Serie A - Muntari roughs up ref, racist fans stop play

Serie A, San Siro - Milan 0 Roma 0

Serie A - Muntari roughs up ref, racist fans stop play

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Sulley Muntari gets a red card (AFP)

A highly controversial 0-0 draw between Milan and Roma was temporarily suspended due to racist abuse from visiting supporters and witnessed two red cards as Sulley Muntari was sent off for manhandling a referee and Francesco Totti was dismissed for a nasty elbow in injury time.

The stormy match at San Siro was marked by no less than three unsavoury incidents, with Muntari shown a red card in the first half after physically restraining the match official for a prolonged period of time.

Then, in the second half, the match was briefly suspended after racist abuse was heard from the Roma fans inside the stadium, and right at the end Totti was given his marching orders for flinging his elbow into the face of Massimo Ambrosini.

Milan could have secured Champions League football for next season with a win but will now head into the final weekend of the season two points clear of Fiorentina. Roma are two behind Lazio.

Roma were on top of Milan from the start, Marquinho almost scoring a stunning opener after four minutes when his ferocious effort from long range was tipped around the post by Christian Abbiati.

Totti was lively too, smacking a free-kick into the wall and then driving another effort just past the frame of the goal after a mistake from Kevin Constant allowed Roma to drive into the Milan box.

The Giallorossi looked the sprightlier in the final third with Marquinho continuing to pose a threat when he latched onto a glorious through-ball from Erik Lamela to test Abbiati from a tight angle.

Milan sparked into life on 26 minutes when Muntari rifled a stunning effort just wide. Kevin-Prince Boateng then had a flick saved by Bogdan Lobont and Mario Balotelli had a free-kick repelled by the keeper.

However, on 40 minutes came a moment of real controversy. Referee Gianluca Rocchi booked Balotelli for a late tackle and then appeared to be reaching for the red after Muntari reacted badly.

Muntari, though, held the referee's wrist and refused to let go, before then grabbing the official from behind. His idiotic actions guaranteed a red, if one was not already forthcoming.

Sadly, it was not the only spectacle of stupidity to afflict the match. After 48 minutes referee Rocchi called a brief halt to proceedings as Roma fans were warned that should racist chanting persist, the game would be suspended.

Sport was occasionally breaking out, and Mathieu Flamini had a fine chance to put Milan in front after 76 minutes when he fired at Lobont from a tight angle. Substitute Miralem Pjanic also drove a shot over the bar for Roma.

With only four minutes remaining, Milan were lucky to avoid conceding a penalty when Kevin Constant make clear contact with Lamela in the box and tripped the forward. But more controversy was to come as Totti elbowed Ambrosini in the face, minutes after the midfielder had banged into him from behind.

It was a suitably disgraceful end to proceedings.

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