Lazio players, coaches and directors were claiming scandal after a penalty shout for handball was waved off and Ciro Immobile was sent off minutes later for a headbutt in a 3-1 loss to Torino.
The hosts had Immobile sent off for violent conduct on the stroke of half-time, and Torino made the most of their one-man advantage to secure their first away win against Lazio for 24 years.
The visitors scored three times in 19 second-half minutes to leave Lazio reflecting ruefully on Immobile’s red card, which was awarded by referee Piero Giacomelli after the former Borussia Dortmund forward appeared to move his head towards Torino defender Nicolas Burdisso.
But the Immobile incident, which came after video review and the alleged missed call for handball on Torino’s Iago Falque, had players calling foul during and after the match.
“Maybe people don’t like Lazio in the top four,” midfielder Luis Alberto told Mediaset Premium at half-time. “It’s incredible, that was a clear penalty.
“You can’t play football like this and in too many games this has happened to us. Maybe people don’t like Lazio being in the top four. Now we want to win even more! We’re coming out for the second half and will definitely win now.”
Following the match, Lazio boss Simone Inzaghi said the match was decided by the referee in the second half of a match that he believes his team were cheated of victory.
Inzaghi said to Mediaset Premium: “The images are clear. I can analyse the first half, but in the second it was decided by the referee, his collaborators and VAR. We should’ve done better in the first half, we created a few chances and Torino also had their opportunities.
“We had the feeling we could get the victory, but for the fourth week in a row we were left feeling defrauded. It’s a series of incidents that really makes you think. You all saw it.
“I don’t know, but after four weekends like this, you do think [it’s a conspiracy]. I hope not, because it’s the most beautiful sport in the world, but after four games in a row where the mistakes are always against the same team.
“It was the hardest half-time talk I’ve had in my coaching career, because it didn’t seem right to deny the evidence in front of my lads.
“We should’ve done better and taken the lead in the first 45 minutes, but when certain things happen, it’s really irritating. I was able to calm the team down and talk about the pitch situation for three times, but the fourth was tough.”
And Lazio director of sport Igli Tare took it a step further than his team’s manager, claiming that his team have been damaged and that they deserve answers about the interpretation of VAR that the referee made in a result he likened to a “scandal.”
“We want clarity on how these incidents are interpreted,” Tare told Sky Sport Italia. “Lazio were clearly damaged. We reached this stage without stealing anything, by playing good football and with a team that earned every point.
“We want to be in control of our own destiny without someone given the power to change the game that much. Tonight was a huge scandal, in fact more than a scandal.
“We all saw the television footage and you could see on VAR the penalty incident, but then it was only used on Immobile, despite Burdisso telling the referee that Ciro hadn’t touched him.
“We must stay calm, even if it is difficult, as this was a big chance for Lazio to climb the table. It was a clear handling offence in the area and VAR had to intervene.
“Torino deservedly won the second half against 10 men, but today Lazio were damaged and we demand respect. It can happen to see one or two errors, but if it becomes a habit, then there’s a problem.”
Frank Jumbo with Agency Report