Sunday, September 22, 2019

Leonardo: It looked like a clear penalty

SoccerNews in Serie A 6 Apr 2019

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AC Milan sporting director Leonardo strongly criticised referee Michael Fabbri after the Rossoneri went down 2-1 away to Juventus in Serie A.

Krzysztof Piatek’s 21st Serie A goal of the season put Milan ahead at Allianz Stadium, but Paulo Dybala equalised from the penalty spot before Moise Kean’s late winner.

Milan were denied a penalty at 0-0, though, Alex Sandro not punished after appearing to block a cross from Hakan Calhanoglu with his arm.

Fabbri checked VAR before opting only to award Milan a corner and Leonardo felt the referee made the wrong call, while questioning some of the other decisions made by the official.

“It looks like a pretty clear penalty,” Leonardo said to Sky Sport Italia.

“We are very disappointed, because we asked the team for a performance of bravery and confidence, which is what we got.

“To leave empty-handed due to very clear refereeing errors and the general behaviour of the referee being inadequate, it’s very disappointing.

“For example, the booking to Hakan Calhanoglu was inexplicable. The referee needs to calm the situation down, not create further irritation and tension.

“These are very disappointing situations. I don’t want to create controversy, but it’s disappointing.”

Gattuso denied a rift with Leonardo in the build-up to the game, with Italian media reports again suggesting the coach could be set to leave the club.

But despite Milan’s winless run in Serie A extending to four matches, denting their Champions League qualification hopes, Leonardo denied there are issues with head coach.

“I think the pitch and what happens there has to do the talking,” Leonardo added. 

“We directors generally don’t talk [to the media] very much. We talked between ourselves, we are very clear and always have been.

“I’ve known Rino [Gattuso] for 20 years, he knows everything and there are no secrets, no needing to hang around and see what happens.

“He was already here when we arrived, we decided to stay with him, were always very clear with him and never contacted any other coach.”

Milan were linked with signing Kean in January and Leonardo confirmed the teenager, who was subjected to alleged racist abuse at Cagliari in midweek, was a target.

“It’s true that Kean is a player we were interested in and talked about with Juventus,” the sporting director said. “He was a promising teen at the time, but is now a reality.”

Juventus will be crowned Serie A champions for the eighth year in a row if Napoli lose at home to Genoa on Sunday.

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