April 17, 2018 / 3:17 PM / 3 months ago

Soccer: Madrid penalty row has given Buffon boost he needed, says Juve coach

MILAN (Reuters) - The controversy over Juventus goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon’s furious reaction to the penalty awarded to Real Madrid in the Champions League last week has done the player good, coach Massimiliano Allegri said on Tuesday.

Soccer Football - Serie A - Juventus vs Sampdoria - Allianz Stadium, Turin, Italy - April 15, 2018. Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri before the match. REUTERS/Massimo Pinca

Buffon was sent off for his angry protests which followed the penalty decision and bitterly criticised referee Michael Oliver, saying the English official was out of his depth and had a “garbage bin” instead of a heart.

Juve were leading 3-0 in the quarter-final second leg, having wiped out a three-goal deficit from the first tie in Turin, but were knocked out when Cristiano Ronaldo converted to make it 3-1 and send Real through 4-3 on aggregate.

“The evening in Madrid has done him good, it has given him the shot of adrenaline he needed,” Allegri told reporters. “That’s how champions live.”

However, he said that second-choice Wojciech Szczesny would play in Wednesday’s Serie A match at Crotone.

Buffon, 40, widely expected to retire at the end of the season, has been widely criticised for failing to apologise to Oliver over the outburst.

Allegri said the match with lowly Crotone will have more influence on the outcome of the title race than Sunday’s match at home to second-placed Napoli.

Crotone, who last season pulled off one of the great escapes in Serie A history, are again fighting the drop and are stuck in the relegation zone, one point adrift of safety.

“Between Crotone and Napoli, the more decisive match is the one against Crotone,” Allegri said. “It would be a significant advantage to reach the match against Napoli with a six point lead.

“I have heard talk of scudetto and celebrations. We are waiting until it’s mathematically won, we need more wins,” he added. “Napoli have a single objective, there is more pressure on them and they will do anything to re-open the title race.”

Writing by Brian Homewood in Bern; Editing by Christian Radnedge

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