Serie A sides Brescia and Lazio faced off in the league and Lazio defeated their opponent in a closely fought match. However, the match has now been marred by controversy surrounding racism. Brescia star Mario Balotelli has accused Lazio fans of racially abusing him during the clash.
During the game, there were reports of racist chants targetted at Mario Balotelli. This compelled the management to issue a warning on the stadium’s public announcement system to stop the chants. The striker was unhappy with racist slogans aimed at him and expressed his anguish over social media.
Mario Balotelli commented that the team were hurt by their defeat against Lazio. He added that they would come back stronger. He also criticised Lazio fans for their racist chants, shaming them with a hashtag #saynotoracism. However, this is not the first time that the Italian has been targetted by racists. He has frequently been troubled since he joined his home side club Brescia last summer.
Lazio issued a statement on Twitter, stating that there were no such chants in the stadium targetted against Mario Balotelli. However, fans criticised the club for their denial of the incident.
Defending them? You in denial? Or just mentally retarded ?— Barry decry (@bdecry9) January 5, 2020
You should not defend racists— Barry decry (@bdecry9) January 5, 2020
Why do you think we're racist? Because a black player say that? You created racism when you say a black player can't even whistle, this is not racism, it’s only support your team— Cesare Mastrosanti (@CesareMastrosa1) January 5, 2020
Italian publication Corriere dello Sport received a lot of criticism for their controversial and racist headline last year. The front cover of the newspaper read as - ‘Black Friday’ - with former Manchester United teammates Romelu Lukaku and Chris Smalling featuring alongside the headline. The publication was heavily criticised as fans were quick to react against the headline. Lukaku and Smalling also responded harshly against the headline, advising the publication to focus solely on football rather than propagating racism.
Mario Balotelli scored for his side in the 18th minute of the match against Lazio. However, Lazio responded with a goal just before the end of the first half. It was followed by a penalty in the injury time of the game. Both goals were scored by Ciro Immobile. The defeat leaves Brescia 18th on Serie A points table. Lazio have secured the third spot behind Inter Milan and Juventus. They have won five games in a row.