Robin Hood of reffing ruins Inter - Roma Cup clash

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Despite the best efforts of Emerson to keep the Ricky Kaka transfer saga on the front pages of the Italian sporting press, it's back to business as usual – and that means dodgy refereeing decisions.

While the Puma was backtracking over comments that his AC Milan team-mate would be on his way to Real Madrid in the summer, Inter were taking on AS Roma in the Italian Cup.

A quarter-final tie between the finalists from each of the last four years of the competition had all the perfect ingredients for an evening of high drama at the San Siro – a one-off tie, Inter coming off a thumping at Atalanta, holders Roma on the up again.

Cicinho & Mexes keep Zlatan company

Pity then that referee Daniel Orsato and his assistants took such a laissez-faire attitude to their duties of following the rules of the game.

The encounter got off to a pretty explosive start when the Giallorossi had what appeared a cast-iron penalty turned down after Mirko Vucinic was tripped in the area.

As the striker fell, his out-stretched hand propelled the ball into the net, and Orsato not only waved away the protests but also booked Vucinic for 'deliberate' hand-ball.

Having set the precedent for ineptitude, he went on to turn a blind eye to Philippe Mexes’ attempt to take Zlatan Ibrahimovic out of the contest with two lunging challenges, and generally create confusion among the players with more whistle-blowing than a traffic warden in the centre of Rome.

But Ibra has the last laugh...

Genoa fans once nicknamed Orsato 'Robin Hood' accusing him of “stealing” three points from their team a few seasons ago in a Serie B game at Pescara.

And he had plenty of help from one of his merry men for Inter’s winner, with his assistant failing to detect Walter Samuel a good metre or so offside in the build-up to Milan's second goal.

Orsato then displayed his own take on the offside, bringing a pass to Dejan Stankovic to a halt even though the Inter midfielder still had Roma defender Juan in front of him when he received the ball.

And so it went on, until everyone had just about given up doing anything without first looking towards the official, apart from Mexes who continued to scythe Ibra down without a care in the world.

"Graham Poll, I take it all back..."

It was this permissive attitude that allowed the robust Gallic approach to go relatively unpunished with just a booking, when Mexes should really have seen red following a malevolent coup de grace in the dying moments.

A shame then, that the overall spectacle was spoilt by the man in the middle, as both sides showed a willingness to attack and play neat football which bodes well for their Champions League endeavours.

For Mr Orsato on the other hand, he must learn, sooner rather than later, that his style of refereeing makes him nothing more than the big bad sheriff.

---------------------------------------------- More to read...

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