MILAN (AP) Some players appear to be taking advantage of newly implemented handball rules to deliberately win penalties.
The new rules state that it is automatically a penalty if the ball touches a player’s hand or arm when it is above their shoulder, regardless of intent.
That is how Roma forward Edin Dzeko won the first-half penalty in the Rome derby on Sunday.
Rather than shooting at goal, Dzeko appeared to see Sergej Milinkovic-Savic raise his arm and instead struck the extended limb to earn the spot kick which was then converted by Aleksandar Kolarov.
“We have to get used to this new rule,” Lazio coach Simone Inzaghi said. “I think it was looked for and it was found.
“We mustn’t keep our arms up because otherwise footballers with really good aim will look for the arm in the area and, as a consequence, with these rules, a penalty will be given.”
Luis Alberto equalized for Lazio after the break and the match ended 1-1.
The rules were supposed to provide greater clarity for those playing or watching the game but they continue to cause controversy.
Last week, Fiorentina was awarded an early penalty when the ball was deflected by a knee on to the underside of Piotr Zielinski’s arm, which was slightly raised.
However, Napoli went on to win 4-3.
Juventus has had the best defense in Serie A in each of the past eight seasons.
Its famed BBC defense of Leonardo Bonucci, Andrea Barzagli and Giorgio Chiellini have helped it win the title in each of those years.
Despite the retirement of Barzagli, Juventus was expected to remain solid at the back especially after it made Matthijs de Ligt the most expensive defender in Serie A history when signing him from Ajax for 75 million euro ($85 million) last month.
But the Bianconeri were hit by a blow when Chiellini tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee in training on Friday, ruling the Juventus and Italy captain out for about five months.
De Ligt was handed his debut in Saturday’s match against title rival Napoli and was at fault for two of the goals as Napoli fought back from three goals down to level before Juventus won 4-3 thanks to a stoppage-time own goal.
“He comes from a team that defended differently, in a league that is not the Italian one,” Juventus assistant coach Giovanni Martusciello said. “He also played well for an hour, then his condition was lacking a bit. But he is a player of the highest level.”
Mario Balotelli was at San Siro on Saturday to see his new club take on his old as Brescia lost 1-0 at AC Milan.
Balotelli joined newly promoted Brescia after his deal with Marseille expired, returning to Serie A with his hometown club after an absence of three years.
The forward has to wait to make his debut as he serves a four-match ban following a straight red card in his final game for Marseille against Montpellier in May.
“He’s working really hard, he’s done double training sessions three times,” Brescia coach Eugenio Corini said. “He’s here with the right mentality, we’re counting a lot on him.”
Balotelli’s last spell in Italy was a miserable one as he struggled with injury and scored only once in a season-long loan at AC Milan before returning to Liverpool in 2016 and moving immediately to France, resurrecting his career first with Nice and then at Marseille.
That was Balotelli’s second spell at Milan, the team he supported as a child.
Balotelli’s first appearance for Brescia will likely be the home match against eight-time defending champion Juventus on Sept. 25.
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