Lazio's win at Brescia marred by racism

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ITALY SOCCER SERIE A

Brescia's Mario Balotelli was at the centre of racist chants during the game with visiting Lazio

Ciro Immobile and Lazio have started the new year as they ended 2019, with a Serie A victory, but the match was blighted by yet another incident of racism in Italian football.

Third-placed Lazio fought back from a goal down to win 2-1 at 10-man Brescia and move to within three points of the top two, Juventus and Inter Milan, on Sunday.

Lazio captain Immobile scored twice, his first from the penalty spot before his winner in stoppage time.

Mario Balotelli had scored the opener on 18 minutes but was twice the target of racist chanting by Lazio fans.

On the second occasion the match was halted for a few minutes and an announcement was made, while Lazio coach Simone Inzaghi wildly gesticulated to the visiting fans to stop.

Balotelli posted a video of his goal on Instagram after the match and wrote: "Lazio fans that were today at the stadium SHAME ON YOU!"

Lazio released a statement hours after the game condemning the actions of their supporters.

Immobile became the first player since 1959 to score 19 goals in his first 17 Italian league matches of the season, while Lazio's ninth consecutive Serie A win matched a club record set in 1998-99.

The capital side beat Juventus in December to win the Italian Super Cup before the winter break.

Brescia in contrast are languishing in the relegation zone but they took the lead against the run of play, when Balotelli turned in Stefano Sabella's ball over the top.

However, Brescia's chances of a win diminished shortly before the break when Andrea Cistana was sent off for hauling down Felipe Caicedo and Immobile converted the resulting penalty.

Brescia appeared set to hold on for a point before Immobile fired in a ball from Caicedo in added time.

Andrea Belotti netted a double in ninth-placed Torino's surprise 2-0 win at fourth-place Roma

Belotti, who also hit the woodwork twice, broke the deadlock in first-half stoppage time, smashing Tomas Rincon's pass into the roof of the net and sealed the points with a penalty four minutes from time after Chris Smalling handled the ball in the box.

Meanwhile, Giampaolo Pazzini and Mariusz Stepinski scored in either half to help mid-table Verona to a 2-0 win at rock bottom SPAL, who had defender Nenad Tomovic sent off for a reckless challenge.

Genoa moved off the bottom with a 2-1 home win over Sassuolo.

The hosts had new coach Davide Nicola at the helm, their third manager this season after Aurelio Andreazzoli and Thiago Motta.