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Koulibaly lauds referee Irrati for halting Lazio-Napoli game

Napoli defender Kalidou Koulibaly hailed the bravery of referee Massimiliano Irrati for suspending the Serie A clash at Lazio on Wednesday because of racist chanting.

Senegal centre-half Koulibaly was the subject of boos, whistles and discriminatory songs from a section of Lazio supporters, prompting Irrati to halt the game in the second half for approximately five minutes while a message appealing for order was read out over the public address system.

Although the jeers continued once play resumed at the Stadio Olimpico, the game was completed with Napoli easing to a 2-0 win to maintain their two-point lead over Juventus at the top of the table.

Koulibaly wrote on Instagram: "I want to thank all the people who sent me messages this evening.

"Above all, I want to thank the Lazio players and the referee, Mr Irrati, he's a brave man. And all the people from Napoli who stood by me against these chants. Go on and forza Napoli."

Although the Lega Calcio have yet to make an announcement, Lazio can expect a hefty sanction - likely to be a fine and a two-game closure of the Curva Nord where the club's ultras congregate - as it is not the first incident of this nature.

In February 2015, M'Baye Niang and Edenilson were victims of racist chanting at the Olimpico while playing for Genoa.