(Reuters) - Match officials took nearly six minutes to award Verona a penalty in a 1-1 draw at Fiorentina on Saturday which left the hosts still waiting for a first Serie A win since Cesare Prandelli returned as coach.
The match was an early contender for the worst of the league season so far, strewn with misplaced passes, ugly challenges, play-acting and 26 fouls and only four shots on target.
There was a dramatic start as Verona forward Eddie Salcedo went down in the area under a challenge from Antonio Barreca after only 80 seconds although it was not clear who tripped who.
Referee Francesco Fourneau pointed to the spot but it took nearly four minutes for VAR officials to examine the decision and nearly two more minutes for the referee to reconfirm it after looking at the pitchside monitor.
Eventually, Miguel Veloso was able to take the kick and converted in the eighth minute.
Fiorentina levelled in the 19th from another highly debatable penalty.
This time, Dusan Vlahovic went down under pressure from Koray Gunter and, although there did not seem to be contact, the referee again pointed to the spot and Vlahovic converted.
Verona, surprise contenders for a European place, stay seventh with 20 points with Fiorentina 17th on 11 after 13 games.
Fiorentina have drawn three and lost three of their six league games since former Italy coach Prandelli returned for a second stint at the club.
"In the last two games, we played well and the lack of a victory should not worry us unduly," said Prandelli. "We have to improve in attack but today was difficult because conceding the penalty at the start meant we had to use up a lot of energy chasing the game.
"In the second half, we didn't get enough men into the penalty area."
Thirty-seven-year-old Fabio Quagliarella scored five minutes after coming on as a substitute to a complete a 3-1 win for Sampdoria over bottom-of-the-table Crotone, who have just six points.
Mikkel Damsgaard finished off a counter-attack to give Samp the lead after 26 minutes and Jakub Jankto turned in a Damsgaard cross 10 minutes later to double the advantage for Claudio Ranieri's team.
Simy pulled one back for Crotone with a penalty in first-half stoppage time and the visitors were threatening an equaliser before Quagliarella was brought on in the 60th minute.
The veteran turned the ball in at the far post from a corner in the 65th minute for his sixth league goal of the season to move Samp up to 10th place on 17 points.
(Writing by Brian Homewood; Editing by Ken Ferris and Toby Davis)