‘They called me a f****** m**key’ – Koulibaly calls out racist abuse

Napoli defender Kalidou Koulibaly has called on any Fiorentina fans who hurled racist abuse at him in the 2-1 Serie A win on Sunday to be banned from stadiums for life.

The Senegal captain says he was called a “f****** m**key” by a section of Viola supporters, an incident which is said to have angered Fiorentina director general Joe Barone so much that he personally went to the dressing room to apologise.

Posting on social media, Koulibaly said “these subjects have nothing to do with sport. They must be identified and kept out of the stadiums: forever. #NoToRacism.”

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Koulibaly also received support from his team-mates, with Victor Osimhen posting: “Speak to your kids, your parents, make them understand how disgusting it is to hate an individual because of the colour of their skin.”

Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa, who is on loan at Napoli from Fulham, hinted that he may also have been subjected to abuse from the Fiorentina stands.

On Instagram, he said “It’s sad to see that in 2021 there are still people who can do this!

“For my part you can insult me and call me a monkey it will not affect the man that I am because I know who I am, I know where I come from, I am a Black man, I am proud to be and that will never change.

“No to racism.”

Last month, AC Milan began legal proceedings after racist abuse was aimed at Tiemoue Bakayoko in their game with Lazio, but it is unclear at this stage whether Napoli will take a similar approach.

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Europa League: Kamara sent off in Rangers loss, Abraham scores in Roma win

Rangers had Glen Kamara sent off as they were beaten 1-0 by Sparta Prague in Europa League Group A.

David Hancko´s first-half effort was enough to condemn Steven Gerrard´s men to a second consecutive defeat in the competition, leaving them four points adrift of the knockout spots and in desperate need of a win against Brondby next time out.

They will be without Kamara in the next round too after the midfielder was sent off for two bookable offences. Kamara’s every touch had been booed too after he was racially abused by a player from Sparta’s city rivals Slavia last season.

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Ahead of their next match, Rangers will look to learn a lesson from Lyon who made short work of Brondby in the other Group A match on Thursday evening, winning 3-0 thanks to a brace from Karl Toko Ekambi and a goal from Houssem Aouar.

Napoli were stunned by Spartak Moscow leaving all to play for in Group B.

Elif Elmas put the Serie A side inside a minute, but Mario Rui´s first-half red card put the hosts on the backfoot.

Spartak Moscow made their numerical advantage count when Quincy Promes equalised 10 minutes into the second half. Mikhail Ignatov´s effort then gave visitors an unlikely lead before Promes doubled his tally in stoppage-time. Napoli pulled one back in the dying moments, but Spartak Moscow left Italy with a shock victory.

Leicester face a battle to qualify from Group B after a 1-0 defeat to Polish side Legia Warsaw.

The result leaves Leicester with just a point and bottom in the group alongside Napoli, with Legia top on six points.

Tammy Abraham and Chris Smalling both scored for Roma as they beat Zorya 3-0 to make it two wins from two in Group C.

In the pick of the round, Real Sociedad were held to a 1-1 draw by AS Monaco in Spain, the former holding on to second place as PSV Eindhoven head up the group on goal difference after thrashing Sturm Graz 4-1.

Olympiakos made it two wins from two, beating Turkish outfit Fenerbahce 3-0 away from home. Elsewhere in Group D, Gponcalo Pacienda´s late penalty saw Eintracht Frankfurt steal a 1-0 win over Antwerp.

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Tammy Abraham and Roma are rolling – The Warm-Up

FRIDAY’S BIG STORIES

The Mighty Tammys

Settling down to watch Roma against Udinese, we had an important realisation. Almost a revelation. The sight of Tammy Abraham singing along to Roma’s pre-game anthem sparked something, and we realised just what is going on in Rome this season.

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Abraham, and the excellent start to his time in Rome. José Mourinho, and the fact that Roma are winning and playing well. We’re in the early stages of every single Disney sports story. And also that film about drumming.

There’s Mourinho, the grumpy old man that used to be something, but has long since retreated into his own misanthropy. And along comes Abraham, a gift of the universe, a thrilling and chirpy youngster whose excellence will drag the bitter old man back into the sunshine, and remind him how it feels to win.

Saying that, it’s always seemed a bit odd that the old man is the star of these stories. Sad bloke becomes a bit happier: a fine story, as far as it goes, but it doesn’t really compete with scoring goals. Or drumming. Of course, an awful lot of football coverage falls into this same trap, of focusing on the mysterious figure in the dugout over those working away on the pitch. Football as Great Man(ager) Psychodrama.

