AC Milan boss Stefano Pioli has criticised the inconsistency of referee Paolo Valeri’s performance in Thursday night’s Coppa Italia draw.
Milan and Juventus played out a 1-1 draw at San Siro in the first leg of their cup semi-final, but it wasn’t without a huge chunk of drama.
After a goalless opening 45 minutes, the Rossoneri took an arguably deserved lead as Ante Rebic continued his fine scoring form with an excellently taken volley.
However, Theo Hernandez saw red inside the final 20 minutes for a second yellow card, and just as it looked as though Milan would still see the game out there was yet more controversy.
Davide Calabria was penalised by VAR as Cristiano Ronaldo’s shot his his elbow from a yard away, and the Portuguese tucked away the spot kick to ensure it would be all square heading into the second leg.
Pioli spoke to Milan TV after the game, and his words were transcribed by MilanNews.it.
“I am proud of my players. We are providing important performances, also in terms of quality. We have played better than a stronger opponent,” he said.
“I am happy with the performance, but there is regret for the result. It is a pity, but there is still the return leg in which we will be in difficulty because we will have several absentees. Now let’s dive back into the league.”
On the penalty: “I was present at the meeting. On the first or second day, in Cagliari-Brescia, there was a penalty foul by Cerri who was hit on the arm by the ball while it was shot and it was said that the penalty should not be called Today is the situation is identical. Before then there was a clear foul on Ibra who was not whistled. We were certainly damaged.
“A referee must use the same system. If there is a foul there is for both of us. However, we continue to play like this. I am satisfied with the boys and the fans must be too.
“It went like this, we must be stronger than these things too. On the return we will need a feat, we will need an extraordinary effort. We must continue like this and think immediately about the championship. We played two intense games, we must see how we will recover We want to do well against Torino and in the championship.”
On the performance: “We did well in the derby too. Then the final result changes the judgment. Tonight was not easy after a defeat like that of the derby. The team did everything it had to do. I asked the players to leave the field without regrets and they did.”