­tus coach Mas­si­m­il­iano Al­le­gri, how­ever, said that the two penal­ties awarded to his team ap­peared to be cor­rect. “In any case, we can’t re­duce our per­for­mance to just the two penalty episodes,” he said.

Poland for­ward Arka­diusz Mi­lik made his first start for Napoli since suf­fer­ing a knee lig­a­ment in­jury in Oc­to­ber and was in­volved in the move which ended with Calle­jon turn­ing the ball in from a nar­row an­gle in the 36th minute.

Ju­ven­tus lev­elled within a minute of the restart when Kali­dou Koulibaly mis-timed a tackle on Dy­bala who con­verted the penalty him­self.

Higuain then scored from the acutest of an­gles in the 64th minute when the ball fell to him af­ter Pepe Reina com­pletely missed Juan Cuadrado’s cross.

Napoli had their own ap­peal turned down, claim­ing Raul Al­biol had been tripped. Ju­ven­tus im­me­di­ately broke up­field be­fore Reina dived at the feet of Cuadrado, who went tum­bling over.

Re­plays showed that Reina got a hand to the ball be­fore mak­ing con­tact with the Colom­bian but ref­eree Paolo Va­leri pointed to the spot and Dy­bala con­verted again.

“What am I sup­posed to do, dis­ap­pear?” said Reina. “This evening, the re­sult was de­cided by the ref­er­ee­ing de­ci­sions, the whole of Italy saw it.”

AFP PIC

Ju­ven­tus’ Gon­zalo Higuain scores against Napoli in the Ital­ian Cup semi-fi­nal first leg on Tues­day. Ju­ven­tus won 3-1.

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