March 1, 2017
The two penalties awarded to Juventus as they beat Napoli 3-1 in Tuesday’s Coppa Italia semi-final first leg were “shameful and damaging to all of Italian football,” according to Partenopei sporting director Cristiano Giuntoli.
Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis said the club are even considering fielding their youth team for the second leg as a protest against the decisions.
Giuntoli insisted neither were legitimate penalties, per Rai Sport (h/t ESPN FC):
We thought it important to publicly thank the lads for their performance and to say we emerge defeated by two decisions that were not debatable, but shameful and damaging to all of Italian football.
On the first penalty, Dybala knocks the ball on and seeks contact for the penalty. I thought the first one was frankly more of a spot kick, but after watching the replay this one isn’t right either. The striker goes looking for the contact.
On the second Reina gets the ball, then he certainly cannot disappear and thus he contacts the player too.
What’s more, that happened after a penalty was not given to us, considering that two of them knocked down one of our players. The decisions were shameful.
De Laurentiis told Corriere dello Sport about Napoli’s plans to protest the decisions, via Calciomercato:
Aurelio #DeLaurentiis has told @CorSport that his club will consider playing the Primavera squad for the #TIMcup 2nd leg as a protest
3/1/2017, 8:29:17 AM
Paulo Dybala converted twice from the spot either side of a Gonzalo Higuain goal to overturn a 1-0 defecit following Jose Callejon’s first-half strike for Napoli at the Juventus Stadium.
Referee Paolo Valeri awarded the first penalty when centre-back Kalidou Koulibaly was adjudged to have fouled Dybala and the second came as a result of goalkeeper Pepe Reina’s clash with Juan Cuadrado.
While Dybala certainly made the most of going over in the box to win the first penalty, Koulibaly was late with his challenge and looked to make contact with the Juve forward, per the Score’s Gianluca Nesci:
Gianluca Nesci @GianlucaNesci
So, a couple of things about Reina’s “referee changed the game” comment. Here’s the 1st penalty. I’m sorry, but that’s a foul. #JuveNapoli https://t.co/wOwg1ibEca
2/28/2017, 10:49:17 PM
Reina had some reason to feel hard done by as he seemed to get a touch to the ball ahead of the onrushing Cuadrado.
However, Bleacher Report’s Adam Digby still felt there were definite grounds for the penalty award:
Adam Digby @Adz77
“Reina gets the ball” — Yes & also wipes out Cuadrado. Easy penalty yet fans (& Tonelli) scream scandal because it’s Juve #CryMeARiver
2/28/2017, 9:27:18 PM
Napoli now have a lot of work to do if they are to overturn the deficit in the return leg at the Stadio San Paolo and reach the Coppa Italia final for the first time since 2014, when they won the tournament.
As proved by Callejon’s wonderful opener on Wednesday, which came at the end of a stunning team move, Napoli have the quality to trouble Juve.
But Massimiliano Allegri’s Juventus side are now firmly in the driving seat as they look to win a third consecutive Coppa Italia.