Juventus exit the Champions League under the cruelest of circumstances, having heroically made up a three-goal deficit at the Bernabeu only to see Real Madrid awarded a dubious penalty after time added on had expired.
Bianconeri the world over were outraged much like Bayern Munich fans were last season after once again Real seemed to benefit from friendly refereeing.
Club owner Andrea Agnelli insisted VAR needed to be implemented immediately.
“We must stay calm and analyse the situation. I see a series of countries that implemented VAR and I saw incidents that went against Italian clubs recently, such as the foul on Cuadrado, Milan at Arsenal and Juve tonight, proving we absolutely need VAR in the Champions League.
“This isn’t about one or two points, but rather going forward in a massive tournament that brings so much money and prestige, we can’t allow these incidents to occur.”
Manager Massimiliano Allegri was equally irritated by referee Michael Oliver’s decision to give a late penalty.
“I don’t want to judge what the referee did. I feel bad for the lads, who did well in Turin for 60 minutes and didn’t score the goals they did tonight. The penalty tonight was basically the reverse of what happened on Juan Cuadrado in the first leg… I said even at the time that incident would decide qualification.”
The incident he was referring to was late in the first leg when the Colombian winger was tripped but no penalty was awarded.
“We deserved at least to go to extra time, as we had two substitutes left and they could give an important push in that extra half-hour with Real Madrid tiring.
“Either I had to make changes on the hour mark and go hell for leather, or I wait until extra time and have enough time to get the situation sorted out. We weren’t even really at risk late on in the game.
“Now we have to focus on the Scudetto and taking that home. We have to be stronger than these things and let them fortify us.”
The man of the moment, who might have played his last game in the Champions League (the one trophy he has not won), Gianluigi Buffon was outraged at both the decision to call for a penalty and then to send him off for protesting despite being the captain of the side.
“I know the referee saw what he saw, but it was certainly a dubious incident. Not clear-cut. And a dubious incident at the 93rd minute when we had a clear penalty denied in the first leg, you cannot award that at this point.
“The team gave its all, but a human being cannot destroy dreams like that at the end of an extraordinary comeback on a dubious situation.
“Clearly you cannot have a heart in your chest, but a garbage bin. On top of that, if you don’t have the character to walk on a pitch like this in a stadium like this, you can sit in the stands with your wife, your kids, drinking your Sprite and eating crisps.
“You cannot ruin the dreams of a team. I could’ve told the referee anything at that moment, but he had to understand the degree of the disaster he was creating. If you can’t handle the pressure and have the courage to make a decision, then you should just sit in the stands and eat your crisps.”
Even Gary Lineker observed that sending Buffon off in likely his last Champions League game in time added on was heartless, and likened it to ‘shooting Bambi’.
“I thank Lineker for what he said, but as I said, it’s an issue of sensitivity. It means you don’t know where you are, what teams are facing off, what players are involved. It means you’ve understood absolutely **** all.
“It disappointed me to leave the boys with 10 men, but I said objectively Real Madrid deserved the victory, we shake their hands and move on.
“We will be furious when stepping on to the pitch in Serie A this weekend. Furious.”
Sampdoria will be visiting the Allianz Stadium on Sunday, and will be in the crosshairs of Buffon’s boys.