Fiorentina-Milan: Why Sporting Justice Is Rarely Done

Giancarlo RinaldiCorrespondent IFebruary 24, 2010

FLORENCE, ITALY - FEBRUARY 24: Pato of AC MIlan celebrates after scoring the 2:1 goal during the Serie A match between ACF Fiorentina and AC Milan at Stadio Artemio Franchi on February 24, 2010 in Florence, Italy.  (Photo by Gabriele Maltinti/Getty Images)
Gabriele Maltinti/Getty Images

Was it really just a week ago we all gathered round to agree Fiorentina had been harshly treated in a defeat in Munich?

A ridiculous decision by the match officials cost them dear in the Allianz Arena.

The Viola's performance in Germany had deserved much more than a 2-1 defeat.

Still, there is a commonly held belief that, in the course of a season, the bad decisions are shared out between all teams to establish a kind of balance.

That was proved to be a nonsense in the Stadio Artemio Franchi when Milan came to town.

With the game delicately balanced at 1-1, Riccardo Montolivo was hauled towards the ground by Thiago Silva inside the penalty box.

Then he tripped the Fiorentina skipper for good measure.

Everyone expected a penalty kick to be the result but the match referee, in his wisdom, decided to wave play-on.

Of course, Milan then went on to grab a late, late undeserved winner through Alexandre Pato.

No wonder the Tuscan club announced a press silence in its fury at the way their matches have been officiated of late.

Once again a key decision had killed them.

The result puts the Rossoneri back on course for an improbable league title while leaving Fiorentina's hopes of returning to European football in tatters.

The penalty error was unforgivable and, in the context of the match, produced an unjust scoreline.

Milan were second best for most of the game, they looked slow and predictable and rarely found their way to Sebastien Frey's goal.

The home side, on the other hand, produced some sparkling football.

It brought them no points once more.

It would be enough to make even the most seasoned sports watcher admit defeat and switch his television off for good and never return to the stadium.

We should all, of course, be able to accept defeat when the better team triumphs.

But when you watch a side struggle for the majority of the match and still come away with a victory it is very hard to take.

Of course, Milan fans will say their team has played well in the past and been beaten.

That is undoubtedly true but it does not make Wednesday night any easier to swallow for Viola followers.

The only thing they could reproach their team was a failure to score more goals in a first half they controlled and some rather negative substitutions, when the Rossoneri were clearly there to be beaten.

Maybe Leonardo's side are genuine title contenders but it was hard to believe on this showing.

On the other hand, if they can be outplayed to this extent and come away with a win maybe the Gods are on their side.

Fiorentina certainly must have done something pretty bad in a past life to be getting the kind of results they have lately.

They battered Roma, played superbly against Bayern and dominated Milan and lost all three matches.

Their hopes of climbing the league table are gone and now all attention must focus on the Champions League return tie and the second leg of their Coppa Italia semi-final with Inter.

That's all the Viola have left to fight for.

However, if they continue to suffer the kind of misfortune they have of late, all hope will probably be forlorn.

Football and fairness seem a long way apart.

Another night like this and everyone who holds the Tuscan side dear might just about throw in the towel.