The Italian round-up: Adriano’s punch, Mourinho sees red & Del Piero has a strop

Away from the prying eyes of the British TV audience, Serie A is experiencing one of its best campaigns for some time, with Inter Milan and Juventus looking likely to duke it out all the way to the final rounds of the season.

With just three points separating the top two, the nip-tuck state of affairs means that every little incident at either the Nerazzurri or the Bianconeri is currently being magnified as the pundits constantly reassess which side has the upper hand.

Three incidents have since made the headlines following last weekend’s action.

1. Adriano’s Punch – The Emperor has had a difficult time of late at Inter, and his unsettled position in Mourinho’s set-up received a further blow after the big Brazilian let his both his feet and fists do the talking against Sampdoria on Sunday night.

On what should have been a great night, Adriano managed to bag only his second goal of the season to lead Inter to a narrow win over Samp. However despite scoring the crucial winner, Adriano has subsequently let his teammates down by picking up a three match ban for punching Daniele Gastaldello in the belly.

In truth, the “punch” appeared to be little more than a tickle, and arguably Gastaldello’s over-the-top reaction contributed to the harsh punishment dished out by the league.

Adriano’s punch on Gastaldello can be seen here.

2. Mourinho’s Red-Card – In the same match, the Special One experienced one of his less-impressive moments after being sent to the stands by referee Domenico Celi for protesting a decision during the match.

Mourinho lept out of his dug-out to bark at the officials, only for the man in black to immediately order the Portuguese to vacant his pitch-side position and watch the remainder of the game from behind the glass in the San Siro.

The matter did not go unnoticed by his fellow managers in the league, with Carlo Ancelotti stirring the pot announcing “I believe Mourinho has lacked respect in his manner of confronting the referee and I believe the decision to send him off was justified.”

Mourinho’s red-card incident can be seen here.

3. Del Piero’s Strop – Alessandro Del Piero also caused tongues to wag this weekend, after the Old Lady’s talisman appeared to through a mini-tantrum after being substituted for Sebastian Giovinco during Juve’s win over Fiorentina.

On exiting the pitch Del Piero was handed a coat, only for the number 10 to toss the garment on the floor as he made his way back to the bench. Many interpreted this as a sign of ill-discipline by the Juve captain. But Del Piero has since set the record straight.

Del Piero: “I threw it because they gave me the wrong size coat again! These things can happen and it’s natural to react that way when you’re in the heat of the moment. It was not a good thing to do, but I don’t regret it either. When you are fired up and in the game, nobody likes to be substituted. After a few minutes the anger dissipates and it’s all over. There really is nothing to report on here.”

Del Piero’s strop can be seen here.