MILAN, BALIPOST.com – Italian football was involved in another racism storm on Sunday as Romelu Lukaku was targeted by monkey chants before putting Inter Milan top of Serie A with the winning penalty in their 2-1 triumph at Cagliari.
Lukaku — a 65 million euros ($73 million) summer signing from Manchester United– was preparing to take the spot-kick in the 71st minute in Sardinia when the racist chants came from the crowd that continued for several seconds.
The 26-year-old Belgian international angrily looked towards the stands before confidently converting his second goal in as many games, which came after Lautaro Martinez’s 28th minute opener for the Antonio Conte’s side and Joao Pedro’s leveller for the hosts four minutes after the break.
Lukaku was quickly surrounded by his teammates as Inter won their second from two league matches to sit ahead of champions Juventus, who also are on maximum points following their thrilling 4-3 win over Napoli on Saturday.
Racist chanting has dogged Italian stadia in recent years, with Italy striker Moise Kean also the victim of similar abuse — alongside teammate Blaise Matuidi — at Cagliari after he scored a goal there for his former team Juventus last April.
Kalidou Koulibaly was showered with monkey chants last season by Lukaku’s new fans at the San Siro, while several other black players have been targeted.
“I didn’t hear (the chants),” said Conte.
“I can speak however in general: I think we need to improve in Italy, respect everyone.
“When I was working abroad, the fans would cheer on their own team, not spend their entire time insulting the opponent. I was fine here, noone insulted me.”
Torino are right alongside Inter and local rivals Juve after shocking Atalanta 3-2, while Lazio missed the chance to keep the pace with that trio after drawing an eventful Rome derby 1-1. (AFP)