Italy's World Cup ref asks players to make penalty decision

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Referee Nicola Rizzoli has been slated in the Italian press for his indecision over a penalty call during Roma's win at Sassuolo.

Nicola Rizzoli is one of Italy's most respected referees, but he had an outing to forget during Roma's 2-0 win at Sassuolo.

It was a fairly comfortable day for Scudetto-chasing Roma as they saw off struggling Sassuolo courtesy of Mattia Destro and Michel Bastos.

But the enduring memory of the game was a moment of refereeing chaos which occurred just before half-time.

Sassuolo's Nicola Sansone ran into the box and went down as he tried to turn, possibly due to contact with Mehdi Benatia.

Rizzoli didn't give the penalty but his assistant did. Players from both sides flocked around the referee to argue their case with Sassuolo demanding a card and Roma insisting there was no contact.

The ball was placed on the spot but debate raged for nearly five minutes before Rizzoli changed his mind and gave a drop ball instead.

It has emerged that during the debate Rizzoli sensationally asked the players what they believed should happen.

"Tell me the truth, tell me the truth," Rizzoli asked Sansone repeatedly, demanding to know whether he had actually been clipped.

Rizzoli also asked Benatia for his view on events and he admitted there had been contact but stressed he didn't feel it was sufficient to bring Sansone down.

After the game, the Italian media analysed the incident and ex-referee Gianluca Paparesta insisted that the right decision was made.

However, Rizzoli's indecision and bizarre choice to ask the players to make the decision for him has met with derision and called into question his credentials to represent Italy at the World Cup.

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