Lazio cement fifth place in 'no racism' shirts
MILAN, Italy (AFP) –
Lazio continued efforts to distance themselves from their right wing fan base by wearing ‘No Racism’ shirts during a dominant 3-0 win over Udinese on Tuesday.
Uruguayan midfielder Gonzalez and Miroslav Klose struck in the first-half to put Vladimir Petkovic’s side well on the road to an eighth win of their Serie A campaign.
Brazilian substitute Hernanes then added a third just before the hour to virtually seal the win for the Biancocelesti, who remain fifth but now have 26 points, three more than city rivals Roma and six adrift of leaders Juventus.
With Udinese languishing in the bottom half of the table, much of the build-up to this match focused on efforts by Lazio to send a firm message to fans that racism and violence will not be tolerated.
The club was fined by football’s European ruling body earlier this season for racist chanting during a Europa League game at Tottenham, the London club known for its close association with the Jewish community.
But the club’s reputation for harbouring right wing elements came under far more intense scrutiny last week when 10 Spurs fans were attacked by up to 40 thugs at a bar in Rome prior to the return Europa League game.
It later emerged that two of the men arrested by police in connection with the assault have known links with AS Roma. Both have been charged with attempted murder after Tottenham fan Ashley Mills was left with stab wounds in the head and leg.
The incidents shocked Lazio president Claudio Lotito, who visited one unnamed Tottenham fan in hospital Tuesday to show his support and express his sympathies.
“I wanted to express my respect for someone who risked his life to come and see a football match,” Lotito told Sky Italia Tuesday.
He added: “I want to affirm that this club is against racism, and so are our supporters. They do not want to be associated with this attack, which had absolutely nothing to do with sport. It was criminal.
“I hope the jersey illustrates how we feel about this issue.”
Germany striker Klose now has eight league goals after 14 games, two short of leading scorer Stephan El Shaarawy of AC Milan.