The atmosphere grew ugly ahead of Wednesday night’s Coppa Italia semi-final second leg in Milan

Some supporters of Lazio hung a banner honouring Benito Mussolini and chanted racial abuse at AC Milan’s Tiemoue Bakayoko ahead of Wednesday night’s Coppa Italia match. 

The two teams met at San Siro for the second leg of their cup semi-final, and the atmosphere turned ugly in Milan prior to kick-off. 

A group of Lazio ultras unveiled a banner that read “Honour to Benito Mussolini” and performed fascist salutes near the Piazzale Loreto, the Milan square where the fascist dictator was executed in 1945. 

The displays took place just one day before an Italian national holiday in which the country celebrates the end of Nazi-fascism.

Matteo Salvini, the deputy prime minister of Italy released a statement on Twitter saying: “No tolerance for any form of violence, whether physical or verbal. I thank the police force who are carefully monitoring the situation.

“Football must be an occasion to celebrate and meet up, not of brawls and clashes.”

But the ugly scenes would continue ahead of the match, with Lazio fans engaging in racist chants aimed at Bakayoko outside the gates of the San Siro. 

Those chants would continue while players were warming up inside the ground, where several inflatable bananas were spotted as well. 

Milan fans inside the stadium responded to the chants with songs of their own in support of Bakayoko. 

After the game, which Lazio won 1-0, the club condemned the behaviour of some of its supporters, but also hit out at the media for lumping a “few” in with the rest of the team’s supporters. 

“SS Lazio clearly distances itself from behaviours and demonstrations that do not reflect in any way the values ​​of sport as sustained and promoted by the club for 119 years,” said the statement.

“And it rejects and disputes the simplistic tendency of some media to consider the entire Lazio supporter base jointly responsible for acts carried out by a few, for reasons that have nothing to do with sporting passion.

“The club has always fought for respect for the law and correct conduct.”

The incidents in Milan come just one week after Lazio supporters were filmed chanting racist abuse at Bakayoko during Lazio’s 2-0 win over Udinese at the Stadio Olimpico.

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