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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Apr, 9, 2006

Inter Milan players attacked by fans at airport

MILAN, Italy -- A group of Inter Milan fans, angered by the team's unexpected elimination from the Champions League, attacked the players when they returned from an Italian league victory.

Fans at Malpensa airport shouted insults as the players arrived overnight, police said. In a parking lot outside the terminal, some masked fans turned violent, leaving midfielder Cristiano Zanetti with a bruise on his head.

Two police officers were injured when they tried to defend the Inter players. Police officials said they were investigating.

Inter won 2-1 at Ascoli on Saturday to keep alive its hopes of clinching second place in Serie A and automatic qualification for next season's Champions League. Players already received a rough welcome by fans at the airport earlier in the week following Tuesday's elimination from the Champions quarterfinals by Villarreal.

"We can't accept that the disappointment can turn into violence. ... We can't tolerate what happened at Malpensa airport," Inter president Giacinto Facchetti said.

Inter, despite fielding teams of top players, has not won a Serie A title since 1989.

In a sign of solidarity with Inter players, AC Milan began Sunday's game against Chievo Verona 10 minutes late.

AS Roma coach Luciano Spalletti called the fans' conduct "a cowardly attack."

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