MILAN (Reuters) - Juventus ground out a 2-0 win at Fiorentina on Friday after the hosts had a penalty revoked in another contentious incident involving the video replay system (VAR).
Federico Bernardeschi scored against his old club and Gianluigi Buffon made his 500th league appearance for the Turin side but it was all overshadowed by the latest episode involving VAR.
Fiorentina were awarded a first-half penalty for handball by Giorgio Chiellini and Jordan Veretout waited for nearly three minutes to take the spot kick before the referee indicated he would review the incident using the VAR system.
Amid angry Fiorentina protests, he then awarded a free kick to Juventus for offside against a Fiorentina player in the build up to Chiellini’s handball although replays showed that the ball was played to him by Juventus defender Alex Sandro.
“It took a lifetime to decide,” said Fiorentina coach Stefano Pioli. “I don’t accept the referee’s choice. Alex Sandro touched the ball twice and it can’t have been involuntary. It wasn’t offside.”
Pioli also complained that the referee did not view the pictures himself but relied on information passed to him by the video assistant.
Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri said: “We’ve been on the wrong end of these decisions and there’s nothing you can do. It was a long wait.”
Shortly afterwards, Fiorentina were denied again when Gil Dias broke down the right and saw his shot rebound off the inside of the post.
Juve, who host Tottenham Hotspur in their Champions League round of 16 tie on Tuesday, made the most of their reprieves and went ahead in the 56th minute when Bernardeschi’s free kick found a gap in the defensive wall to put them in front.
Forward Gonzalo Higuain wrapped up the points with four minutes left when Chiellini’s pass sent him galloping clear of the Fiorentina defence and he confidently placed his shot wide of Marco Sportiello.
With Napoli not playing until Saturday, the win took Juventus top of Serie A with 62 points, two ahead of their rivals who host Lazio.
Serie A is one of a number of competitions around the world which is trialling VAR and its use has proved highly contentious.
Critics say it takes too long to make decisions and that referees are still making mistakes even after reviewing incidents on pitchside screens.
Football’s law-making body IFAB is expected to decide on March 3 whether to approve the use of VAR on a permanent basis and FIFA is hoping to use it at the World Cup in Russia.
Writing by Brian Homewood in Bern; Editing by Toby Davis