Vidal guides Juve to controversial Catania win
Published : 28 Oct 2012 16:25:04
Champions Juventus reinforced their lead at the top of Serie A with a controversial 1-0 win away to struggling Catania, who had a legitimate goal disallowed and finished the match with ten men.
Former Arsenal man Nicklas Bendtner made his full Juventus debut for Antonio Conte's side, partnering Mirko Vucinic ahead of a five-man midfield which also featured French teenager Paul Pogba.
It fell to Chilean international Arturo Vidal to give the Old Lady of Turin a 57th minute lead, which appeared to be safe when Catania defender Giovanni Marchese was sent off mid-way through the second half.
However well before then the Sicilians appeared to have suffered injustice when Argentine striker Ruben Bergessio tapped the rebound from Nicolas Spolli's glancing header past Gianluigi Buffon in the Juve goal.
Buffon, celebrating his 500th Serie A appearance, looked to have been fairly beaten but Catania's celebrations were cut short when the referee disallowed the opener after consulting with his assistant.
Catania reacted furiously and after club president Antonino Pulvirenti was eventually sent from the bench for dissent five of the club's players picked up yellow cards as their frustration came to the fore.
The north/south divide in Italy is well known and when it comes to football rivalries between the likes of Napoli and the richer northern teams only intensify that reality.
In comments to Sky Italia, Pulvirenti later complained: "Bergessio's goal was cancelled by the Juve bench.
"There were seven officials out there, and none of them have seen a thing."
Juventus president Massimo Moratta brushed off claims which seemed to suggest foul play on the part of the officials.
"These accusations don't even deserve a response," he said. "The referee was wrong but we would have won on points."
Juve had had the lion's share of chances in the opening exchanges, with Vidal testing Mariano Andujar in the third minute with a fierce shot and then Kwadwo Asamoah sending the ball just over the bar following a free kick.
Bendtner was ruled offside after his diving header from an Andrea Pirlo freekick flashed off the crossbar, and Pogba, who scored his debut goal in a 2-0 win over Napoli last week, sent a dipping shot just over.
Vucinic spurned the chance to put Juve ahead after pouncing on a poor clearance and then saw Andujar produce a great save from his close-range shot after a Bendtner knock-down.
When it came, there was also a hint of controversy about Juve's opener.
Bendtner looked a whisker offside when he picked up Vucinic's pass and after Andujar parried the Dane's shot it fell to Vidal to slide it into the net.
Juve's chances were given a boost when Marchese, who had been booked in the first half, was cautioned and sent off after intercepting a pass with his arm.
Pirlo hit the resulting freekick and Andujar had to move fast to parry Pogba's header at the far post.
Had it not been for Andujar, Catania would have come off worse.
He was quick to smother the ball at Bendtner's feet and second half substitute Sebastian Giovinco saw a fierce shot was pushed out from under the bar.
Catania's last glimmer of hope was their claim for a penalty when second half substitute Taka Morimoto came down after a challenge from Asamoah, although the referee waved play on.