Milan: Lazio were embroiled in controversy on Saturday after racist and anti-Semitic chanting which scarred a Coppa Italia tie was dismissed by the club as a “psychosis focusing on a minority or non-existent incidents”.
Lazio crushed third division Novara 4-1 in their last-16 game at Rome’s Stadio Olimpico.
However, their hardcore ultra fans aimed a series of ugly barbs at the club’s bitter city rivals AS Roma, with taunts of “Yellow, red and Jewish” and “This Roma that looks like Africa”.
They also targeted police who clashed with Lazio fans on Wednesday at Piazza della Liberta in the capital when celebrations to mark the club’s 119th anniversary turned violent. Eight police were injured and four supporters arrested.
Lazio spokesman Arturo Diaconale blasted reports of the chanting by a small section of the crowd as “a psychosis”.
“I am one of the 98 per cent of people in the stadium who didn’t hear them,” he said.
“The club naturally condemns any racist or anti-Semitic chants . I think it’s a form of psychosis focusing on either a minority or non-existent incidents.”
On the pitch, Ciro Immobile scored a first half double, after Luis Alberto’s 12th-minute opener with Sergej Milinkovic-Savic claiming the fourth before the break.
Umberto Eusepi pulled a goal back for Novara, a third division side based 50km west of Milan, from the penalty spot just after the break.
Lazio, who won the last of their six Coppa Italia trophies in 2013, will next play either Inter Milan or Benevento in the quarter-finals.
In Genoa, AC Milan progressed to the quarter-finals with a 2-0 extra-time win over Samprdoria.
Meanwhile, Real Valladolid held host Valencia to 1-1 draw in a La Liga contest at the Mestalla stadium. Spanish midfielder Daniel Parejo opened the scoring for Valencia at minute 70, while his countryman Ruben Alcaraz put Valladolid on equal terms at 81st minute.