Napoli coach Rafael Benitez insisted his team deserved to win against Genoa on Monday despite both their goals coming after questionable refereeing decisions.
Gonzalo Higuain scored both goals in Napoli’s 2-1 victory in Serie A with the Argentine striker offside for the first, while the second came from a very soft penalty.
At his post-match media conference, Benitez initially refused to discuss the referees before claiming they had made mistakes that hindered his team.
“I don’t want to talk about referees because I should analyse the foul on Higuain that in my opinion deserved an expulsion after half an hour and not promptly whistled,” the Spanish coach said.
“At that moment we were 1-0 and the match could have ended up in a different way. I just want to add that in a match where we had about 10 chances to convert, my analysis cannot include the referee’s decisions.
“I have never argued about referees’ evaluations for more than year, apart from the Juve clash. I intend to maintain this shape of mind about this issue.”
Napoli hit the front in the seventh minute at the Stadio San Paolo with an offside Higuain converting from the rebound after Jose Callejon’s initial shot was parried.
Iago Falque’s drive from the edge of the box levelled things up in the 56th minute but Napoli would secure all three points with 15 minutes remaining after the referee inexplicably pointed to the spot.
Napoli swung a free-kick into the box and Genoa’s Juraj Kucka was seemingly penalised for a push on Higuain, although the contact was minimal at best.
Higuain took the responsibility from the spot and made no mistake; handing Benitez’s men a third straight win in all competitions.
Benitez argued it could have been a “landslide victory” and bemoaned his team’s inability to take their chances, as they finished the match with 13 shots to Genoa’s six.
“Yes, I got angry on the pitch, I cannot relish so many missed chances to convert,” he said.
“However, I have to highlight also the positive aspects of this performance – the squad proved their character and they have always fought like lions to achieve a win and they managed to react after Genoa’s levelled goal.”
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