Cathartic: the word that best summarizes AC Milan’s victory in Genoa, because even though only a goal separated Milan and Genoa after 90 minutes, the game had one too many subplots.
Lasse Schöne opened the scoreline for the home side, scoring from a direct free-kick from distance – a strike Pepe Reina could have saved with ease – minutes before both teams headed into the dressing room. As a result, the pressure was on Milan, who had been distracted by the growing rumors of Marco Giampaolo’s sacking leading up to the game.
What a response they gave.
Just within 12 minutes of the second half whistle, I Rossoneri responded with two goals of their own. The second, scored by midfielder Franck Kessie from the penalty spot, put the visitors up 2-1 against a 9-men Genoa.
Late in the game, with the villain title already on his back, Reina caused more troubles for Milan, rewarding Genoa with the penalty of their own. The Spanish veteran, however, redeemed himself, stopping Genoa’s strike from the spot. The 37-year-old quickly went from villain to hero.
With some pressure off his shoulder Giampaolo and his men take a two-week break before hosting Lecce, while Genoa travel to Parma following the international break.
MILAN (AP) AC Milan midfielder Franck Kessie and Inter Milan striker Romelu Lukaku reportedly have been subjected to more racism in Italy.
The Gazzetta dello Sport reports that Hellas Verona supporters aimed offensive chants at Kessie during the first half of a 1-0 loss to Milan on Sunday night.
The Italian sports newspaper adds that the chants continued during halftime.
Kessie, an Ivory Coast international who is black, was also subjected to racist chants by Inter Milan and Lazio fans last season.
Also Sunday, a commentator on Italian TV, Luciano Passirani, was immediately suspended for a racist comment directed at Lukaku.
Speaking on the “Qui Studio a Voi Stadio” show, Passirani started off by saying, “I don’t see any other player in Italy now like Lukaku. … I really like him,” before adding, “the only way to stop him is to say, `Here are 10 bananas that you can eat.”‘
Lukaku, who is also black, was targeted with monkey chants by Cagliari fans this month. The league judge has not decided yet whether or not Cagliari should be punished.
MILAN (AP) The Italian league’s governing body has vowed to do “everything in our power” to wipe out racism in soccer after another incident.
Lazio’s Italian Cup semifinal victory at AC Milan was overshadowed by continued racist abuse directed at Milan players Tiemoue Bakayoko and Franck Kessie — who are black — before and during the match on Wednesday. Inflatable bananas were also visible in the away section.
The Lega Serie A said in a statement on Thursday it “firmly condemns the racist episodes which have happened these past few days. The sport should bring out respect, inclusion and being together in harmony: Values that are at the base of the social initiatives that have always been promoted by the Lega Serie A.
“It is not acceptable that we have to hear verbal, intolerant abuse in our stadiums and, as we have done before … we will do everything in our power to oppose similar incidents. We also hope for the maximum collaboration from the police to help identify and punish those responsible who with their actions tarnish the image of our world.”
“Lazio clearly distances itself from behavior and displays that do not in any way correspond to the values of sport that this club has promoted and supported for 119 years,” the club said. “And it rejects and contests the simplistic tendency of some parts of the media to consider the entire Lazio fanbase responsible for the actions of a few isolated elements, for motivation that has nothing to do with passion for sport.
“The club has always fought for the respect of the law and for decency in behavior.”
There were two announcements over the speaker system at San Siro warning the fans to stop or the match would be suspended.
Lazio won 1-0 to progress to the final against Atalanta or Fiorentina. The first leg ended 0-0.
Earlier in the day, around 50 Lazio fans unfurled a banner reading “honor to Benito Mussolini” near Piazzale Loreto, where the fascist dictator was killed at the end of World War II.
Kessie, Biglia apologize for bench altercation during Milan derby loss
AC Milan duo Franck Kessie and Lucas Biglia were left to apologize after an altercation on the touchline during Sunday’s 3-2 loss to Inter in the Milan derby at the San Siro.
In the 69th minute, with Inter up 3-1, Kessie was substituted off by AC Milan manager Gennaro Gattuso, and was visibly frustrated with the decision of his withdrawal. Biglia, while sitting in his seat on the bench, appeared to say something to him as he came off the pitch, which triggered the incident. Multiple teammates and staff are forced to hold Kessie back, while fellow unused substitute Diego Laxalt appears to try talking Biglia down from the seat next to him.
“It was the adrenaline of the match situation, I was frustrated coming off and really wanted to do more. I took it out on Lucas and it was a mistake, I apologized afterwards,” Kessie told Sky Sport Italia after the match. “He is older than me and I should learn from him. I’m sorry.”
While Biglia’s statement seemed like less of an admission of guilt, he still said he was embarrassed by the incident and admitted he could have handled it differently.
“Franck knows what I said and we clarified the situation afterwards,” the Argentine said. “We all want to win, but this is not something we should do in front of everyone. Maybe save it for the dressing room. We above all feel bad for this embarrassing scene, I feel ashamed of it and apologized to the team and coach in person. It was not what we wanted, we embarrassed the club we represent and it won’t happen again.”
One eagle-eyed Twitter user noticed that the problems between the two could run deeper than just this one moment. Lucas Biglia opened the scoring against Chievo Verona last time out in an eventual 2-1 win, and zoomed-out video showed the entire team celebrating with the Argentine goalscorer except Kessie, who glances at the rest of the celebrating squad for around five seconds before casually turning his back and strolling towards the center of the pitch for the restart.
The loss for Milan on Sunday dropped them into fourth, the final Champions League place in the Serie A table, with a six-point lead over fifth-placed Roma.