Ghost Goal: Did the Decision Cost AC Milan the Scudetto?

Nate KahnContributor IIIMay 19, 2012

Juventus kicked the crown away from Milan in 2012
Juventus kicked the crown away from Milan in 2012Dino Panato/Getty Images

Flash back to February 25. The San Siro was at a fever pitch, as AC Milan and Juventus met in a top-of-the-table clash.

Milan got off to a flying start with a goal by Antonio Nocerino after just 15 minutes. Ten minutes later, Sulley Muntari headed in a rebound that clearly crossed the line before Gianluigi Buffon knocked it back out. Somehow, the perfectly-positioned linesman didn’t see it.

At that point the goal would have made it 2-0, and Milan would most likely have gone on to victory. Instead, Juventus got an equalizer and escaped with a point. Did the decision cost Milan the title? Milan fans will always ponder that question.

Juventus went on to win the title by four points this year, so their fans may point out that a three-point swing would not have been enough to give Milan the title. However, the entire course of history could have been completely different if the Rossoneri had won. They would have gone four points clear of Juventus and given the Bianconeri their first loss of the season. That certainly could have affected their confidence and how they approached the rest of the season.

However, every team gets tough calls against them and calls in their favor that they shouldn’t have had. Just look at that match for example.

Alessandro Matri had a perfectly good goal disallowed on account of an offside call in the 79th minute of the game. While it wasn’t as blatant as Muntari’s goal, it was another poor decision by the linesman. However, Juventus responded like a champion and did not let it get them down. Just minutes later, Matri got the equalizing goal.

The reason why Milan did not win the Scudetto was not because of the ghost goal—it was because Juventus was the best team throughout the course of the season and in particular down the stretch.

Adriano Galliani keeps a picture of the ghost goal on his phone to remind him of how he believes that Milan were robbed in the title race. During the course of the season, though, you get breaks that go for you and against you, as the disallowed Matri goal shows. Milan still had a one-point lead at the end of the match and did not execute well enough in the second half of the season to earn the title.