Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : December 17th 2013 Contents A59
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18th December, 2013.
MILAN---Roma was held to a 2-
2 draw at AC Milan yesterday as
it lost more ground on Serie A
leader and reigning champion
Mattia Destro opened the scor-
ing for Roma in the 13th minute
with his second goal in as many
matches but Cristian Zapata lev-
eled on the half-hour mark.
Kevin Strootman restored
Roma s lead in the 52nd minute
from the penalty spot after sub-
stitute goalkeeper Gabriel had
needlessly fouled Gervinho.
Tensions began to fray at San
Siro and Milan coach Massimiliano
Allegri was sent to the stands,
while captain Riccardo Montolivo
was booked for dissent and will
miss Sunday s derby match against
Sulley Muntari rescued a point
for Milan 13 minutes from time.
It was the first time Roma---which
has the stingiest defense in Serie
A---had let in two goals in a match
Roma remained second but is
five points behind Juventus.
There was good news for the
capital side, however, as talismanic
captain Francesco Totti made his
long-awaited return after more
than two months out with a ham-
string injury. The forward replaced
Destro in the 64th minute.
Milan s injury woes grew.
Already without Stephan El
Shaarawy, Valter Birsa, Ignazio
Abate, Robinho, Kevin Constant,
Matias Silvestre and Marco Amelia
before kickoff, goalkeeper Cristian
Abbiati and Emanuelson had to
be replaced during the match.
Milan was celebrating its 114th
birthday and before the match the
Curva Sud unfurled a banner hon-
oring its founder Herbert Kilpin.
Allegri s side was the only Italian
team to make it through to the
knockout stage of the Champions
League but was languishing in
mid-table after just one win in its
past seven matches.
Roma had topped the table for
most of the start of the season but
had only recently got back to win-
ning ways, with a 2-1 victory over
Fiorentina snapping a run of four
The visiting side had the first
chance of the match in the seventh
minute when Gervinho cut in from
the left but his shot from a tight
angle was easily saved at the near
post by Abbiati.
Roma took the lead six minutes
later when Strootman rolled the
ball across the area for Destro to
slide in and fire home. The forward
had scored last week on his come-
back from several months out with
Kaka went close to leveling for
Milan in the 20th but his effort
flew narrowly past the right
Roma almost gifted Milan the
equaliser following a poor clearance
from Napoli goalkeeper Morgan
De Sanctis, who was surprised by
a back pass from Dodo. Emanuel-
son mazed his way into the area
but his angled drive was deflected
over the bar.
However, Muntari nodded the
resulting corner on to Zapata, who
headed it down and in over the
GENEVA---Fifa has banned Croa-
tia defender Josip Simunic for ten
games---including the entire World
Cup---for leading fans in a pro-
Nazi chant after the team qualified
for the tournament in Brazil.
Simunic invoked a World War
II-era slogan used by Croatia s
then-puppet regime following a
2-0 playoff victory against Iceland
"After taking into account all of
the circumstances of the case, and
particularly given the gravity of the
incident, the committee decided
to suspend the player for ten official
matches," Fifa said in a statement.
The incident is the latest to dis-
credit football in Croatia, after
UEFA president Michel Platini
described its fans as the worst
behaved at the 2012 European
The sanction also reflected Fifa s
commitment this year to tougher
sanctions for racism and discrim-
ination at matches.
Croatia coach Niko Kovac, a
teammate of Simunic at the 2006
World Cup, said the ban probably
ended the 35-year-old defender s
national team career.
"I m unpleasantly surprised,
shocked and disappointed by Fifa s
ban of Simunic," Kovac said. "I m
primarily sad for Simunic who will
miss the World Cup. I know him
for long as a player and a person
and I m sure he did not want to
Kovac said the Croatian football
federation would appeal to Fifa. If
that fails, a challenge at the Court
of Arbitration for Sport could fol-
Croatia hosted Iceland in Zagreb
on November 19 for a decisive
qualifying match after a 0-0 draw
in the first leg.
After the match, Simunic took
a microphone on the pitch and
shouted to supporters: "For the
homeland!" The fans responded:
Fifa said Monday that the salute
was "discriminatory and offended
the dignity of a group of persons
concerning ... race, religion or ori-
Simunic will miss the whole
World Cup tournament in Brazil
and is also barred from the stadi-
ums where Croatia will play its
next 10 games.
Simunic said he felt "bitter and
shocked," according to Damir
Vrbanovic, managing director of
Croatia s football federation
"It is clear that Fifa wanted to
send a strong message with this
draconian punishment," Vrbanovic
FIFA also fined Simunic 30,000
Swiss francs (US$33,800) and
ordered the Croatia football fed-
eration to pay a fine of 70,000
Swiss francs (US$78,700).
Simunic previously defended his
action, saying he was driven by
love for his country.
The Australia-born player
famously was sent off at the 2006
World Cup against Australia after
receiving three yellow cards.(AP)
Simunic gets 10-game ban for pro-Nazi chant
Roma held to 2-2
draw in Serie A
AC Milan defender Cristian Zapata, of Colombia, scores a goal during
the Serie A football match between AC Milan and Roma at the San Siro
stadium in Milan, Italy, yesterday. The match ended tied 2-2. AP PHOTO
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