Napoli were unable to get more than a point from ten-man Atalanta at the San Paolo on Sunday, and manager Rafa Benitez was left infuriated and blaming the referees.
The main point of contention centered on the setup to Pinilla’s goal for Atalanta. Napoli defender Henrique was attempting to control the ball in the area when Pinilla snuck up behind him, stole the ball, and ran forward to score. A tackle from behind is generally considered a foul, but in this case the officials chose to wave play on.
“In 600 games at the highest level, I’ve never seen anything like it,” said Benitez angrily in his post-match press conference. “I’d like to ask that there be two more officials at each goal, that way maybe they can see what’s happening from every possible angle. I can say anything, but in the end we didn’t get the three points,” he admitted. “Today we had to play a match against a team with ten men that completely closed us down. It wasn’t a spectacular game but they were very lucky with all those saves from their goalkeeper.”
International break begins tomorrow morning, and Benitez is clear that after the players return from duty with their countries, a new Napoli will be in order. “A win today would have helped us recharge our batteries, but we’ll move on knowing that for the end of the season we have to do more.”