Benfica could have received a penalty for a challenge in the area by Inter Milan midfielder Nicolo Barella on forward David Neres.
This is the view in today’s print edition of Milan-based newspaper Gazzetta dello Sport, via FCInter1908.
At around the half-hour mark of yesterday evening’s Champions League group stage match, Benfica looked as though they had a potentially dangerous chance to score on the counterattack.
Former Ajax and Shakhtar Donetsk forward Neres was able to run through on goal.
The most alert Inter player to the situation as midfielder Barella.
The 26-year-old former Cagliari man chased back to catch up with Neres. He managed to stay with the Brazilian as he reached the penalty area.
However, Neres was still goalside of Barella.
The Benfica forward looked to be trying to make an angle from which to shoot. There was accordingly little time for Barella to make a challenge before Neres would have a dangerous opportunity.
So Barella dove in.
The Italian international did manage to poke the ball away. But he also appeared to make contact with the leg of Neres, bringing the 26-year-old down.
Could Barella Challenge On Neres Have Been A Penalty?
Dutch referee Danny Makkelie had a decision to make as the Benfica players appealed for a penalty.
Naturally Neres was the player at the centre of the appeals. But the whole Portuguese team clearly wanted Makkelie to point to the squad.
But Makkelie evidently saw it as a fair challenge by Barella.
He declined to give the penalty. And VAR did not intervene to overrule the on-pitch official’s decision and give the penalty either.
In the view of the Gazzetta, however, Inter and Barella may well have gotten away with one.
The Italian did seem to make enough contact with Neres’s legs to trip the Brazilian forward.
And then Neres was at the centre of attention later on in the match.
The Gazzetta note that during the second half, the Brazilian could have gotten a straight red card for a possible kick out at the face of Inter captain Lautaro Martinez.