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Kean on target for Juve despite racist abuse in Cagliari

Milan (AFP) – Rising Italy star Moise Kean was targeted by racist abuse after he continued his goal-scoring spree to push Juventus closer to an eighth consecutive Serie A title on Tuesday with a 2-0 win over Cagliari.

Kean, 19, slotted in his fourth goal in as many league games for Juventus in the 85th minute after defender Leonardo Bonucci nodded in the opener on 22 minutes in Sardinia.

The youngster’s celebration after scoring, however, infuriated the Sardinian crowd who had jeered the teenager throughout after he was booked for diving in the first half.

The final minutes of the game were overshadowed by racist chants aimed at both Kean and his French teammate Blaise Matuidi.

Kean celebrated with his hands outstretched in front of the Cagliari fans after scoring.

But Bonucci claimed that Kean should not have provoked the home supporters and said his teammate was partly to blame for the unsavoury scenes.

“Kean knows that when he scores a goal, he should celebrate that with his teammates. He knows he could have done something differently too,” Bonucci told Sky Sport Italia.

“There were racist jeers after the goal, Blaise heard it and was angered. I think the blame is 50-50, because Moise shouldn’t have done that and the Curva (Cagliari fans) should not have reacted that way.

“We are professionals, we have to set the example and not provoke anyone.”

Cagliari fans appeared to throw objects at Kean, and the match was momentarily stopped with Matuidi reacting furiously to the jeers at the same stadium where he was targeted last season.

The abuse came on the same day that UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin said that he will ask referees to stop matches in the future when there is racist chanting.

The win put Juventus back 18 points clear of second-placed Napoli, who travel to lowly Empoli on Wednesday, with only eight matches to play.

The champions’ next game is at home against AC Milan, who were earlier held 1-1 by Udinese.

Juventus shrugged off the absences of injured star strikers Cristiano Ronaldo and Paulo Dybala, with Mario Mandzukic also out suffering from flu.

Italy defender Bonucci headed in his third league goal of the season from a Federico Bernardeschi corner.

Cagliari goalkeeper Alessio Cragno denied Kean twice before the teenager finally broke through, with Rodrigo Bentancur rolling the ball across for him to tap in.

– Udinese dent Milan top-four hopes –

Kevin Lasagna grabbed a point for Udinese to further dent AC Milan’s Champions League ambitions.

Injury-hit Milan struggled against their 15th-placed opponents with goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma going off on 11 minutes with a thigh problem and Brazilian midfielder Lucas Paqueta hurting his ankle in the first half.

Polish striker Krzysztof Piatek managed to break through just before the interval after connecting with a Patrick Cutrone cross.

But Italian international Lasagna pulled Udinese back level after finishing off a flowing counter-attack on 65 minutes.

The stalemate complicates the Champions League race for Gennaro Gattuso’s side who are targeting a return to the competition for the first time since the 2013-2014 season.

Milan have picked up just one point from their last three matches after defeats against Inter Milan and Sampdoria.

They occupy fourth place, the final Champions League spot, but Lazio are four points behind with two games in hand ahead of their trip to struggling SPAL on Wednesday.

“In a season a team can have highs and lows. We had five wins in a row and now we’ve a bad moment,” said Gattuso, a two-time Champions League winner with Milan as a player.

“When you are not brilliant the ball starts to weigh 120 kilos. Today we did little, I saw a sluggish team in the second half.”

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