The video assistant referee system was introduced in Italy at the start of the season and has been criticized for leaving supporters in the stadiums blind sometimes as to what is happening on the pitch or why a decision has been changed.
The head of the project in Italy, Roberto Rosetti, told Radio Anch’io Sport on Monday: “Probably in a few months’ time we’ll be able to see on big screens in the stadiums images of the decisions that have been changed and why they have been changed.”
Rosetti admits they need to “improve on the uniformity of both interpretation and intervention” but says the positive effect of the VAR can clearly be seen by “the drastic reduction in bookings for protests and anti-sporting behavior.”
Serie A: Napoli, Juve hold serve in 1-point title race
The battle for Serie A supremacy isn’t ending anytime soon, as Napoli and Juventus continue to match one another (nine straight wins for each side) in Europe’s only remaining major title race.
On Sunday, they even traded 1-0 victories — Napoli at home to SPAL 2013, with Juve triumphing over Torino in the Turin derby.
Brazilian midfielder Allan bagged the only goal for Napoli after just six minutes, finishing off a mesmerizing, free-flowing move that’s become synonymous with Napoli this season. The video-assisting referee came into play just after the hour mark, when Marek Hamsik headed home to make it 2-0 before the VAR wiped it away for offside.
Napoli’s current nine-game winning streak is the longest in club history.
Torino 0-1 Juventus
Juve’s victory came at something of a cost, though, as star striker Gonzalo Higuain was lost to an ankle injury after just a quarter-hour (the injury occurred after just three minutes), followed by a potentially serious knee injury for Federico Bernardeschi, who replaced Higuain, in second-half stoppage time. Higuain isn’t expected to miss significant time, with the club calling it a twisted ankle.
In between the injuries came Alex Sandro‘s 33rd-minute winner, a tap-in from close range masterfully set up by Bernardeschi. One additional positive for Juve: Sunday also saw Paulo Dybala return after missing five weeks with a hamstring injury. The Argentine star entered as a second-half substitute.
“Paulo played 30 minutes at a good level,” Juve manager Massimiliano Allegri said. “I’m pleased with his and everyone else’s performance. This is a good result against a well-organized Torino side.”
Elsewhere in Serie A
AC Milan 1-0 Sampdoria
Atalanta 1-1 Fiorentina
Bologna 2-1 Sassuolo
Benevento 3-2 Crotone
ROME (AP) The rapid development of 20-year-old Turkey winger Cengiz Under is playing a big role in Roma’s revival.
Under scored his fourth goal in three matches and Roma won at Udinese 2-0 for its third straight win in Serie A on Saturday.
Roma moved into third place, two points ahead of Inter Milan, which lost at Genoa 2-0.
It’s a drastic improvement from where Roma was a month ago, when the Giallorossi were mired in a five-match winless streak that risked dropping them out of contention for the Champions League places.
“We’re getting back on track to where we were in the first half of the season,” forward Diego Perotti said.
Roma went ahead when Under unleashed a powerful, rising shot from beyond the area in the 70th.
Perotti sealed the victory in the 90th with an angled effort after Udinese gave the ball away near midfield.
Under is having a breakout month.
First, he scored after 43 seconds when Roma ended a five-match winless streak by beating Hellas Verona 1-0. Then he had a brace and also delivered an assist in a 5-2 win over Benevento last weekend.
All this after not being involved in any goals in his first 14 matches with Roma.
“He plays far more for the team than himself,” Roma coach Eusebio Di Francesco said of Under. “His greatest strength is being able to prepare his shot with great speed, making him difficult to close down.”
Added Perotti, “He’s very humble and he doesn’t speak Italian yet but he’s well behaved and is a great kid. He deserves all of this.”
On Wednesday, Roma visits Shakhtar Donetsk in the first leg of the Champions League last 16.
“We’ve got to make the most of the fact they’ve had a winter break and might not be match fit,” Di Francesco said of the Ukrainian side. “They have a lot of quality in attack and are dangerous, but we shouldn’t change our attitude.”
Inter’s defense was in shambles against Genoa.
The hosts took the lead before the break when a failed clearance attempt from Milan Skriniar ricocheted off of a stunned Andrea Ranocchia, who was charged with an own goal.
Then former Inter striker Goran Pandev was left unmarked to score from the center of the area midway through the second half.
Inter hasn’t won at regional rival Genoa in more than seven years.
