AC Milan’s Kevin Constant walks off field, after more racist abuse in Italy

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Racism reared its ugly head once again in Italy, as Serie A giants AC Milan took on top-flight newcomers Sassuolo in a friendly.

In the game’s 34th minute, Milan’s Guinean international Kevin Constant walked off the pitch after alleged racial abuse from fans at the Stadio del Tricolore on Tuesday night.

The game continued, but repeated announcements over the stadium’s speakers urged fans to stop the racist chanting or the game would be abandoned. Milan lost the match 2-1, but that hardly mattered.

Italian Football Federation (FIGC) had this to say on the latest allegations of racial abuse.

The Federal Prosecutor’s Office has opened an investigation to ascertain the extent of the racist incident that took place at the Stadio del Tricolore in Reggio Emilia during the Milan-Sassuolo match, which saw AC Milan player Kevin Constant the subject of chants from some supporters in the stands.

This incident once again raises the debate as to what players should do if they’re being racially abused whilst on the soccer pitch.

After the game Milan released a statement saying that, “this was not a decision he (Constant) should have taken upon himself to make.”

So a clear gray-area still exists as to what players should do when suffering from racist abuse.

(MORE: Kevin-Prince Boateng talks about his stand against racism)

Constant’s Milan teammate Kevin-Prince Boateng walked off in January, when Milan’s players were subject to similar abuse from the stands as the played Italian minnows Pro Patria in a friendly.

Boateng was applauded around the globe for his actions and has since been made the first member of FIFA’s anti-discrimination task force.

(MORE: UEFA brings in strict racism measures, as relegation and expulsion could be the punishment)

New rules have since been brought into play by FIFA and if there is sufficient evidence to suggest Constant was racially abused during Tuesday’s friendly tournament, then those involved should be extremely worried about the new hard-hitting sanctions coming their way.

Below is a short video clip of the incident (not the best quality), as Constant picks up the ball and kicks it towards the alleged group hurling racist taunts his way, much like Boateng did back in January. He is then approached by players from both teams, the referee and coaches trying to persuade him to play on, but Constant was having none of it.

I didn’t think we’d be speaking about this same topic in the exact same region so soon after the Boateng incident, but sadly we are.

Despite all the good work that’s going on to eradicate racism in soccer, incidents like these prove there’s still a long way to go.

(MORE: Red Bulls striker Thierry Henry advocates hard line on racism)

Europa League Preview: Everton, Milan look to make group stage

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Everton look to make it back into the Europa League group stage for the first time since the 2014-2015 season and it has a two-goal advantage heading into the second leg of its tie.

Ronald Koeman and co. travel to Croatia to face Hadjuk Split Thursday having won the first leg at Goodison Park, 2-0. Everton is coming off a hard-fought draw on Monday with Manchester City and will be on short rest heading into the match.

Elsewhere in Europa League action, AC Milan take its 6-0 aggregate lead to Skopje, Macedonia as the legendary club looks to return to the group stage of a European competition for the first time since 2013-2014.

Here’s a look at all of Thursday’s Europa League matches, with the current aggregate scores:

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EFL Cup Rewind: Southampton, Newcastle knocked out by Championship sides

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Last season, Southampton made it to the EFL Cup final. This year, it’s a different story.

The Saints were bounced by Wolverhampton Wanderers, 2-0 at home on Wednesday in the second round of the cup. Joining Southampton of Premier League sides going home early was Newcastle, which lost 3-2 after extra time at home against Nottingham Forest.

Four other Premier League sides did advance to the third round, as Stoke City, Huddersfield Town, West Ham United and Burnley all won their fixtures.

Here’s a look at the rest of Wednesday’s EFL Cup action:

Blackburn 0-2 Burnley

Cheltenham 0-2 West Ham

Huddersfield 2-1 Rotherham

Newcastle 2-3 Nottingham Forest

Southampton 0-2 Wolverhampton

Stoke City 4-0 Rochdale

Breaking down who each Premier League team could face in the UCL Group Stage

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The UEFA Champions League group stage lineup is complete, with five Premier League clubs making the list.

On Wednesday, Liverpool joined Chelsea, Tottenham, Manchester City and Manchester United in the group stage after beating Hoffenheim, 6-3 on aggregate in the playoff qualification round.

Thursday’s Champions League draw (2 p.m. ET) will place clubs into groups of four, where they’ll play three matches at home and away.

Here’s a look at the four coefficient pots and who each Premier League club could face:

(more…)

Follow Live – Texas Derby, Cascadia Cup headline busy night of MLS action

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Welcome to MLS Rivalry Week.

The surging Houston Dynamo could move to first place in the Western Conference with a win over rivals FC Dallas while the current first-place side, the Seattle Sounders travel north and across the border to face Vancouver Whitecaps FC.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s MLS coverage ]

The Dynamo have made an impressive turnaround under coach Wilmer Cabrera and he’ll have the trio of Ricardo Clark, Alberth Elis and star forward Erick Torres available to face Dallas after missing the Dynamo’s match at Vancouver last weekend, which ended 2-1 in favor of the Whitecaps.

FC Dallas are in its worst form of the season, winless in its last four games, but the team will be extra motivated to beat its rivals.

El Capitan is on the line after draws between FC Dallas and the Dynamo in two matches earlier this season.

Meanwhile up in Vancouver, the Whitecaps host a Sounders squad that pulled out a last-gasp victory last weekend over Minnesota United. While the team is in great form on the road recently (two wins and two draws), the top story heading into the game is the unexpected absence of Joevin Jones, who left the Sounders for his home in Trinidad and Tobago ahead of the upcoming international break.

[ FOLLOW: Live MLS scores ]

On the other side, Fredy Montero faces his former club and carries an interesting record into Wednesday’s match. Of his 35 MLS goals, 11 have been scored against Cascadia Cup competition.

Here’s a look at Wednesday’s action:

Full schedule

Columbus Crew vs. LA Galaxy – 7:30 p.m. ET

D.C. United vs. Atlanta United – 7:30 p.m.ET

FC Dallas vs. Houston Dynamo – 8 p.m. ET

Toronto FC vs. Philadelphia Union – 8 p.m. ET

Real Salt Lake vs. San Jose Earthquakes – 10 p.m. ET

Vancouver Whitecaps vs. Seattle Sounders – 10 p.m. ET

Portland Timbers vs. Colorado Rapids – 10:30 p.m. ET