Stadio Olimpico

First-hand account of violence at Coppa Italia final

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We brought you the story of a shooting before Saturday’s Coppa Italia final, and now our friends at Soccerly have a first-hand account of what it was like inside the Stadio Olimpico as Napoli topped Fiorentina 3-1.

Soccerly’s Anthony Lopopolo was in Rome for the match, and gives a very critical review of what he witnessed. There’s plenty of hubbub regarding rumors in Napoli in recent weeks, and the club has hit back. But on a violent day in Italy, Lopopolo’s impressions were not favorable.

From Soccerly:

The game was delayed almost an hour after a shooting took place a few kilometres away from the stadium. There were various skirmishes between rival fans before the game, even outside the Eternal City and on the way to Rome, some throwing firecrackers at each other in the streets, according to the Guardian.

The police looked ready for something bad to happen.There were lines of swat teams hours before kick-off. They closed off streets around the stadium. Armoured vehicles cut off the main arteries of Stadio Olimpico. The carabinieri directed fans of Napoli and Fiorentina to either side. The two factions would not mingle.

What a photo: Lazio plays to near-empty Stadio Olimpico as fans protest club president

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You know that wacky guy who calls into a sports radio talk show and claims that the higher-ups would get a true picture of the fans discontent if they all just stayed away for a match?

Well, Lazio supporters did just that. Just a sprinkling of fans were in the stands at Stadio Olimpico as Lazio fell to Atalanta by a 1-0 score on Sunday in Serie A action.

The fans have been angry with club president Claudio Lotito, and it hasn’t been eased by poor form on the pitch. Some of the folks who did attend the match voiced their displeasure with signs like “It’s him  or us” or “Lazio is ours and we will leave it to our children,” according to a BBC report.

There have been a number of problems at Lazio this season, including the firing of manager Vladimir Petkovic and the transfer of popular midfielder Hernanes. After the sale, there was a protest march attended by nearly 40,000 fans.

Lazio coach Edoardo Reja responded to the sight of an empty Olimpico:

“It’s a real shame to see the Olimpico deserted. We were in with a chance of achieving something significant but it’s difficult to play in these conditions.

“This situation can’t go on. It’s a disadvantage for us, as we’ve seen today.”

Stay tuned.