Two teams came into the match on a perfect league start. Only one could leave.
That team was Juventus, defeating Roma 3-2 in a match filled with penalties – and thusly, controversy.
So what do you do when you lose a heartbreaking match marred with questionable referee decisions and a pair of penalties against your team? You invoke nasty demons of your opponent’s dark past by saying the fixed the match, obviously.
That’s what Francesco Totti did, by saying Juventus was guilty of match-fixing, something they did years ago and were demoted because of it.
“I’m not sure if we were beaten by the referee,” Totti said immediately after the match. “We were certainly not beaten by Juve. By hook or by crook they always win. Juve should play in their own league, every year is the same. We will again finish second.”
“Are we back to the same doubts? I am not the only one saying this, as these are things everyone in Italy should discuss.”
So, um, yeah. He went there. That’s like accusing the Patriots of videotaping practices again, except times 100.
“It’s terrible to have to say it but these things that affect the game have been happening for years,” Totti continued. “Juventus certainly didn’t beat us. There were three incidents that changed a game that we wanted to win. There’s a lot of anger but we must lift our heads after a game like this.”
Naturally, Juventus didn’t take kindly.
“It is understandable that there is bitterness for the defeat, but what he said is not acceptable,” said Beppe Marotta, Juventus director general.
Oh wait sorry, that was the nice version. Here’s the mean version I was telling you about:
“He [Totti] has no idea what it’s like to play for a big club like Juventus,” said former nine-year Juventus veteran Pavel Nedved. That’s more like it.
Roma need to be careful. They’ve been on the good side of those decisions before. “When we won the penalty it reminded me of the Juventus v Roma match that was played at the Olimpico,” Marotta reminded the media. “That year Roma got the decision and this year it was our turn to get a penalty.”
He could be referring to the Roma 1-0 win over Juventus in January in the Coppa Italia when Mehdi Benatia was not sent off early when many thought he deserved a straight red. There have been plenty of close matches that go either way in the past between these two.
Watch this space. There’s sure to be more in this one. The two don’t play again in the league until March 1st when they return to Rome for the reverse fixture.