Inter midfielder Hakan Calhanoglu scored his team’s only goal in a 1-0 win over Juventus yesterday, and he did it from the spot after a retaken penalty which was high drama and somewhat confusing to the audience.
The refereeing decisions behind the retaken penalty were detailed by Italian broadcaster Sky Sport Italia, who break down the decisions made by referee Massimiliano Irrati and VAR official Paolo Mazzoleni.
Juventus forward Alvaro Morata appeared to have brought Inter wingback Denzel Dumfries inside the penalty area with a clumsy challenge inside the box, but Irrati did not initially view this as a foul.
However, he waited and got word from the VAR, and Mazzoleni advised him to have a second look at the contact on the pitchside monitor, and he pointed to the spot after doing so.
According to Serie A referee designator Gianluca Rocchi, this was a correct intervention by VAR, as the challenge by Morata was well within the scope of clear fouls to be overturned by VAR.
Calhanoglu stepped up to take the penalty, but had his initial effort saved by Bianconeri goalkeeper Wojcjech Szczesny, though the Pole could only parry it back into a dangerous area.
The Nerazzurri midfielder arrived quickly to the ball, as did several Juventus players, and either Calhanoglu or one of the Bianconeri players put the ball into the net for what looked like 1-0.
However, Irrati quickly whistled for an apparent foul by Calhanoglu during this scramble, though this too was of course subject to review by VAR.
According to Sky, the review uncovered that there was no clear foul in the incident, but also found that Bianconeri defender Matthijs de Ligt had encroached into the box early before Calhanoglu struck is penalty.
Given that the Dutchman became active in the scramble following Szczesny’s save on Calhanoglu’s shot, this meant that the penalty had to be retaken according to the letter of the law, and this was the decision Mazzoleni advised Irrati to make.
Finally, after several minutes of drama and confusion, Calhanoglu stepped up a second time, and this time his effort was put in the same corner but with far more power, and there was little that Szczesny could do to keep it out.
Meanwhile, Rocchi was largely complimentary of Irrati’s performance on the night, and suggested that there were no real errors, including suggesting that the official was not wrong to not give second yellow cards to either Lautaro Martinez or Adrien Rabiot.
The one incident in which Rocchi argued that the officials could have done better concerned the challenge by Inter defender Alessandro Bastoni on Juventus midfielder Denis Zakaria.
The contact was a clear foul, but it was far from clear whether the contact occurred inside or outside the penalty area.
Irrati initially whistled for a free kick but not a penalty, but took advice from the VAR, who after reviewing the footage for some time, concluded that it did not take place within the box.
The Bianconeri players were furious that no penalty was awarded, and for Rocchi they had reason to be annoyed.