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Move along, nothing to see here: Juventus claim 'no conspiracy' after Catania win

The Sicilian side feel they were wronged as the flag of the referee’s assistant twice went Juve’s way.

Image: Carmelo Imbesi/AP/Press Association Images

JUVENTUS DIRECTOR GENERAL Beppe Moratta has moved to quash claims of a conspiracy after the Serie A champions’ controversial win at Catania on Sunday.

“I agree that there was a refereeing mistake yesterday but there have been other mistakes in previous matches and last year Juve was on the receiving end,” said Moratta.

“But we categorically reject any idea of a conspiracy, that Juve somehow affected the result yesterday.”

Arturo Vidal’s 57th-minute winner helped Juve extend their lead at the top of Serie A and took their unbeaten streak to 48 matches but the Sicilian side had earlier scored a perfectly good goal that was chalked off by the referee for offside.

Furious Catania president Antonino Pulvirenti was ordered off the bench and later complained that protests from the Juve bench had influence the officials’ decision to disallow the goal.

Pictures of Bergessio’s goal showing he was not offside were splashed on the front of both Gazzetta dello Sport and Corriere dello Sport, Italy’s biggest sports dailies.

The front pages also showed that for his goal Vidal was offside, reinforcing Catania’s claims that Juve had twice been given a helping hand by officials.

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On what was an extraordinary day for controversial refereeing decisions, Lazio also complained after they finished their 2-0 defeat at Fiorentina with nine men, having also seen a goal knocked off.

Serbian Adem Ljajic gave La Viola the lead in first half injury time and despite Stefano Mauri levelling with a diving header in the 59th minute he was flagged offside despite Juan Cuadrado appearing to play him onside.

Lazio coach Vladmir Petkovic praised Fiorentina but felt aggrieved by the referee’s decision not to award Mauri’s goal.

“The goal was clearly not offside,” he told Sky Italia. “I also failed to understand some of the cautions (yellow cards) we had, but overall we should have done better.”

The incidents have raised questions over the standard and professionalism of refereeing in Italy, prompting a reaction from the Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) president Gianni Petrucci.

“The referees are working hard and mistakes sometimes happen,” said Petrucci, who praised Petkovic’s reaction as an example of fair play.

“People should stop getting carried away… and look at how Petkovic showed a good example of fair play.”

- © AFP, 2012

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