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Bad tempers mar post-quake matches

MOURNING for the victims of last Monday's earthquake in the Italian region of Abruzzo did not stop tempers flaring in Serie A's first day since the disaster on Saturday.

Cagliari said one of its players was hit in the tunnel after its 1-2 defeat at Fiorentina, while the derby between AS Roma and Lazio was marred by incidents inside and outside the stadium.

"We have a player, (Diego) Lopez, who is hurt so he must have taken a punch from someone," Cagliari boss Massimiliano Allegri was quoted as saying by the ANSA news agency.

"There was a bit of commotion in the tunnel and it seems like there was an attack."

Three players were sent off in the second half of the Rome derby, which Lazio won 4-2, while Roma coach Luciano Spalletti and Lazio team manager Igli Tare were also red-carded because of a heated exchange at halftime.

Spalletti, who was angry about the opening goal coming from a corner wrongly awarded to Lazio and a turned-down penalty shout, and Tare continued the row on television after the game.

Police used teargas to separate fans of the rival Roman teams while one supporter suffered minor injuries in a clash after the game, newspaper La Gazzetta dello Sport reported.

There had been calls in the media for Serie A to be on its best behavior as a mark of respect following the earthquake and the day started positively in this regard. A minute's silence was observed at the start of the games, with the receipts from some going to disaster funds, the players wore black armbands and there were messages of solidarity at the grounds.

On the pitch, Inter Milan squandered a two-goal lead to draw 2-2 with Palermo but still extended its Serie A lead over Juventus, which lost 2-3 at Genoa.

Mario Balotelli and Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored for Inter in the first half before Palermo fought back after the break, with Edinson Cavani and Davide Succi scoring within three minutes of each other to salvage a point.

Inter now has 73 points, Juventus 63, AC Milan is third with 61 and Genoa fourth on 57 points.

Elsewhere, it was; Bologna 1, Siena 4; Chievo Verona 0, AC Milan 1; Lecce 1, Sampdoria 3; Napoli 0, Atalanta 0; and Torino 2, Catania 1.


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