Serie A suffered more racism at the weekend when Inter Milan forward Romelu Lukaku was subjected to monkey chants as he took a penalty at Cagliari -- yet the incident was largely overlooked in Italy itself.
CAGLIARI INVOLVED IN A STRING OF SIMILAR INCIDENTS
The incident, which happened as Lukaku went to take a penalty in the second half of Inter's 2-1 win, was the latest in a string of racist incidents which have happened at Cagliari home games. In April, Juventus forward Moise Kean was subjected to similar treatment after scoring for the Turin side in a 2-0 win.
Serie A's disciplinary panel took no action against Cagliari on that occasion, saying the insults were "certainly reprehensible" but that they had limited relevance and perception. However, it fined Kean for diving in the penalty area earlier in the game. Meanwhile, Cagliari president Tommaso Giulini said Kean should shoulder the responsibility for celebrating in front of Cagliari supporters.
"What happened at the end was because of a celebration which was wrong and it would have happened with any other player," he said. In January last year, Cagliari apologized to Juventus midfielder Blaise Matuidi after he was subjected to racist abuse.
In May 2017, Pescara's Ghanaian midfielder Sulley Muntari walked off the pitch, also complaining of racist abuse at the ground. Serie A took no action against Cagliari, saying only around ten fans were involved. In 2010, Cagliari was fined 25,000 euros because of racist chanting aimed at Inter Milan forward Samuel Eto'o.
CAGLIARI, INTER SILENT
It was mentioned by Italian media but did not make the front pages of any of the three main sporting newspapers.
LUKAKU HAPPY, ACCORDING TO INTER WEBSITE
Inter Milan's website had some quotes from Lukaku but they, also, did not mention the incident. "I'm very happy about these first two league victories and about tonight's success," Lukaku was quoted as saying after helping Inter take six points from their opening two games.
"It was a tough match, we had to fight but that's what we'll have to do in every game, I'm happy for the team and for our fans." "To score wearing this shirt is a great feeling, I want to help the team even more, through assists too: the goal is to continue like this."
CONTE DID NOT HEAR ANYTHING
Inter Milan coach Antonio Conte said that he did not hear the chanting from the bench. He then called for more education, although he did not specifically refer to racism.
"I think that in Italy we must improve a lot and be more educated and respectful towards those doing their job," he said. There was a brief comment from Inter defender Milan Skriniar. "These are things that should not be in football but almost always are."
FIVE TEAMS WITHOUT POINTS
Cagliari is one of five teams who have lost their opening two games.
Sampdoria, under new coach Eusebio Di Francesco, is in the worst situation after losing both matches by three-goal margins. Di Francesco, who has spent the whole summer asking for reinforcements, hit out at the club over their transfer policy after they were thumped 4-1 at Sassuolo.
"I am disappointed and feel let down. I want to fight in order to improve this situation, but it's not easy," he said. "I feel furious about all sorts of things right now. I'll evaluate the situation once the transfer market has shut, but we need reinforcements in attack and, looking at these two games, in every area of the team."
Fiorentina, who narrowly escaped relegation last season and have since been bought by Italian-born U.S. billionaire Rocco Commission, lost 2-1 defeat at Genoa. "We didn't make the most of our chances and then the team lost confidence. You can expect that when you have so many players in Serie A for the first time," Fiorentina coach Vincenzo Montella said.
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