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Inter-Juventus referee says Old Lady should have had a free kick

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Premium Sport interviews Piero Ceccarini on controversial 1998 matchup.

Ronaldo of Inter Milan and Alessandro Del Piero of Juventus
Ronaldo of Inter Milan and Alessandro Del Piero of Juventus.

Twenty years ago, Juventus and Inter Milan took to the Stadio delle Alpi in a match that some suggest ultimately decided the Scudetto that season.

While Juve fans remember the match as a 1-0 triumph while Interisti suggest they would have likely own the title if not for one bad decision by the referee. At the time, Inter was just one point back of Juventus with four games left to play.

In the latter stages of the game Ronaldo was taken down by Mark Iuliano and referee Piero Ceccarini elected to not award a penalty on the challenge inside the area.

On the counterattack, Juventus drove into the area and were promptly awarded a penalty for nearly the exact same foul.

Despite the fact that Alessandro Del Piero missed the subsequent penalty, it is a memory that still lives in the minds of Inter fans 20 years later.

In an interview with Mediaset, Ceccarini said he regrets not awarding Juventus a free kick based on the Ronaldo-Iuliano challenge.

“Right then and there, it looked like a challenge from Ronaldo on Iuliano and not the other way round,” Ceccarini said. “Today, after a long time, I can confirm that what I saw on the pitch corresponds to reality if we’re talking about physical contact. I can also say that my mistake was not giving a free kick to Juventus because the fact of not having whistled made it look like I saw Iuliano’s foul and didn’t want to acknowledge it. Instead I just saw the opposite.”

He added that he “would like to put a tombstone” on the entire ordeal and reiterated that there was no “bad faith” in the no-call.


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