Anyway, The Tammy Abraham Story continued against Udinese, as he scored the only goal of the game. His second for the club, his first at the Stadio Olimpico, and a pretty good one as well. A striker’s goal: smart adjustment in the six-yard box to tap home a sharp cross. And Roma held on, just about, despite a late red card and a few good chances for the visitors.

That bumps Roma back up into the top four, just three points off Napoli at the top. The late red may prove important, though: captain Lorenzo Pellegrini, who has started the season in tremendous form, will miss the weekend’s game. Which is [checks fixture list] against Lazio. Oh.

If we’re following the Disney arc, Abraham will score the winner on Sunday, then produce another month or so of excellent performances. You will experience those as a montage, with some suitably boisterous backing music. Then, at some point in November, he and Mourinho will have a blazing row and everything will threaten to fall apart. And then …

Well, let’s wait and see. If Disney are in charge, then Christmas will bring a big dance number, talking wolves and glorious reconciliation. If, on the other hand, we’re all still stuck in The José Mourinho Story, then things will get worse and then worse again, and Abraham will have a new manager by springtime. Either way, keep your popcorn handy. Drum solo!

Wenger Speaks!

This two-year men’s World Cup plan, then. Arsène Wenger’s disruptive baby. FIFA like it, UEFA hate it, and FIFA’s own market research provided mixed results: a slim majority in favour of a World Cup every one, two or three years, but the most popular option across all age groups being the existing four-year cycle. Statistics, it’s a game of opinions.

But to give Wenger his context, that particular proposal — which came from Saudi Arabia, not Wenger — comes as part of a more general reorganisation of international football. He’s been talking to the BBC about his overall plan, and there’s some interesting and not immediately horrible stuff in there.

For a start, he’s going to war with international breaks. Wenger’s plan is for international football to happen in just one or two months a season: October or, if required, October and March. Fewer qualifiers, all fitting into that. His contention is that this will reduce disruption to the club season and ensure that the clubs — who pay players — have their players for longer, uninterrupted periods. That strange sound you can hear is Pep Guardiola, applauding and whooping.

This would of course be hugely disruptive to the rhythms of international football as we know and tolerate them today, but it certainly isn’t overtly evil. Likewise the suggestion that all international competitions should come with a 25-day mandatory break afterwards. That’s 25 days before players go back to training. Almost a month of enforced Dubai sunlounger time!

But there’s a strange tension at the heart of the project. Like them or hate them, those two suggestions at least purport to solve widely recognised problems: clubs releasing players, interrupted seasons, player welfare. But neither of these ideas necessitate a two-year cycle for World Cups. And when the BBC ask about that, Wenger says, essentially, “If we don’t put a competition in there, somebody else will.”

That pivot, from something notionally welfare-based to something overtly opportunistic, rather sours the whole package. A land grab with a cherry on top is still a land grab, and there’s gold in that there summer. That solves a problem too, of course, assuming you think “FIFA only makes money from World Cups” is a problem that needs solving. Never been high up the Warm-Up’s list of priorities.

Wenger seems confident that the women’s game won’t suffer, and that the men’s World Cup — one of humanity’s greatest creations — is just too good a thing to be diluted. And maybe he’s right. But the prospect of a 48-team World Cup every two years makes us so tired that we can’t … even really … get to the end of the … sentenzzzzz.

IN OTHER NEWS

Just a pity the clip isn’t long enough. We’ll never know if Courtney Cox climbed out of the crowd to dance with Ally.

RETRO CORNER

We only noticed this after picking out the clip above, but today is Ally McCoist’s birthday. A happy coincidence, and happy birthday to our finest co-commentator. To celebrate, here is Bruce Springsteen scoring five well-taken goals for Scotland. (Not really. Sorry.)

HAT TIP

The marriage of Jorge Sampaoli — twitchy, intense, always ready to shout at somebody — and Marseille — more or less the same — seemed, in theory, to be a perfect match. And isn’t it nice when things work out? Here’s Adam White over at the Guardian looking at OM’s excellent start to the season.

Sampaoli has based his success this season on a gung-ho outlook. It is working, with four wins and two draws from Marseille’s first six games. Their asymmetrical setup falls somewhere between Bielsa’s preferred 3-3-1-3 and Hungary’s 2-3-3-2 formation from the 1950s, with Dimitri Payet playing Nándor Hidegktui’s withdrawn striker role, albeit with a holding midfielder dropping in at right-back when needed. This seemingly unwieldy team has worked perfectly so far this season.

