AC Milan and Juventus played for the Supercoppa Italia in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia today. Cristiano Ronaldo scored a goal, but the biggest talking point, at least to Milan fans, was the refereeing decisions and the selective use of VAR to award a red card to Franck Kessie while similar infractions went unpunished.
The first half ended scoreless, although both teams had chances. Juventus had the bulk of them, although neither team will feel too good about their finishing in the first half. Tiémoué Bakayoko played well and new signing Lucas Paquetá continued to look good and started to adjust to his teammates.
Cutrone hits the crossbar. So close. pic.twitter.com/Z6TdXo2SPN— Para (@Paracelsus) January 16, 2019
Patrick Cutrone had a shot that came off the post in the first few minutes of the second half, but it was cleared before it could create any real danger. Hakan Calhanoglu went close just on the verge of the hour mark, but his shot went just wide of the right hand post, although it did appear that Juventus goalkeeper Wojciech Szczęsny had it covered in any case.
Then, in the 61st minute, Ronaldo broke the deadlock. He was able to slip through the offside trap while Miralem Pjanić was able to put in a pass from outside the box, totally left alone. It was a defensive breakdown, and although Gigio Donnarumma was able to get to the shot, the header had too much pace for him to handle.
Dybala then had a goal waved off for offside in the 70th minute and, much to the surprise of many fans, Gonzalo Higuain came into the match along with Fabio Borini. Paquetá and Samu Castillejo made way for the pair as it appeared that Gennaro Gattuso put in some players to try and get back into the match.
However, a few minutes later, Kessie mistimed a tackle and went in too high and saw himself get red carded. What was interesting was that the referee consulted VAR to determine the color of the card, ultimately deciding that it deserved red.
However, the ref would swallow his whistle on a clear penalty late in the match and Juventus walked away with a somewhat meaningless Cup.
Of course, complaining about the refereeing would only seem to be sour grapes, so let’s examine the incidents.
The tackle was clearly in the box and clearly missed the ball and resulted in the player going down. There is no place in the world where that isn’t a penalty. A shady decision that appeared at real time to be a clear penalty, and was completely ignored by the referee and the VAR officials.
Benatia should have been send off in that match as well as chiellini. Also matuidi made the same tackle on calabria which kessie got a red for. But hey juves 12th player always there for them. pic.twitter.com/QUi8Bod8aU— RR (@keralista) January 16, 2019
There was also a mistimed tackle from Blaise Matuidi only minutes before the Kessie red card that not only was not given a card, it went unpunished. It’s decisions like these that fuel conspiracy theories about referees and Juventus.
In the end, it’s just the Supercoppa. Most people will be hard-pressed to remember what happened in the match in a few weeks and as the Coppa Italia progresses, most will forget about this result. Much like the Charity Shield in England, this is not a serious “trophy.” At best, it’s a chance for Italy to take a match on the road and make some new fans. At worst, it’s a glorified friendly that everyone will forget in a few days.