Italy extended their unbeaten run with a frustrating 0-0 draw against Turkiye on Tuesday, though potentially suffered another injury blow in the process.

Luca Pellegrini was taken off in the 68th minute and was seen on the bench with an icepack strapped to his knee, following Francesco Acerbi and Giorgio Scalvini's withdrawals from the squad in the last week.

In the first of their two warm-ups ahead of Euro 2024, Italy came closest to breaking the deadlock on the stroke of half-time when Bryan Cristante thumped a header against the post.

Guglielmo Vicario denied Merih Demiral on the half-volley in a bright second half for Turkiye, while Giacomo Raspadori's tame shot was held by Altay Bayindir in the final seconds as both sides failed to find a way through.

Data Debrief: Not good signs for the reigning Euros champions

Italy are not favourites going into their title defence in Germany later this month, and they struggled to show much attacking flair.

Although the Azzurri extended their unbeaten run over Turkey to 14 games, they created an expected goals (xG) of just 0.67, hitting the target with two of their 11 shots.

Napoli defender Juan Jesus says it is “difficult to comprehend” the decision not to punish Inter Milan’s Francesco Acerbi over allegations of racism.

Brazilian Jesus accused Italy international Acerbi of an abusive comment relating to skin colour during a 1-1 draw between their clubs earlier this month.

But the case was dismissed by a Serie A sports judge on Tuesday due to a lack of evidence.

Jesus feels “very bitter” about the verdict and believes his complaint may have been treated differently if he had not responded “as a gentleman”.

“I have read several times and with great disappointment the decision of the sports judge, who felt there was no evidence that I was the victim of a racist,” said the 32-year-old in a lengthy statement released with his legal representatives.

“While respecting the decision, it is one I find difficult to comprehend and it leaves me feeling very bitter.

“Quite honestly I am crestfallen by such a serious incident in which my only mistake was that I dealt with it ‘as a gentleman’, deciding not to interrupt an important game, with all the inconvenience that would have caused the spectators watching the match.

“I did so believing that such an attitude would have been respected, and perhaps taken as an example.

“Following this decision, I imagine that anyone else finding themselves in a similar situation to mine will act in a very different manner, in order to protect themselves and to curb the disgrace of racism, which, sadly, we are struggling to rid ourselves of.”

According to Jesus, Acerbi apologised on the pitch before changing his version of events the following day.

The 36-year-old Inter player publicly protested his innocence but agreed to withdraw from Italy’s squad for games against Venezuela and Ecuador after discussing the matter with national team manager Luciano Spalletti.

Judge Gerardo Mastrandrea suggested Acerbi’s comments may have been offensive but could not determine whether they were of a racist nature.

Jesus fears the episode could “set a serious precedent for justifying certain behaviour after the event” but expressed hope it may help the football world reflect on the “serious and urgent” issue of racism.

“I really do not understand how ‘go away negro, you’re just a negro’ can be considered to be certainly offensive but not discriminatory,” continued Jesus’ statement.

“I do not understand all the commotion that evening if it really was ‘just an insult’, for which Acerbi himself felt the need to apologise, the referee decided to notify VAR, the match was suspended for over a minute and his team-mates hurried to speak to me.

“I cannot fathom why Acerbi only started to change his version of the events the following day while with the national team, instead of denying it immediately after the match, when it actually happened.

“I didn’t expect it to end like this. I fear – and I hope I am wrong – that this could set a serious precedent for justifying certain behaviour after the event.

“I sincerely hope that this sad matter can help the world of football to reflect on an issue that is both serious and urgent.”

Napoli say they find it “astonishing” that Italy defender Francesco Acerbi was not sanctioned over allegations of racism against their player Juan Jesus.

Inter Milan’s Acerbi was implicated by his opponent in the closing stages of a 1-1 draw earlier this month, with Jesus briefly pausing the match to report the matter to the referee.

But Acerbi will face no further action after defender Jesus’ claims were dismissed by a Serie A sports judge due to a lack of evidence.

In a statement, Napoli said: “The principle of the greatest likelihood of an event, which exists in sports justice and which appears clear from the dynamics of the incident and the apology offered on the pitch, simply vanishes in this judgement.

“We find it astonishing.

“If what happened on the pitch ‘is certainly compatible with the expression of offensive comments (…) by the Inter player, who does not deny that they were offensive and threatening,’ then why was Acerbi not sanctioned in any way?

