Juventus secured a vital 2-0 away win against Atalanta on Sunday, which saw them move up to second place in the Serie A table, just two points behind leaders Inter Milan. However, the match was marred by racial abuse directed at Juventus’ Dusan Vlahovic by a section of the Atalanta fans. The Serbian striker was insulted with a slur often used against players from the Balkans and Eastern Europe. Referee Daniele Doveri briefly stopped the game before play resumed. Vlahovic later scored Juve’s second goal and celebrated by gesturing toward the fans who had abused him.
Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri condemned the racist abuse and called for action to be taken against those responsible. He suggested that fans who engage in such behavior should be ignored, while those in charge should take action against them.
The victory over Atalanta has put Juve in a strong position to qualify for the Champions League next season. They are five points ahead of AC Milan in fifth place and have a good chance of securing a top-four finish. However, their hopes of qualifying through league placing may be affected by an Italian Football Federation (FIGC) ruling on alleged illicit transfer activity. The club can also qualify for the Champions League by winning the Europa League, with their semi-final first leg against Sevilla coming up on Thursday.
Atalanta’s defeat has dented their chances of making the top four. They are currently five points behind fourth-placed Inter and occupy the Europa Conference League spot. Manager Gian Piero Gasperini tried to play down the abuse Vlahovic received from his team’s fans, stating that a distinction needed to be made between insults aimed at an individual and general racist abuse.
Meanwhile, Napoli celebrated their first Scudetto in 31 years in midweek and played their first home game since winning the title on Sunday against Fiorentina. Fans let off fireworks and flares around the Diego Maradona stadium to mark the occasion.