27.05.2023 20:19 h

Juric racially abused at Spezia as Roma's top four hopes end

Torino coach Ivan Juric became the latest victim of racist abuse in Serie A during his team's 4-0 win at Spezia on Saturday, while Roma's top four hopes ended with a 2-1 defeat at Fiorentina.

Spezia's bid for survival was hit with Saturday's thrashing which left them at risk of falling into the drop zone, and after the match former Croatia midfielder Juric bemoaned being called 'gypsy' towards the end of the first half.

The Italian word for gypsy is often used by sections of football supporters as a racial slur for players from the Balkans and eastern Europe, regardless of their ethnicity.

Dejan Stankovic was insulted in the same way by Roma fans last month, and on Saturday the abuse was such that the match was briefly stopped by referee Marco Guida.

"We had the usual insults, after a while it really becomes unpleasant. It's not a nice thing for anyone. The referee was good and calmed things down but it's still a bad feeling. It's not OK, that's for sure," Juric told reporters.

"If that stuff happens you say 'I won't react, I won't react, leave it'. That's my idea to not cause problems but after a while it becomes really unpleasant. When the people react you have to understand because you feel really offended."

Przemyslaw Wisniewski's unfortunate own goal midway through the first half and fine finishes from Samuele Ricci, Ivan Ilic and Yann Karamoh in the final 20 minutes left Spezia a point above the bottom three.

Leonardo Semplici's side will drop into the relegation zone with one game remaining if Verona beat already-safe Empoli in Sunday's early fixture.

A straight-forward win moved Torino up to eighth and was good news for Lecce who are two points above Spezia in 16th.

Lecce are at Monza on Sunday afternoon but could start their fixture behind Verona if they beat Empoli.

A late collapse in Florence officially ended Roma's dwindling chance of reaching the Champions League via Serie A placing in a battle of teams in European finals.

With one league match left Jose Mourinho's side are four points off fourth spot, held by AC Milan who are at troubled Juventus on Sunday night, after strikes from Luka Jovic and Jonathan Ikone turned the match around in the final five minutes.

Roma lined up with a largely second-string team in preparation for the Europa League final against Sevilla on Wednesday, while ninth-placed Fiorentina have a week more to prepare for their Europa Conference League final with West Ham.

The away side had led from the 12th minute thanks to Stephan El Shaarawy's seventh Serie A goal of the season, tapped in from Ola Solbakken's knockdown.

However the only way they can now reach Europe's top club competition is by beating their Spanish opposition in Budapest midweek.

Inter Milan, who are in next month's Champions League final, can secure qualification for next season's edition as long as they don't lose to fifth-placed Atalanta at the San Siro.

Simone Inzaghi's side are third and five points ahead of Atalanta with two matches remaining.