Last week we saw one of the most ridiculous controversies of recent Serie A history. Juventus played Milan in the Coppa Italia semi final. Juventus lost 1-2 (or did they? Oh the suspense…) after a 2-1 victory in the first game, and thus the encounter went on into extra time where Juve clinched a draw, or a victory, due to a Mirko Vucinic screamer. The debate broke out whether Milan had put an end to Juve’s unbeaten 2011-12 streak or not. Some people might call this an academic matter, a thing which is apparently of little significance despite the importance of universities in the development of our civilization, but since I have after all been a university student for eight years I thought that I would delve a bit into the matter anyway.
First of all I find it funny that Milan chairman Galiani feels the urge to take part in a debate, which has very little to do with his club. That he finds it so interesting to talk up a possible and very small beauty spot on Juve’s very impressive season appears to me like a lack of class. Milan is leading Serie A, they’re still in Champions League, and they have no reason to cling to a ridiculous small opportunity to bring Juve down. Whether or not Juve has lost one of zero games since August is none of their business, and only serves to highlight how much Milan feels threatened by the rise of the Bianconeri.
I however do think that Galiani has a case, even if he doesn’t really know it himself. Sure – according to the official rules Juventus did not lose the game, since it officially ended 2-2, but that is actually pretty weird. The situation is, again according to the rules as I understand them, that the game in Turin ended up in extra time because Juventus won the first game in Milan (the city) 2-1 and then lost the match in Turin 1-2. But then, somewhat magically that defeat is not really a defeat, but rather a situation during a game… or…?
The way I see it’s fairly simple. Juve won the first game and Milan the second. That’s why the two teams had to play an extra 30 minutes to decide who would go to the final. People who claim that Juve didn’t lose the last game, will have a hard time explaining how they consider the 1-2 result of the game in Milan (the city – I hate this English nomenclature) a Milan defeat. The results of the two game were identical, but yet the perception of them isn’t. As the rules are now, the two games are profoundly different, since the last of them can become half an our longer than the first.
The difference between the two games means that a team, in this case Milan, can force an opponent to extra time after losing the first game without winning the second. Weird. This means that Juventus were saved by an oddly sounding bell, as they lost without losing. In my opinion the rules should reflect the reality – that there are two games, and if the aggregate result of those two games is a draw, then the two teams go on into extra time. The extra time is than not a part of the last game, but an addition to BOTH games, meaning that a regular time victory is actually recognized as such. This reflects the fact that the extra time is there because the aggregate result was a draw and not because a team is leading in the last game.
Claiming that the standing in the last game of a two game meeting is the deciding factor is a bit like claiming that 2=4 instead of 2+2=4. If you take out the first part of the equation, the well deserved Juve victory in Milan (the city!!!), you cannot understand the overall outcome. The same goes for the well deserved Milan (the club!!!!) victory in Turin.
Photo by Trilly Sands