Michael Oliver has become public enemy number one in Turin after pointing to the spot in the dying minutes of the Champions League quarter final second leg at the Santiago Bernabéu. And fans are looking for a scapegoat.
Oliver may not holiday in Turin
With the game tied at 3-3 on aggregate Oliver deemed that Juventus defender Benatia's challenge on Real Madrid's Lucas Vázquez in the 93rd minute (the last of the three additional minutes) was a foul. That decision provoked the wrath of the Juve players resulting in goalkeeping legend Buffon overstepping the mark and seeing red. Cristiano Ronaldo buried the penalty and Los Blancos qualified, once again, for the Champions League semi-finals.
The debate over whether the penalty should have been given or not immediately kicked in with angry exchanges seen between those on both sides. Even professional players and referees could not agree. And as conspiracy theories were sought to soften the blow, the 33-year old English referee was targeted for the answer.
The Olivers loving Madrid
As the sun rose on Thursday morning the debate continued with accusations being thrown at whoever could feasibly be positioned in the firing line. The Italian press followed the lead of the Juve fans who had searched out further 'evidence' of partiality towards Los Blancos, coming from the referee's wife, Lucy Oliver. Newspapers such as Tuttosport and Il Corriere dello Sport used some of these old tweets from Mrs Oliver for their Thursday pages highlighting her praise for the city of Madrid and the Santiago Bernabéu stadium.
In one, dated July 16, 2016, Lucy poses at the Bernabéu will the captain: "Not a bad stadium I guess..." adding the amusing hashtag suggesting that Portsmouth's ground is superior.
On the same day she also posted several photos of the Spanish capital, in one with the comment: "Loving Madrid".
These tweets have somehow thrown more petrol onto the fire. What seems to have been missed from these accusations is that the Santiago Bernabéu is one of the most visited sights in all of Spain...and Madrid is a pretty special city too. Maybe once the emotion has died down...