ROME - Mourning for the victims of Monday's earthquake in the Italian region of Abruzzo did not stop tempers flaring in Serie A's first day since the disaster on Saturday. Cagliari said one of their players was hit in the tunnel after their 2-1 defeat at Fiorentina, while the derby between AS Roma and Lazio was marred by incidents inside and outside the stadium. "We have a player, (Diego) Lopez, who is hurt so he must have taken a punch from someone," Cagliari boss Massimiliano Allegri was quoted as saying by the ANSA news agency. "There was a bit of commotion in the tunnel and it seems like there was an attack." Three players were sent off in the second half of the Rome derby, which Lazio won 4-2, while Roma coach Luciano Spalletti and Lazio team manager Igli Tare were also red-carded because of a heated exchange at halftime. Spalletti, who was angry about the opening goal coming from a corner wrongly awarded to Lazio and a turned-down penalty shout, and Tare continued the row on television after the game. Police used tear gas to separate fans of the rival Roman teams while one supporter suffered minor injuries in a clash after the game, newspaper La Gazzetta dello Sport reported on its website (www.gazzetta.it). There had been calls in the media for Serie A to be on its best behaviour as a mark of respect following the earthquake and the day started positively in this regard. A minute's silence was observed at the start of the games, with the receipts from some going to disaster funds, the players wore black armbands and there were messages of solidarity at the grounds. Several footballers and coaches said this week that it would have been better to have postponed this weekend's Serie A programme. The Serie B matches due to be played on Friday, when a mass state funeral was held on a national day of mourning, were postponed.
11 April 2009
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