'Shame': Balotelli attacks a new storm of racism in Italy
Milan, January 6 (AFP) Mario Balotelli lashed out Sunday after being again the target of racist insults, this time from Lazio fans after he scored for Brescia in a 2-1 Series A loss, telling his executioners : What a shame.
A defeat that hurts, but we will get stronger and we are on the right track, wrote the 29-year-old Italy international on Instagram.
Lazio fans who were at the stadium today THE SHAME IN YOU! #Saynotoracism.
Balotelli hit the first goal after 18 minutes at Stadio Mario Rigamonti in Brescia before Lazio, who was chasing the title, returned the blow with a double of Ciro Immobile.
But the game was overshadowed by insulting songs aimed at the former Manchester City and Liverpool player.
It's already the second time, Balotelli told the referee Gianluca Manganiello after half an hour, and the latter replied: I'll take care of it now.
Lazio coach Simone Inzaghi gestured in front of visiting fans to stop singing, while reading an announcement on the stadium's speakers remembering that the spectators' game would be suspended and their club penalized if they continued.
Brescia fans tried to drown out the insults with whistles and cheers that Balotelli applauded.
Later, Lazio issued a statement condemning the behavior of a very small minority of fans.
The club confirms once again that it condemns these unjustified excesses and intends to prosecute those who betray their own sports passion and cause serious damage to the image of the club and the Biancoceleste team, Lazio said.
In November, Balotelli threatened to leave the field after being targeted by monkey songs in Verona, with Romelu Lukaku of Inter Milan, Franck Kessie of AC Milan and Dalbert de la Fiorentina also victims of abuse this season.
A campaign against racism launched by Series A with three monkeys last month generated widespread criticism and teasing.
Balotelli continued where he left before the winter break, moving away from Luiz Felipe to fly on his first goal at home for Brescia and the first of the decade. He also scored the first goal of the previous decade in January 2010 with Inter Milan.
- Winning race of the Lazio section -
However, Lazio still extended his winning streak to nine consecutive league games to consolidate third place, three points behind the Inter Milan and Juventus leaders who play on Monday.
Immobile hit the winner after 91 minutes, having also converted from the penalty spot before the break.
Brescia, threatened by the descent, was reduced to 10 men when Andrea Cistana was ejected by a second yellow card after knocking down Felipe Caicedo after 39 minutes. The top scorer in Serie A, Immobile, withdrew Lazio in terms of level from the penalty spot three minutes later.
Immobile took his league account to 19 goals that connect with a Caicedo crossing to shoot at the time of discount.
Inzaghi, meanwhile, matches the Sven Goran Eriksson record of nine consecutive league wins set in the 1998-99 season.
The Swedish coach took Lazio to his last Serie A title in 2000.
We absolutely want the Champions League, said Inzaghi, whose team beat Juventus to lift the Italian Super Cup trophy last month.
- Rome falls -
The rivals of the city, Rome, four points behind the room, lost ground with an orthopedic device by Andrea Belotti that gave Torino a 2-0 victory at the Stadio Olimpico.
Belotti broke through just before the break and converted a penalty four minutes after Chris Smalling of Rome handled the ball.
Goalkeeper Salvatore Sirigu made great saves when the ninth-place northerners won again.
Verona is just behind in tenth position with Giampaolo Pazzini and Mariusz Stepinski scoring in any half in a 2-0 victory over the SPAL of ten men, who fell to last place after their 12th defeat this season.
Genoa's new coach, Davide Nicola, had a winning start with a 2-1 victory over Sassuolo, the first port since October.
Inter Milan restarted the battle for the title with Juve on Monday, with both sides level with 42 points after 17 games. Antonio Conte's team travels to Napoli with the champions at home against Cagliari. (AFP) APA APA