MILAN: Celebrations raised the temperature to boiling point in European league football over the weekend in both Greece and Italy.
In Greece AEK Athens midfielder Giorgos Katidis has been suspended indefinitely from the national team after appearing to give a Nazi salute to celebrate his winning goal in a 2-1 victory over struggling Veria.
The ex-under-19 captain came in for heavy social media criticism from fans. He replied, via Twitter: “I am not a fascist and would not have done it if I had known what it meant.”
In Italy Juventus coach Antonio Conte caused celebratory controversy of his own after the Serie A leaders’ 2-0 win at Bologna. Conte waved his arms and shouted: “Come on then!” to the crowd after having insults hurled at him during the game.
Bologna coach Stefano Pioli deemed Conte’s behaviour provocative and was unimpressed. He said: “I thought Conti’s celebrations were a bit exaggerated because they weren’t aimed only at his own fans but also ours. I told him that and it ended there without any problems.”
Conte responded in a post-match interview by asking why there was not more focus on hooligans instead of his actions.
He said: “If I can’t celebrate with my fans after a win that is a fundamental stepping stone towards our title objectives then tell me what I can do?”
“Why don’t we focus on the people throwing stones, or people with children swearing at me. Why don’t we show them? I’m not ashamed to celebrate, I celebrate now and in the future I’ll celebrate when I want with my own fans.”
Juve’s win, thanks to second-half goals from Mirko Vucinic and Claudio Marchisio, put them 12 points clear of second-placed Napoli.
Lyon slip again
In France Wahbi Khazri scored one goal and created two as Lyon suffered another blow in the French title race with a 4-1 defeat at struggling Bastia. The Tunisia midfielder set up Florian Thauvin for the opener on halftime then put in Anthony Modeste in the 56th after Lisandro Lopez had levelled two minutes earlier.
Thauvin scored his second just after the hour following a fine team move and Khazri found the top corner wrapped it up with three minutes left.
In Holland PSV Eindhoven regained the leadership after goals from Dries Mertens and Georginio Wijnaldum earned a 2-0 home win over neighbours RKC Waalwijk.
Vitesse Arnhem remained third after a 4-0 thrashing of ADO Den Haag in which the league’s top scorer, Ivorian Wilfried Bony, took his season’s tally to 26 with a first-half double. Bony also set up Marco van Ginkel’s goal 10 minutes into the second half before Mike Havenaar sealed the win.
In Spain Real Madrid struck three times early in the second half to hit back from 2-1 down to beat relegation-threatenedMallorca5-2. Cristiano Ronaldo, Luka Modric, Gonzalo Higuain (two) and substitute Karim Benzema scored the goals as coach Jose Mourinho’s side secured a seventh successive victory in all competitions.
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