Milan (AFP) – Atalanta coach Gianpiero Gasperini said he fell victim to a “planned” expulsion in a fiery 2-1 defeat at Lazio that saw the hosts’ coach, Simone Inzaghi, also given his marching orders on Sunday.
Gasperini could be in hot water with Serie A bosses after a foul-mouthed tirade was caught by television pictures after he was expelled in the 79th minute by referee Luca Pairetto at the Stadio Olimpico.
But the Atalanta boss later claimed he was under threat from the fourth official throughout, until he came into Pairetto’s crosshairs after the match official had sent off Inzaghi earlier.
“For the entire game the fourth official was threatening to send me off,” Gasperini raged in comments to Sky Sport.
“The referee had planned to send me off, because earlier he’d got rid of Inzaghi and so he had to apply the same rule.
“I think there’s a lack of respect for us (coaches), it’s not possible that we’re sent off for no reason.”
When Gasperini left the touchlines, he didn’t go quietly, launching a series of foul-mouthed insults at the referee that could lead to disciplinary measures.
Atalanta’s first defeat in four games amid a record-setting season that has fans of Bergamo club lining the streets to welcome them home from fruitful away fixtures left them in seventh, at only 10 points behind leaders Juventus.
Inzaghi, meanwhile, steered Lazio to a 12th win of the season that maintained fourth place, at five points adrfit.
He, too, was sent off following disagreements with the fourth official.
“All I said to the fourth official was that I was allowed to put one foot on to the pitch,” said Inzaghi, the brother of former AC Milan striker and coach Filippo.
“I’m sorry for myself, and for Gasperini, who’s a real gentleman.”