Porto’s Moussa Marega fell victim to yet another incident of racist abuse in the world of football in his side’s 2-1 Primeira Liga win away to Vitoria Guimaraes on Sunday. The striker left the pitch in protest while his own teammates tried to stop him.
After Vitoria had equalised in the second half, the 28-year-old striker scored the winning goal at the hour mark and celebrated by showing his skin in response to a section of the home fans who had engaged in racist chanting throughout the match.
Full solidarity with Porto striker Marega (who scored the decisive goal), who forced himself off the pitch after receiving racist abuse at Vitoria de Guimaraes. Teammates and opponents trying to cancel his substitute. An extremely depressing episode. pic.twitter.com/C56AWpCKbM
— Colin Millar (@Millar_Colin) February 16, 2020
Soon after, Marega was shown a yellow card for the reaction which prompted him to try to leave the pitch after the abuse increased. As he was trying to leave, he pointed his thumbs down to the crowd but was restrained by his own teammates. Sergio Conceicao, Porto’s manager, was eventually forced to substitute Marega in the 72nd minute.
Vitoria is the Mali attacker’s former club, where he played during the 2016/17 season. He had scored 14 goals in the 31 appearances he had made for the club.
FC Porto striker Moussa Marega tried to walk off the pitch after being racially abused by some Vitoria SC fans tonight.
— Goal (@goal) February 16, 2020
“We are completely indignant,” Conceicao told reporters. “They insulted Marega since the warm-up. We are all a family here, regardless of our nationality, skin colour, height or the colour of our hair and we all deserve respect. What happened here is outrageous.”
Marega later posted a message on Instagram calling the supporters who targeted him as “idiots” and also criticising match referee Luis Godinho.
“I’d also like to show my thanks to the referee who did not defend me and who gave me a yellow card for defending the colour of my skin. I hope I never meet you on a football pitch ever again. You are a disgrace,” he added.
The league’s organising body Liga Portugal condemned the chants.
“Liga Portugal does not agree and never will with acts of racism, xenophobia or intolerance that jeopardize the dignity of footballers or any human beings,” said a statement on the organisation’s website.
“Liga Portugal will do everything to ensure that this episode and all other racist incidents do not go unpunished. We believe this is a fight where your team’s colours do not matter and everyone must come together to eradicate this scourge on the game.”
Stopping players from walking off the field is not “letting the racists win”. They’re already winning, and have been for a while now. Continuance of the game is not more important than someone being dehumanised – that’s what makes the video of Marega so difficult to watch.
— Hritika Sharma (@HritikaSharma_) February 16, 2020
Portuguese newspaper A Bola reported that no Porto players spoke to the media after the game in solidarity with Marega. Vitoria coach Ivo Vieira said he did not want to comment on the incident as he was not certain what had happened.
“I prefer not to speak about a situation without being aware of all the facts. But if the player was provoked, then he should not have been,” he said.
Porto are second in the Portuguese top-flight with 53 points, trailing leaders Benfica by a point after 21 games.
(with Reuters inputs)
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