Chelsea loanee Tiemoue Bakayoko suffers racist abuse from Lazio supporters while playing for AC Milan
The midfielder, who is on a season-long loan with the Rossoneri from Chelsea, was targeted throughout the match by Lazio supporters.
Before the match, around 50 fans of the Rome club raised a banner reading ‘Honour to Benito Mussolini’ – the Italian wartime dictator. They also made fascist salutes moments before kick-off.
Racist chants of ‘this Banana is for Bakayoko’ were then reportedly heard from the fans throughout the clash.
The Lazio faithful jeered Bakayoko and his midfield team-mate Franck Kessie after they celebrated a victory over Lazio earlier this month by parading around with defender Francesco Acerbi’s shirt.
Bakayoko and Acerbi had been involved in a back-and-forth on Twitter and the Milan duo rubbed salt in the wounds with the celebrations, an act they later apologised for.
According to Football Italia, Lazio fans wanted to get payback for the act and smuggled inflatable bananas into the stadium to brandish at Bakayoko throughout the game.
In response to the chants, AC Milan’s stadium announcer said the match would be called off if the chanting persisted, but the action led to more abhorrent abuse from the fans.
Throughout the clash, Football Italia updated followers, writing: “Lazio fans are continuing to chant racist abuse towards Tiemoue Bakayoko outside the gates of San Siro.
“The tension is escalating ahead of the Coppa Italia semi-final against AC Milan, as Lazio ultras are already aiming racist chants at Tiemoue Bakayoko.
“Speaker reads out message warning game will be suspended if racist chants continue. Lazio ultras respond by chanting about bananas.
“Italian rules state the referee cannot stop play for racist abuse. Only the person in charge of public safety and security can do that. Their main priority is preventing a riot, so very unlikely to stop play.”
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In the match, Lazio got through to their fourth Coppa Italia final in seven years thanks to a goal from Joaquin Correa.
But the game was marred by the vile abuse, with Lazio later releasing a statement to condemn the actions of their supporters.
The statement read: “SS Lazio clearly distance ourselves from behaviour and manifestations that do not in any way correspond to the values of sport that this club has promoted and supported for 119 years.
“Lazio also reject and contest the simplistic tendency 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 law and fairness in behaviour.”
It is the latest incident in a long line of racist abuse that has blighted football recently.
Juventus forward Moise Keen was targeted by Cagliari fans during their Serie A clash, while in England Troy Deeney and Raheem Sterling have also been subject to high-profile instances of racial abuse.
Source: SportsLatest TS