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regular-article-logo Saturday, 15 June 2024

Lukaku finds ally in Fifa chief, Mbappe

Belgian striker scored stoppage-time penalty earn Inter 1-1 semi-final first-leg draw in Turin

AP/PTI, Reuters Turin Published 06.04.23, 05:22 AM
Romelu Lukaku gestures to the Juventus fans after scoring Inter Milan’s equaliser at Allianz Stadium in Turin on Tuesday

Romelu Lukaku gestures to the Juventus fans after scoring Inter Milan’s equaliser at Allianz Stadium in Turin on Tuesday Getty Images

Inter Milan striker Romelu Lukaku has urged Serie A to take action after he was subjected to racial abuse during Tuesday's Coppa Italia draw with Juventus, with the Turin side saying they were collaborating with police to find those responsible.

Lukaku scored a stoppage-time penalty to cancel out a late goal by Juve midfielder Juan Cuadrado and earn Inter a 1-1 semi-final first-leg draw in Turin.

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During his celebrations, the Belgian striker held his finger up to his mouth in front of Juve fans. The gesture was judged to be provocative and he was sent off after a second yellow card.

In a statement released late on Tuesday, US-based sports agency Roc Nation — which represents Lukaku — demanded Juventus apologise to the striker.

"Racist remarks made towards Romelu Lukaku by Juventus fans in Turin were beyond despicable and cannot be accepted," Roc Nation Sports International president Michael Yormark said.

Serie A organises the Coppa Italia.

Fifa president Gianni Infantino offered his support for Lukaku. "I stand with Romelu Lukaku, just as we do with any other player, coach, match official, fan or participant in a football match who has suffered from racism or any other form of discrimination," he said on Instagram on Wednesday.

France forward Kylian Mbappe offered support for Lukaku in a social media post, saying that in 2023 football struggles against "still the same problems".

Bayern bow out

Freiburg stunned favourites Bayern Munich 2-1 in their German Cup quarter final on Tuesday thanks to a second-half stoppage-time penalty from Lucas Hoeler.

In a shock defeat for Bayern, in coach Thomas Tuchel's second game in charge, Hoeler sent keeper Yann Sommer the wrong way to book their spot in the last-four.

"I am not really angry. We conceded two goals with two shots," Tuchel said after his team missed out on the first trophy of the season.

"The last pass, precision obviously, are all an issue. But still we had good moments, but just could not keep it up."

"We are very disappointed (to lose) a quarter final at home. Of course, I am responsible."

Osasuna in final

Osasuna pulled off yet another Copa del Rey upset by eliminating Athletic Bilbao in extra-time to reach the final for the first time in nearly two decades. Late substitute Pablo Ibanez scored with a volley from the edge of the area on a breakaway in the 116th minute on Tuesday to secure a 2-1 aggregate win.

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