Former Serie A referee Luca Marelli feels that Inter Milan’s penalty was correct as Udinese keeper Maduka Okoye was “nowhere near the ball.”

Marelli weighed in on the incident on Italian broadcaster DAZN, via FCInter1908.

Inter received a penalty early in the second half of this evening’s match against Udinese.

It proved to be a key moment in the match.

The Friulani had taken a surprise lead at the end of the first half of the match.

Therefore, Inter knew that they needed to find a response, however, it arrived.

In the end, it was from the penalty spot. Referee Marco Piccinini pointed to the spot after a late challenge by Udinese keeper Okoye which bundled over Inter striker Marcus Thuram.

Marelli: Inter Penalty Vs Udinese Correct, Okoye “Nowhere Near The Ball”

This was not the first time that a penalty was given for a situation of this nature in Serie A.

Inter keeper Yann Sommer, for example, had conceded a penalty against Fiorentina.

That came due to a challenge which saw the Nerazzurri player go for the ball against Viola striker M’bala Nzola.

On that occasion, Sommer did get to the ball first. However, he punched Nzola in the head with the follow-through, which led to a penalty.

This time around, Okoye did not even get a contact on the ball.

“It’s a penalty,” Marelli said of the incident. “Even [Udinese coach Gabriele] Cioffi said so.”

“We’ve seen this kind of dynamic in the league this season on a number of occasions,” the former referee continued.

“But unlike in other cases, this evening the Friulani keeper wasn’t even near the ball.”

“It’s a decision to be made on the pitch,” Marelli continued. “If he hadn’t given it on the pitch, then VAR wouldn’t have intervened.”

“Thuram clearly reacts quicker than the keeper, and then the keeper moves towards the striker and makes contract.”

“The intensity of the challenge would not be worthy of VAR,” Marelli said. “But it’s a clear penalty because he’s nowhere near the ball.”