Quick links

Serie A

Napoli fans wear masks of Kalidou Koulibaly in protest against racism

Napoli fans expressed a show of solidarity with Kalidou Koulibaly on Sunday, wearing masks depicting the defender, after the Senegalese 24-year-old was racially abused by Lazio fans on Wednesday.

The mid-week match at the Olympic Stadium in Rome was suspended for around three minutes after repeated booing by the Lazio fans whenever Koulibaly touched the ball. Napoli would go on to win the game 2-0 to extend their stay at the top of Serie A, but Lazio were subsequently fined €50,000 (£38,250) and a stadium ban for their supporters for the next two home league matches.

Napoli fans responded on Sunday, prior to their team’s match with Carpi, with thousands of masks distributed by the supporters’ group Quelli del Sangue Azzurro on show at the Stadio San Paolo.

“Everyone in Naples is offended by what happened to our young star. Because of this, we want to show our full support to Koulibaly” read a statement from the group, who also displayed banners with further messages of support for the former Genk player, who signed for Napoli in 2014.

Koulibaly had previously thanked those who had supported him on Wednesday in a post on social media. “I thank my team-mates, the public and our fans, who have been a great support against these ugly chants. I want to thank everyone for the messages of solidarity which I have received,” he wrote on Thursday.

Koulibaly started Sunday’s match in defence as Napoli went on to win 1-0, their eighth consecutive league win, after Gonzalo Higuaín scored his 24th league goal of the season. Napoli remain two points clear at the top, after second-placed Juventus won 2-0 at Frosinone.

Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article was written by Michael Butler, for theguardian.com on Sunday 7th February 2016 15.56 Europe/Londonguardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010


FIFA World Cup 2018FIFA 2018 World Cup Russia - click here for all of our coverage...

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch