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Ref facing lengthy ban after error in Milan loss

Serie A ref facing lengthy ban as error costs Milan potential winner in 2-1 loss vs Spezia

January 18, 2022 By Ali M.
Italian match official Marco Serra costed the Rossoneri a goal in added time in Monday's controversial game.

Yesterday's Serie A showdown between AC Milan and Spezia saw a costly refereeing mistake take place, with the Rossoneri missing out on the three points as a result.

The Italian giants hosted Thiago Motta's side needing a win in order to leapfrog league leaders and bitter rivals Inter Milan to the top of the table. Unfortunately, after squandering several opportunities, Pioli's men found themselves locked in a 1-1 stalemate in stoppage time after Kevin Agudelo equalized for the visitors shortly after the hour mark, canceling out Leao's opener.

However, with only a few minutes left on the clock, AC Milan, who were pushing for the winner, thought they had found the decisive goal when Junior Messias curled a beautiful shot into the back of the net. However, the referee blew the whistle at the same time for a foul on Ante Rebic who was impeded less than two seconds before the disallowed goal.

The Rossoneri players were infuriated as they should have been given the advantage. Instead, the official apologetically brought the play back, knowing he had made an error, awarding the home side a free kick. 

AC Milan were unable to score from that set-piece and came narrowly close to snatching it all from a subsequent corner. However, with only a few seconds left on the clock, the Italian giants were caught on the counter, having committed several bodies forward in search of the winner, and thus conceded a gut-wrenching goal in the 95th minute.

Watch the incident in the video below (starting from minute 2:19)

While Spezia would have had time to score an equalizer, the hosts probably would have not conceded in the dying minutes and would have gone on to win the game had Messias' goal stood. As a result, the post-match reaction to that upsetting defeat was that of anger towards the referee. Pioli revealed after the game that the match official had apologized for his mistake, but that does not mean he will get off scot free.

According to Gazzetta dello Sport, Marco Serra, the man responsible for that blunder, is facing a lengthy suspension due to his below-par performance in yesterday's San Siro fixture.

Typically, punishment for poor officiating is a two-game suspension. However, the chiefs of the referee association (AIA) felt that Serra had many a number of mistakes throughout the game, including failing to give a clear penalty to AC Milan for a foul on Leao, which VAR eventually spotted and awarded.

While accountability is always great to see, any potential ban for the referee will do nothing for the lost three points. Il Diavolo are only two points behind Inter but the Nerazzurri have a game in hand over their city rivals, leaving Ibrahimovic and Co. at an unwanted disadvantage in this season's Scudetto race.

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