Arsenal are through to the quarter-final stage of this seasons NextGen Series after beating reigning champions Inter Milan in Italy to book a date with the impressive CSKA Moscow side in the last-eight.
Arsenal are joining fellow English representatives Chelsea, Tottenham and Aston Villa in the next stage meaning there is every possibility of an all-English semi-final and final campaign; the games of which will be staged by Calcio Como in Italy by the magnificent Lake Como.
Arsenal had a tremendously tough task on their hands to overcome their Italian rivals simply considering the talent of their opposition but the environment was also not conducive to a stellar performance. Heavy rain had turned the pitch into a bog and if you don’t believe me check out the picture below courtesy of former Gunner Jay-Emmanuel Thomas ….
However the atmosphere would also be distracting; as mooted reports are starting to emerge that the game was also marred by some racist chanting from Inter Milan fans.
@isaachayden65 Well done mate. Superb. Especially after hearing that rubbish from the stands. Top work.— PJ (@PJJAFC) March 6, 2013
More racist chanting from Inter fans in the U19 Champions League game against Arsenal. 2nd time this week fans in Inter have done this— Sean Harkness (@sharkness4) March 6, 2013
So Italian were shouting racism at the NextGen match earlier... what a bunch of scum.— 1886 (@csmithafc) March 6, 2013
Inter Milan's supporter did racism screaming when Arsenal u19 were playing against them. #KickRacismFromFootball— Arsenal Corner™ (@Arse_Cor) March 7, 2013
The impassioned reaction of Chuba Akpom, just one of a handful of black players in the Arsenal team, at the final whistle may very well have been in reaction to such abhorrent behaviour.
So far there has been no official comment from either club or the NextGen organisers themselves but while it should clearly be pointed out and stamped out it should not detract from an excellent performance by Arsenal’s Young Gunners.
It is not the first time in recent weeks Inter Milan have found themselves in trouble for racist chanting. Such behaviour aimed at former Manchester City striker Mario Balotelli has resulted in a paltry fine from Italian officials.
Considering the sketchy arrangement between the tournament and UEFA it is not known if the European football governing body can actually hand down any sanctions to Inter if the abuse is proven.
image: © nextgenphoto