Racist abuse on Samuel Umtiti exits the ground with tears. In Lecce’s 2-1 victory over Lazio on Wednesday, the Barcelona player Samuel Umtiti endured horrendous racial taunts (January 4). Lecce defeated Maurizio Sarri’s team at the Stadio Via del Mare, advancing them to 12th place in the 2022–23 Serie A standings. Ciro Immobile scored the game’s first goal in the first half, but after the interval, Gabriel Strefezza and Lorenzo Colombo each scored to lead their team to a comeback victory.
However, the game was tainted by Umtiti and Lameck Banda of Lecce being racially disparaged by some of Lazio’s visiting fans. The match’s winner, who was subjected to cruel taunts as the home fans yelled his name, sobbed as he left the field. Following the game’s end, Lecce tweeted: “Songs of encouragement have drowned out racist chants! One name was shouted by all of the Lecce supporters: Umtiti.”
Lecce president Saverio Sticchi Damiani claimed during a post-game interview that Umtiti asked for the game to resume after it was stopped due to the yelling of the visiting fans. He stated: “As I do with all of his Lecce teammates, I gave Samuel a hug. I always want to say hello to the players and the staff after each game, regardless of the outcome. Umtiti asked for the game to restart after the referee halted play while waiting for the announcer to order an end to the racist shouts because he wanted to address the abuse he had been subjected to on the field. He responded as a great champion would.”
Earlier this summer, 29-year-old Umtiti moved to the Salentini on a season-long loan from Barcelona. He has played in 423 minutes of action over six outings since joining the Serie A team. The France international, a left-footed centre back gifted with strength and tackling, has so far assisted Barcelona in winning seven trophies. He has scored twice while playing in 133 games for the Catalan giants to far.
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