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Ribery banned for pushing assistant referee

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MILAN — Fiorentina winger Franck Ribery has been banned for three league matches after pushing an assistant referee.

The incident occurred after the final whistle of Fiorentina’s 2-1 loss to Lazio on Sunday and Ribery was given a red card after pushing the official twice.

The Italian league’s disciplinary commission announced Monday that Ribery has been banned for three matches and fined 20,000 euros ($22,200) for “seriously disrespectful behavior toward an assistant referee.”

Both teams disputed some refereeing decisions, including Ciro Immobile’s winner a minute from time as there appeared to be a foul in the buildup.

The 36-year-old Ribery had already been angered at being substituted with 15 minutes remaining and the score still 1-1.

Ribery apologized for his actions on Monday with a post on social media.

“I am really sorry about last night, I apologize to my teammates, the coach and the fans,” the former France international said. “I apologize to Mr. Passeri, because after the final whistle I was very nervous and disappointed, and I hope he can understand my mood.

“I always want to be on the pitch and to help my teammates, because I came to Florence for this city and this club, and I expect more care for Fiorentina, the same care that is given to other clubs, because of the hard work we put in on a daily basis.”

Ribery will miss the matches against Sassuolo, Parma and Cagliari.

Racist chants prompt brief suspension of Serie A soccer game

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PARMA, Italy (AP) Racist chants prompted a brief suspension during an Italian league soccer match between Atalanta and Fiorentina on Sunday.

The referee ordered a warning to be read over the stadium’s loudspeaker after the chants were apparently made by Atalanta fans toward Fiorentina fullback Dalbert Henrique, a Brazilian player who is black.

Toward the half-hour mark, Dalbert stopped and glared at the direction where the chants appeared to come from, and he then spoke to the referee.

The address over the loudspeaker, warning that the match would not resume until the chants stopped, was met with whistles from the crowd.

Once the crowd calmed down, the match resumed after a break of several minutes.

It’s the latest incident in a spate of racism in Serie A.

Inter Milan’s Romelu Lukaku and AC Milan’s Franck Kessie have also been targeted this season but no club has been punished by the league judge.

FIFA president Gianni Infantino addressed the incident in Parma as a guest on Italian state TV RAI.

“Racism is combatted with education, condemnation and discussion,” Infantino said. “You can’t have racism in society or in football. In Italy the situation has not improved and this is really serious. You need to identify those responsible and throw them out of the stadiums. You need, as in England, the certainty of the penalty. You can’t be afraid to condemn racists, we need to combat them until they stop.”

Atalanta, which is based in Bergamo, is playing in Parma while its stadium is being renovated.

Serie A: Juventus edge past Parma; Napoli-Fiorentina thriller (video)

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A roundup of all of Saturday’s action in Italy’s top flight…

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Parma 0-1 Juventus

Juventus’ quest to win a ninth straight Serie A title began with a win away to Parma on Saturday, but only just barely. Giorgio Chiellini scored the game’s only goal in the 21st minute, redirecting Alex Sandro’s half-volley past the goalkeeper after a corner kick wasn’t fully cleared. The victory sets Maurizio Sarri‘s side (Sarri wasn’t in charge of the team on Saturday as he continues to recover from pneumonia) on its way in a season that figures to feature multiple challengers to the throne, with Napoli and Inter Milan each strengthening their squads considerably in the summer. Sarri will also miss out on next weekend’s heavyweight clash between Juve and last season’s runners-up Napoli at Allianz Stadium.

Cristiano Ronaldo had a goal taken off the board after the video-assistant referee picked up on the narrowest of offside calls.

$85-million center back Matthijs de Ligt was named to the bench, where he remained for the entirety of 90 minutes, with veterans Chiellini and Leonardo Bonucci preferred to the 20-year-old. Goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon joined De Ligt on the bench in his return to Juve after spending last season at Paris Saint-Germain.

Fiorentina 3-4 Napoli

Napoli’s 4-3 victory over Fiorentina was a truly wild ride. There is no other way to describe it.

Napoli went from a goal down inside the first 10 minutes, to 2-1 up just before halftime, level at 2-2 in the 52nd minute, 3-2 ahead just four minutes later, level at 3-3 in the 65th, and finally 4-3 ahead just two minutes later.

Dries Mertens (38th), Lorenzo Insigne (43rd and 67th) and Jose Callejon (56th) got the goals for Carlo Ancelotti’s side.

Hirving Lozano, who joined Napoli for $44 million on Friday, wasn’t yet available to make his debut but will only add another level of quality to what has proven to be an already impressive attacking unit.

Sunday’s Serie A schedule

Udinese v. AC Milan — 12 p.m. ET
Roma v. Genoa — 2:45 p.m. ET
Sampdoria v. Lazio — 2:45 p.m. ET
Cagliari v. Brescia — 2:45 p.m. ET
Verona v. Bologna — 2:45 p.m. ET
SPAL v. Atalanta — 2:45 p.m. ET
Torino v. Sassuolo — 2:45 p.m. ET

Franck Ribery signs for Fiorentina

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Franck Ribery has signed for Fiorentina in Serie A.

The French winger, 36, left Bayern Munich when his contract expired over the summer and many thought he may retire after a long list of injuries.

However, the tricky wideman has arrived in Italy after 12 seasons at Bayern which saw him win 23 major trophies, including the UEFA Champions League in 2013.

As for Fiorentina, this is a huge deal for them as Ribery will be unveiled in a press conference tomorrow.

The Florence club have slumped in recent seasons and barely avoided relegation from Serie A in 2018-19, and that came after six consecutive top eight finishes in Italy’s top-flight.

U.S. businessman Rocco Commisso bought the club for $181 million this summer and is promising to steadily rebuild the squad under Vincenzo Montella, who had a glorious spell in charge from 2012-15.

Adding Ribery means they have a big name on board, but can he stay fit and help this new-look side push up the Serie A table? Fiorentina have made 13 new signings this summer and a huge overhaul was needed.

If Ribery can stay fit and fresh, he showed at Bayern last season that he still has a little left in the tank.

Nketiah leads Arsenal past Fiorentina (video)

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Eddie Nketiah scored twice as Arsenal beat Fiorentina 3-0 in Charlotte on Saturday.

Joe Willock also scored for the Gunners, which beat Colorado Rapids and Bayern Munich in their first two matches of the preseason and meet Real Madrid in Maryland on Tuesday.

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Fiorentina took 18 of the match’s 30 shots, though Arsenal had nearly 60 percent of the ball.

Nketiah, 20, scored against Burnley in last season’s Premier League finale and then late against Bayern Munich earlier this week.

He was deft in a high-pressure spot for this one.