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SPAL coach Semplici left frustrated by VAR controversy

SPAL coach Leonardo Semplici believes Serie A officials need to rethink how VAR is deployed after his side were on the wrong end of a controversial decision in their 4-1 loss to Fiorentina.

With the game poised at 1-1, Mattia Valoti thought he had put SPAL ahead with 16 minutes remaining, only for the goal to be ruled out after referee Luca Pairetto overturned his call following a consultation with his video assistant, instead awarding a penalty to Fiorentina at the other end – the first time such a decision has been made since VAR's introduction.

Federico Chiesa was fouled by Dias Felipe in SPAL's area, but Pairetto initially dismissed Fiorentina's claims, allowing play to continue for 35 seconds – Valoti netting from the resulting counter.

Pairetto had to wait a further minute and 35 seconds until VAR suggested he should take a look at the screen, with Jordan Veretout then slotting home the spot-kick, which was taken six minutes after Felipe's foul, to compound SPAL's misery.

And Semplici rued SPAL's misfortune at being the first team to suffer from a scenario that has previously been cited as one of the system's weak points.

"We are the first for everything!" he told DAZN.

"It's never happened but these are the rules and we go on our way. We have played a great game against a good Fiorentina side. 

"It is not easy to take the lead, have the goal cancelled and then suffer the 2-1. I think there are some problems, the officials should intervene."

SPAL, who had taken the lead through Andrea Petagna, collapsed in the final 10 minutes, with Giovanni Simeone and Gerson rounding off the win for Fiorentina, and Semplici was disappointed with his side's reaction to the VAR drama.

"The incident has unnerved the boys but it did not have to end [4-1]," he added.

"We need to be calmer, in some situations it's not easy, but we'll need a lesson to never leave the field from the mental point of view."