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Lazio hit with racism punishment

Lazio have been punished for racial chanting from their fans during the Supercoppa defeat to Juventus on Sunday night by having part of the Stadio Olimpico closed for their Serie A opener against Udinese.

• Rzouki: Lazio demolished

The Lega Calcio has applied new powers which came into force this season to close the Curva Nord of the Olimpico next Sunday after several Juve players were the target of discriminatory remarks emanating from that part of the stadium, where the Biancoceleste’s most fanatic supporters are located.

The incidents took place “from the 16th to the 28th minute of the first half, and continuously from the 20th to the 43rd minute of the second half”, according to a Lega Calcio disciplinary report.

They took the form of “chants and shouts of a racially discriminatory nature towards three footballers of the opponents’ team”, the report added.

Paul Pogba, one of the victims along with Kwadwo Asamoah and Angelo Ogbonna, quite clearly heard the chants and monkey noises, but chose not to react.

“We expected it, they’re just ignorant people,” he told Frances’ AFP agency. “What could I do? I was alone against 30,000 spectators. They do it even though there are black players in their team, which is a lack of respect towards their own players.

“To come to a football game and hear such things is really horrible, but I just play. I’m focused on doing my job.”

Juventus won the game 4-0 with Pogba scoring the opening goal, providing the Frenchman with something positive to remember the match for, in spite of the barracking.

“It’s been bothering me [not scoring] since the goal I scored against Siena [on February 24],” the 20-year-old said. “Maybe I’d lost my eye for goal a little. I had plenty of shots last year without scoring, but you mustn’t ever get disheartened.”

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