COMING UP

Greuther Furth host Bayern Munich in the Bundesliga, while West Brom welcome QPR in the Championship and Gil Vicente face off against Porto in the Primeira Liga. Something for everybody.

Tom Adams has based his Warm-Up success on a gung-ho outlook, and he’ll be here on Monday to shock and amaze you.

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Osimhen brace sends Napoli top after win at Sampdoria

Napoli cruised to a 4-0 win at Sampdoria to go top of Serie A on Thursday evening.

The scoring was opened by 21-year-old Nigerian striker Victor Osimhen, a 2020 signing from Ligue 1 side Lille, after 10 minutes.

Napoli doubled their lead shortly before the whistle went for the end of the first half, and Osimhen needed just five minutes to grab his second.

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Piotr Zielinski then made it four with a fizzing half-volley inside the area just before the hour for an easy win over Sampdoria, who ended the game in thirteenth place.

Napoli made it five wins out of five, moving them two points clear of last year’s champions Inter Milan.

In the day’s other game, Lazio drew 1-1 away to Torino, with Lazio in seventh and Torino in ninth.

Europa League

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Rodgers says it would be a 'crime' if Leicester players dont 'learn' from Napoli draw

Brendan Rodgers feels his Leicester side will learn from letting a two-goal lead slip against Napoli in the Europa League.

The Foxes made a fine start to their European campaign and were in control when Harvey Barnes netted on 64 minutes to add to Ayoze Perez’s early opener.

However, Napoli fought back superbly at the King Power Stadium – and two goals from Victor Osimhen earned the Serie A side a point.

Europa League

Leicester denied as Osimhen double salvages point for Napoli

4 HOURS AGO

Rodgers felt there were positives to take from the performance, and wants his side to learn the lessons of throwing away a lead.

“Disappointed with the end result, especially after we were 2-0 up,” Foxes boss Rodgers told BT Sport. “There were lots of exciting moments in the game. The two goals were outstanding.”

Rodgers felt match-sharpness played a part as his side fatigued as the contest progressed.

“I think we tired a little bit,” Rodgers said. “There were some players getting minutes into their legs.

“There are things for us to improve on at this level against top teams and one is keeping the ball better.

If we can keep the ball more for longer periods then you won’t tire so quickly.

“The effort and mentality was very good. It is a shame we could not close it out.

“There were so many good parts.

“The crime is not giving away the two goals, the crime is if you don’t learn. It is something I am sure this young team will do is learn.

“It was a great football game to watch and a game that we can learn from.”

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Leicester City v Napoli – Follow LIVE

Follow the Europa League live Football match between Leicester City and Napoli with Eurosport. The match starts at 21:00 on 16 September 2021.

Catch the latest Leicester City and Napoli news and find up to date Football standings, results, top scorers and previous winners.
Football fans can find the latest Football news, interviews, expert commentary and watch free replays. See detailed profiles for Leicester City and Napoli. Catch all the upcoming competitions. Make Eurosport your go-to source for sports online from Football to cycling, F1, winter sports and more. Enjoy live streaming of this season’s top sports competitions.

Napoli v Juventus – Serie A LIVE

Follow the Serie A live Football match between Napoli and Juventus with Eurosport. The match starts at 18:00 on 11 September 2021.

Catch the latest Napoli and Juventus news and find up to date Football standings, results, top scorers and previous winners.
Football fans can find the latest Football news, interviews, expert commentary and watch free replays. See detailed profiles for Napoli and Juventus. Catch all the upcoming competitions. Make Eurosport your go-to source for sports online from Football to cycling, F1, winter sports and more. Enjoy live streaming of this season’s top sports competitions.

Napoli strike late to down Juventus

A heavily-depleted Juventus side went in front at Napoli but ultimately were beaten thanks to Kalidou Koulibaly’s finish five minutes from time.

After Napoli dominated the early play, an awful error from Konstantinos Manolas allowed Alvaro Morata an opportunity to run through on David Ospina from a tight angle and he finished stylishly to give the visitors the lead.

Napoli did not threaten greatly for the rest of the first half but came out with more purpose after the break and when Wojciech Szczesny kept out Lorenzo Insigne’s effort Matteo Politano got to the rebound and squeezed the ball home from close range.

Serie A

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It looked like the game would peter out to a draw before substitute Moises Kean mistimed a header and shouldered a ball towards his goal and though Szczesny clawed the ball away from the line the Napoli skipper turned the ball home.

The result temporarily puts Napoli top of Serie A, while Juventus, who were without Azzurristar Federico Chiesa and their glut of South American talent, have just one point from three games.

More to follow.

Transfers

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Transfers

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