Referee Fabio Maresca largely got things right in his handling of yesterday evening’s Supercoppa Italiana match between Inter and AC Milan.
This is the view in today’s print edition of Rome-based newspaper Corriere dello Sport, via FCInterNews, who argue that whilst the official got two decisions wrong in the first half and was perhaps lenient in not awarding a couple penalties, he always kept control of proceedings.
Maresca was always likely to have a real task on his hands in the form of the Milan derby, as the fixture has been fiery even by the usual standards in recent matches.
Things did come to a head when Rossoneri defender Fiyako Tomori reacted angrily to a challenge from Nerazzurri striker Edin Dzeko by giving the Bosnian a shove.
In the view of the Corriere, Maresca clearly should have given the Englishman a yellow card for the reaction, but nevertheless he is praised for the fact that he slowed the match down and dealt with the situation, such that both sets of players were calmed down afterwards instead of things boiling over.
Meanwhile, the official also decided to award a foul for what looked like a clean tackle by Inter defender Francesco Acerbi on Milan winger Junior Messias, resulting in a free kick in a dangerous area for the Rossoneri.
The Corriere criticizes the head official for this decision, considering that even the fourth official who was closer to the incident felt that there was no foul by the Inter player.
However, on the balance, the newspaper commends Maresca for keeping a lid on things, but doing so without unnecessary stoppages in play.
Apart from these, the Corriere argues, there were two potential penalty incidents, one between Tomori and Matteo Darmian, and the other between Federico Dimarco and Messias.
In both of these cases which Maresca deemed to be fair challenges and waved play on, the newspaper argues that had the on-pitch referee decided to point to the spot, it is far from clear that VAR would have overturned his decision.