Serie A side Cagliari will face no punishment for their fans’ racist abuse of Juventus youngster Moise Kean last month.
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The decision was announced by the league’s office on Tuesday, accompanied by a statement which read in part:
“It emerged the chants in question, although certainly reprehensible, had an objectively limited relevance to race.”
In other words, they were only a little racist; they weren’t racist enough.
The chants were present throughout the entirety of Juve’s 2-0 victory and only grew more intense after Kean scored his side’s second goal and celebrated defiantly, unwilling to be intimidated or silenced.
While Moise Kean has been in the headlines for unfortunate circumstances of late, his play on the field is the real story. That came to the forefront at Allianz Stadium in Turin on Saturday as his 83rd minute goal sent Juventus through in exciting fashion.
Juventus fell behind in the first half but fought back for a 2-1 win over AC Milan to put the Old Lady on the brink of yet another Scudetto.
Krzysztof Piatek buried a 39th minute strike to put AC Milan ahead after Tiemoue Bakayoko pilfered the ball off a poor Leonardo Bonucci pass in the Juventus third. That wouldn’t last, however, as Paulo Dybala won and scored a penalty on the hour mark, felled by a clumsy Mateo Musacchio challenge before burying the chance from the spot straight down Broadway.
With the score 1-1, the game was set up for an exciting finish. Miralem Pjanic snatched a bad Davide Calabria pass in the AC Milan third – almost in the same spot where Bakayoko snatched a bad pass in the first half – and fed Kean who buried the winner with his right foot. The 19-year-old had come on in the 66th minute to replace Dybala, his second time scoring a winner off the bench after his goal against Empoli a week ago gave Juventus a 1-0 win.
Kean’s goal is his fifth in five matches since joining the regular Juve lineup, in addition to goals in each of Italy’s two European qualifiers in late March. The 19-year-old is white hot, all while deal with racial abuse during Serie A away matches that have lit up the headlines.
The goal and victory sent Juventus an enormous 21 points above second-placed Napoli, with seven matches remaining. That puts their magic number at 3 points, meaning they need a combination of 3 points gained by Juventus or dropped by Napoli the rest of the way, which would secure Juve’s eighth straight Serie A title. Meanwhile, the loss for AC Milan is significant, as it opens the door for Atalanta to snatch the fourth and final Champions League spot when they travel to Inter. Atalanta sits a point back of AC Milan in fifth, while Roma is three back of Milan in sixth before beginning play at Sampdoria on Saturday.
Returning from the international break with five straight Premier League match-days, Robbie Earle and Robbie Mustoe give their take on the current state of the title race (0:55), top-four race (21:45) and relegation run-in (56:00).
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Plus, the 2 Robbies discuss the unfortunate racism incident involving Moise Kean in Italy (1:08:40) before ending the podcast on a positive note by sharing their favorite moments from the Premier League Fan Fest in Boston this past weekend (1:15:30).
To listen to more lively conversations and passionate debate from Robbie Earle and Robbie Mustoe, subscribe to The 2 Robbies Podcast on Apple Podcasts or anywhere you listen to podcasts.
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Leonardo Bonucci has been widely criticized by the media and his peers for his post-match reaction to the racial abuse hurled at Juventus teammate Moise Kean on Tuesday.
The 19-year-old Kean had been booed and heard monkey noises chanted at him during Juve’s 2-0 win over Cagliari, including a number of jeers after he scored the second goal and spread his arms wide to the crowd.
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Bonucci claimed the blame was “50-50” between Kean and the fans, saying the player provoked the angry reactions. Most of the world said that racism is never okay, even if provoked, and Bonucci now claims he was misunderstood after the heat of a 90-minute match.
A senior leader on the team, Bonucci’s needed 24 hours to back his teammate on Instagram.
“After 24 hours I want to clarify my feelings. Yesterday I was interviewed right at the end of the game, and my words have been clearly misunderstood, probably because I was too hasty in the way I expressed my thoughts. Hours and years wouldn’t be enough to talk about this topic. I firmly condemn all forms of racism and discrimination. The abuses are not acceptable at all and this must not be misunderstood.”
There’s something to the “I wasn’t thinking straight” and Bonucci did not have a catalog of bad actions prior to his “50-50” comments, so his straight-up condemnation of racism is a good start (though an “I’m sorry” would’ve been nice).
Leonardo Bonucci has been roundly criticized for comments he made after teammate Moise Kean was subjected to racist abuse during Juventus’ 2-0 victory over Cagliari on Tuesday.
[ MORE: Allegri asks for lifetime bans after Kean racially abused ]
Whereas Juve manager Massimiliano Allegri called for the fans hurling racist abuse at Juve and Italy’s 19-year-old rising star to be banned for life, Bonucci said, “I think the blame is 50-50, because Moise shouldn’t have [celebrated like that] and the [fans] should not have reacted that way.”
A number of the game’s most prominent black stars, including Raheem Sterling and Memphis Depay, hit back directly at Bonucci for all to see, while the likes of Paul Pogba, Blaise Matuidi and Mario Balotelli, among others, have posted full-throated support of Kean on social media.
(Google Translate: As captain of Juventus I am disappointed in your reaction, the boy can rejoice as he wants. His role is essential for his team and he plays with great pride for his country Italy. He must be respected for this.)
Cagliari president Tommaso Giulini’s comments on the matter were equally un-empathetic and slanted — quotes from the Guardian:
“I don’t want people to start being self-righteous about it, because I heard that already, whereas Juventus players came to me afterwards and confessed Kean was wrong to celebrate that way.
“We cannot go around calling the entire Cagliari crowd offensive things. If there were racist jeers, then our fans got it wrong, but it happened because of the celebration and would’ve happened even if the goalscorer had a different color of skin.”