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Featured Image Credit: Image: DAZN
An Italian referee is in line for a "lengthy suspension" after a costly mistake in stoppage time in a game AC Milan went on to lose.
The Rossoneri hosted Spezia at the San Siro on Monday night and were furious with Marco Serra's decision to blow his whistle just prior to them having the ball in the back of the net.
With the scores poised at 1-1 after Kevin Agudelo had cancelled out Rafael Leao's opener, Milan were piling on the pressure.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic combined with Ante Rebic and the Croatian was about to let fly from distance when he was clipped from behind.
However, the ball still ended up in the path of Junior Messias, who curled in a beauty of a strike with his left foot for what looked like the winner.
Yet remarkably, the goal did not count as Serra had already blown for the free-kick and no advantage was played.
Milan players were livid, with Rebic even putting his hands on the official.
Milan were robbed of a clear goal by Marco Serra when the advantage should have been played prior to the Junior Messias attempt.— Matt Santangelo 🤌🏼 (@Matt_Santangelo) January 17, 2022
But Milan did waste chances and did miss a penalty.
With this league and its officials, you can’t leave the game up to them to decide.
Serra acknowledged his error and play was brought back for the free-kick, which saw an effort from Ibrahimovic tipped over the bar.
The error proved key though as Spezia went up the other end and grabbed a dramatic 96th minute winner through Emmanuel Gyasi.
Milan boss Stefano Pioli revealed Serra apologised for cancelling the goal, while the head of the referees association the referee association (AIA) also said sorry.
🚨 The Italian Referees Association leaders have apologised to Milan for the massive error that was committee by the Spezia game official Marco Serra. The referee could be set for a long suspension— Milan Eye (@MilanEye) January 17, 2022
But according to Gazzetta dello Sport, the 39-year-old is to be punished. It's said he is facing a suspension much longer than the normal two-game ban.
As well as the disallowed goal, chiefs were not happy with a number of calls - including failing to award a first-half penalty to Milan on his own accord.
Serra did not point to the spot until VAR intervened. Theo Hernandez missed from 12 yards on a night to forget for Milan.
“I tried to calm my players down, but I didn’t manage as Spezia’s goal proves,” Pioli told DAZN post-match.
“We knew it was an injustice, we have ourselves to blame, but we share responsibility with the referee. I am sorry to say that. "He even apologised, maybe that wasn’t even a fault. It’s a shame."