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Dublin: 22 °C Thursday 24 July, 2014

The bananas are flying in Serie A as AC Milan players targeted for racist abuse

Nigel de Jong and Kevin Constant were subjected to a barrage of abuse.


FFANS HURLED BANANAS at AC Milan’s Guinean defender Kevin Constant this afternoon as his side’s Europa League bid suffered a huge knock with a 2-1 defeat to Atalanta.

The racist insult was the latest to hit a top European football league after a banana was thrown at Barcelona’s Brazilian defender Dani Alves on 27 April.

European football’s governing body UEFA this week blasted racist attacks in Spain and called for action after fans subjected foreign players to monkey taunts and banana-throwing. Alves calmly picked up the banana hurled at him by a Villarreal fan and bit a chunk out of it. But there was many protests by black players after the game.

Milan travelled to Bergamo looking to build on the 1-0 derby win over Inter last week that put them firmly in contention for a place in the Europa League.

The Rossoneri looked to be heading for a share of the spoils after home striker German Denis levelled for the hosts from the spot barely a quarter hour after Gianpaolo Bellini had put the ball past his own ‘keeper Andrea Consigli to give Milan a 1-0 lead. However Clarence Seedorf’s visitors were stunned in the sixth minute of added-on time when substitute Franco Brienza sent an unstoppable shot past Christian Abbiati in the visitors’ net.

Italy Soccer Serie A

AC Milan's Nigel De Jong, right, holding a banana, and teammate Philippe Mexes applaud after Atalanta fans threw bananas at their teammate Kevin Constant.

Source: AP/Press Association Images

Milan dropped one place to ninth behind fellow Europa League chasers Verona, held 2-2 by Lazio on Saturday, and Parma, who are away to Torino later Sunday. This season, the sixth-placed finisher in Serie A will also qualify for Europa via the Italian Cup, won by Napoli over Fiorentina last week.

Inter qualified for Europe’s second tier competition with a 4-1 win at home to Lazio on Saturday and Fiorentina, currently fourth, have already secured their spot.

There is now only one place up for grabs. Torino could secure the third and final place with an away victory at Parma that would give them a four-point lead over Parma, Verona and Milan with one game remaining.

Juventus secured their third consecutive scudetto last weekend and are away to Roma, second and 11 points adrift, later in the day. A win would see Antonio Conte’s visitors amass 99 points and thus beat Inter’s Serie A record of 97 for their title-winning 2007 season, with one game in the season remaining.

Roma are assured of the second automatic Champions League qualifying spot while Napoli, away to Sampdoria, will play in next season’s competition if they successfully negotiate the qualifying stages.

- © AFP, 2014

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