5 October 2014 21:40
Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri defended referee Gianluca Rocchi in the wake of the Turin club’s controversial 3-2 victory over Roma.
The Serie A champions triumphed in Sunday’s meeting between the league’s top two, who both headed into the game boasting five wins from five, thanks to a fine 86th-minute volley from Leonardo Bonucci.
However, official Rocchi bore the brunt of criticism from Roma coach Rudi Garcia, who was sent to the stands by the referee, for awarding two contentious first-half penalties to Juve that were both dispatched by Carlos Tevez.
The match ended in further drama when Juve’s Alvaro Morata and Kostas Manolas of Roma were each dismissed in the closing stages, leading to a melee between the opposing teams.
However, Allegri felt Rocchi was not responsible for tempers flaring on a number of occasions.
“It was a very intense game and both teams had some good moves,” he told reporters.
“Both sides honoured the match. There were some clashes, but those are part of the sport, otherwise you may as well go to the theatre.
“I have been in Serie A for seven years and I rarely got angry with a referee in my career. Reducing everything down to Rocchi’s decisions doesn’t explain what happened over the 90 minutes.”
Juve’s victory was their 22nd consecutive home league victory, the longest such streak in Serie A history.
The latest win on home soil hands Juve the early edge in the race for the Scudetto, but Allegri believes there is nothing to split his team and Roma.
“Tonight’s game does not prove we are clearly superior to Roma,” he added. “We are a great team, but Roma are doing equally well.
“The lads interpreted the two phases of the game very well and deserved the victory, though it was such a balanced encounter that it was open to just about any result.”