Inter Milan’s Romelu Lukaku was subjected to racist abuse as he scored a second-half penalty to earn his side a 2-1 victory at Cagliari in Italy‘s Serie A.
The 26-year-old Belgian striker appeared to be the target of “monkey” chants from the home crowd at the Sardegna Arena as he prepared to take the decisive kick on Sunday.
Lukaku sent goalkeeper Robin Olsen the wrong way with 20 minutes remaining to mark his second goal in as many matches for his new club. The former Manchester United striker turned to glare at the home fans responsible for the taunts.
It was the second racist incident at the Sardegna Arena this year.
Inter coach Antonio Conte called for respect at the post-match news conference.
“I need to be honest with you. I was so focused in the game, so I did not listen [to] any chants against Lukaku,” he said on Sunday.
“However, as it happened so many other times, I think in Italy we need to improve a lot. We need to have more education and to have more respect with the people who are working,” he added.
“In other countries you support the team, you don’t insult the opposition like this. There must be the maximum respect.”
Former Juventus forward Moise Kean, who now plays for United Kingdom’s Everton, was also on the receiving end of racial abuse by Cagliari fans at the same stadium last season.
The 19-year-old was also subjected to racist “monkey” chants in April as he scored in Cagliari for his former team. Serie A did not take action over the incident, saying the “certainly reprehensible” chants had “limited” relevance.
Juventus midfielder Blaise Matuidi also reported racist abuse from Cagliari fans in 2018, but Serie A said it could not take action because the referee and match observers did not hear it.
On Saturday, Inter Milan fans and observers called for action after the latest incident.
“After racially abusing Moise Keana and Matuidi the last two seasons, Lukaku is the newest victim of … racist fans in Cagliari,” said Twitter user Hash. Serie A “must act”, he said. Elliot Hackney, another Twitter user, said the racist chants were an “absolute disgrace”.
After racially abusing Moise Keana and Matuidi the last two seasons, Lukaku is the newest victim of the scum racist fans in Cagliari. @SerieA must act!
— hash (@hashim0307) September 1, 2019
Melissa Reddy, sports journalist, said: “Action, PLEASE.”
Cagliari. Again 😡
And not just them
2017: No punishment for racist chanting at Muntari – "couldn’t really be heard"
2018: "No sanction can be brought" for abuse of Matuidi
May: Monkey chants at Kean -"limited relevance to race"
— Melissa Reddy (@MelissaReddy_) September 2, 2019
James Benge called the chants at Sardegna Arena “disgusting” and added: “Cagliari shouldn’t have any fans in there again this season.”
A few months after Serie A opted not to punish Cagliari for their fans’ racist abuse of Moise Kean they’re doing it again with Romelu Lukaku. The sounds coming from that stadium are disgusting. Cagliari shouldn’t have any fans in there again this season.
— James Benge (@jamesbenge) September 1, 2019
Inter lead Serie A after two rounds on six points along with Torino and latest champions Juventus, while Cagliari have yet to pick up a point.