Another unnecessary act of racism was at the centre of Roma’s Europa League encounter with Feyenoord in Rotterdam on Thursday night, as an inflatable banana was thrown onto the pitch during the match.
The last-32 match at the De Kuip Stadium was stopped in the 38th minute following the inflatable banana being thrown and landing near Ivorian talent Gervinho.
French referee Clement Turpin reacted to the incident by halting the game and discussing the incident with the former Arsenal player, as well as the two club coaches involved in the match. The game was later restarted, and Roma went on to win the tie.
The Italian side came into the match with a 1-1 aggregate score from the first leg, and thanks to a winning goal from Cote D’Ivoire star Gervinho, the Giallorossi were able to defeat the Dutch 2-1, making it 3-2 on aggregate.
Feyenoord coach Fred Rutten spoke to the media at a press conference after the match, and suggested that the incident was not a racist action.
“Lots of things happened on the field tonight, but there is not too much fuss that should be made about the banana incident,” he said. “We have various nationalities here, so I do not see how that can be racism.”
Gervinho did well to keep his cool during the game following the incident, and the way in which he reacted paid off as he found the winner which allowed his side to progress and knock the Dutch team out of the Europa League.
Speaking to the clubs official website following the game, Gervinho did not mention the inflatable banana, as he focused on the value of the victory.
“Qualification was very important, the team needed a win like this -we won first for us and then for the fans,” he revealed.
“The jubilant reaction was a spontaneous thing, it was just very important to us, we have to win every game, the result is important for the team. Today we played well,” he added.