Chievo Verona took a big step toward avoiding relegation with a 2-1 win over visiting Cagliari.
Emanuele Giaccherini and Roberto Inglese scored late for the hosts before Leonardo Pavoletti pulled one back for Cagliari.
Chievo moved up to 14th, level on points with Cagliari, eight points above the drop zone.
La Liga & Serie A: Real goes four games unbeaten and more
Turmoil can be best-used to describe Zinedine Zidane’s season with Real Madrid, but the defending league and European champions look to be finding their form at the right time. Los Blancos extended their unbeaten streak to four matches on Saturday, behind Cristiano Ronaldo’s hat-trick.
Lucas Vasquez handed the hosts the lead at the Santiago Bernabeu in the first minute, while Toni Kroos made it 2-0 before halftime.
Ronaldo capped off his hat-trick with 10 minutes remaining in regulation from close range, bringing the Portuguese international up to 23 goals in all competitions this season.
Atletico pulled to within six points of league leaders Barcelona on Saturday behind Antoine Griezmann’s first-minute strike. The Frenchman found himself in on goal just 40 seconds into the match, after Saul Niguez had his attempt deflected at the top of the box. Malaga remains in last place in La Liga on 13 points.
Elsewhere in La Liga
Villareal 1-2 Alaves
Leganes 0-1 Eibar
Sunday’s La Liga schedule
Sevilla vs. Girona (6 a.m. ET)
Barcelona vs. Getafe (10:15 a.m. ET)
Celta Vigo vs. Espanyol (12:30 a.m. ET)
Valencia vs. Levante (2:45 p.m. ET)
Napoli 4-1 Lazio
A brilliant second-half turnaround handed Napoli a return to the summit of Serie A on Saturday, in what continues to be a back-and-forth battle with Juventus. A second-half own goal from Wallace gave Napoli the advantage, before Piotr Zielinski and Dries Mertens sealed the match for the hosts. Lazio went ahead inside three minutes when Stefan de Vrij finished off a Ciro Immobile cross from close range.
SPAL 0-4 AC Milan
Patrick Cutrone scored on both sides of halftime at the Paolo Mazza, while Lucas Biglia and Fabio Borini each added goals inside the final 15 minutes to cap off a dominating road victory for AC Milan. The Italian giants are seven points outside of the top four, while SPAL remains four points buried in the relegation zone.
Elsewhere in Serie A
Crotone 1-1 Atalanta
Sunday’s Serie A schedule
Sassuolo vs. Cagliari (6:30 a.m. ET)
Chievo vs. Genoa (9 a.m. ET)
Inter Milan vs. Bologna (9 a.m. ET)
Sampdoria vs. Hellas Verona (9 a.m. ET)
Torino vs. Udinese (9 a.m. ET)
Roma vs. Benevento (2:45 p.m. ET)
FLORENCE, Italy (AP) Video technology caused controversy in Juventus’s 2-0 win at Fiorentina on Friday.
Federico Bernardeschi scored against his old team before Gonzalo Higuain sealed victory as Juventus moved top of Serie A, two points above Napoli, which hosts third-place Lazio on Saturday.
But there was an incident in the first half that took center stage.
Fiorentina was awarded a penalty in the 18th minute after Giorgio Chiellini blocked Marco Benassi’s cross with his arms. Then, as Jordan Veretout waited to take the spotkick, the video-assistant referee was consulted and, after a three-minute wait, a free kick was awarded to Juve.
The decision appeared to be made because Benassi was offside. However, the pass to the winger had come off Juve defender Alex Sandro.
Fiorentina almost went ahead before the break when Gil Dias ran almost from halfway before unleashing a fierce shot that crashed off the post into the arms of goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon, who was making his 500th Serie A appearance.
Fiorentina had Juve pinned back early in the second period but the visitors took the lead with a superb Bernardeschi free kick in the 56th minute.
The 23-year-old Italy international joined Juve last July after spending 10 years at Fiorentina and was jeered by the home fans when he was substituted 12 minutes from time.
Fiorentina came close to an equalizer several times but Juve doubled its tally in the 86th minute when Higuain was sent clear by Chiellini and the Argentina forward lifted the ball over goalkeeper Marco Sportiello.
The win will boost Juve as it prepares to host Tottenham on Tuesday in the first leg of the Champions League round of 16.