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‘Refs have handed Juve Serie A title’- Totti

TOTTI-JUVENTUSTURIN, October 6- Juventus general manager Beppe Marotta slammed Francesco Totti on Sunday after the Roma icon claimed the Italian champions continue to benefit from favourable refereeing decisions and already have one hand on the Serie A title.

Juventus claimed their sixth win in as many games with a hard-fought 3-2 defeat of Roma in Turin, but the top-of-the-table clash was mired in controversy.

Roma coach Rudi Garcia was sent off in the first half, while Juve striker Alvaro Morata and Roma defender Konstantinos Manolas saw red in the closing minutes after the match’s final, angry exchange.

More importantly, match referee Gianluca Rocchi awarded three penalties — two for Juventus and one for Roma. Doubts were raised on all three decisions following television replays and complaints by Roma players and coach Garcia.

Even Juve’s winner, a 86th-minute volley from defender Leonardo Bonucci, showed two Juventus players in offside positions.

As Roma dropped their first points of the season, 38-year-old Totti — who became the oldest player to score in the Champions League when he levelled in a 1-1 draw at Manchester City in midweek — lashed out.

“Juventus should have a championship of their own because they always manage to win,” Totti told Sky television.

He pressed home the point even after it was stressed Roma would be Juve’s biggest challengers this season: “Yes, but it doesn’t matter because we’ll still finish second. All three of Juve’s goals were invalid.”

As the drama fell under intense media scrutiny, Marotta took the unusual step of addressing the press following the match.

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“I have a lot of respect for a great players like Totti. His bitterness at the defeat is understandable, but what he said is unacceptable,” Marotta told reporters at Juventus Stadium.

“There are questionable decisions in all football matches.”

Juventus, who have officially won 30 Serie A titles, have, for many Bianconeri fans, actually won 32 although the club was stripped of two crowns, from 2005 and 2006 for their role in a match-fixing affair.

Yet for years Italy’s biggest and most successful club on the domestic front have been accused of benefiting systematically from refereeing decisions that might go either way.

Those accusations resurfaced after Sunday’s game, a high-explosive encounter that saw nerves frayed further by refereeing decisions which infuriated players and staff from both sides.

Marotta, however, added: “Every year the finger is pointed at Juventus because of events that are less than clear, but I believe that in reality and over the duration of a season these episodes get evened out.
“Our past three titles have been won on merit.”

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