“If, as the judgement itself reads, ‘there was certainly proof of an insult,’ why did the sports judge decide to take no action to punish the responsible party?

“We find that even more astonishing.

“Napoli will no longer take part in anti-racism and anti-discrimination initiatives run by football institutions that are merely symbolic, but we will continue to organise them ourselves, as we have always done, with renewed conviction and determination.”

Acerbi protested his innocence but agreed to withdraw from the national squad for this week’s games against Venezuela and Ecuador after discussing the matter with manager Luciano Spalletti.

Serie A sports judge Gerardo Mastrandrea considered the case against Acerbi, speaking to both men, others present on the pitch and also consulting recordings of the incident, but found insufficient proof to support Jesus’ own testimony.

Acerbi, who faced potentially serious sanctions had he been found guilty, has been cleared to turn out again for Inter when their league schedule resumes on April 1.

Mastrandrea’s ruling concluded: “In this case the minimum level of reasonable certainty regarding the discriminatory content of the offence committed is not reached.

“Without calling into question the good faith of the Napoli player, it appears to have been perceived only by ‘offended’ footballer without the support of any external evidence, be it audio, video or even testimonial.

“Discriminatory conduct, due to its intrinsic severity and intolerability, especially when it refers to the person’s race, skin colour or religion, must be sanctioned with the utmost severity in accordance with the Code of Sports Justice and the rules international sporting events.

“But it is nevertheless necessary that the imposition of such burdensome sanctions is correspondingly assisted by a minimum amount of evidence, or at least by serious, precise and consistent evidence in order to achieve reasonable certainty.”

Italy defender Francesco Acerbi will face no further action over allegations of racism against Napoli’s Juan Jesus, whose claims have been dismissed due to a lack of evidence.

The Inter Milan player was implicated by his opponent in the closing stages of a 1-1 draw earlier this month, with Jesus briefly pausing the match to report the matter to the referee.

Acerbi protested his innocence but agreed to withdraw from the national squad for this week’s games against Venezuela and Ecuador after discussing the matter with manager Luciano Spalletti.

Serie A sports judge Gerardo Mastrandrea considered the case against Acerbi, speaking to both men, others present on the pitch and also consulting recordings of the incident, but found insufficient proof to support Jesus’ own testimony.

Had he been found guilty, Acerbi faced potentially serious sanctions that could have included a lengthy ban and thrown his hopes of featuring in this summer’s European Championships into doubt. Instead, he has been cleared to turn out again for Inter when their league schedule resumes on April 1.

Mastrandrea’s ruling concluded: “In this case the minimum level of reasonable certainty regarding the discriminatory content of the offence committed is not reached.

“Without calling into question the good faith of the Napoli player, it appears to have been perceived only by ‘offended’ footballer without the support of any external evidence, be it audio, video or even testimonial.

“Discriminatory conduct, due to its intrinsic severity and intolerability, especially when it refers to the person’s race, skin colour or religion, must be sanctioned with the utmost severity in accordance with the Code of Sports Justice and the rules international sporting events.

“But it is nevertheless necessary that the imposition of such burdensome sanctions is correspondingly assisted by a minimum amount of evidence, or at least by serious, precise and consistent evidence in order to achieve reasonable certainty.”

Inter Milan blew a two-goal to drop points at the top of Serie A as Bologna earned a 2-2 draw at the San Siro.

Inter looked set to move clear at the summit of the table after they burst into a 2-0 lead after just 13 minutes as Francesco Acerbi and Lautaro Martinez scored.

But mid-table Bologna hit back, with Bendetta Orsolini scoring from the penalty spot before the break and Joshua Zirkzee earned a point after the break.

The result was a big boost for Inter’s city rivals AC Milan, who play at Genoa later on Saturday and go three points ahead with a win.

Although the hosts made a fast start, it was Bologna that almost drew first blood as former Aberdeen midfielder Lewis Ferguson hit the post in an open start to the match.

But it was the hosts that soon took control as Acerbi headed home from Hakan Calhanoglu’s corner in the 11th minute.

Two minutes later it was 2-0 as Martinez doubled the lead in style, rocketing a 25-yard shot into the top corner for his 10th goal of the season, becoming just the third Inter player in history to reach double figures in the opening eight matches.

Bologna were shell-shocked, but they responded well and were awarded an 18th-minute penalty when VAR spotted an infringement at a corner, with Martinez ruled to have fouled Ferguson.

Orsolini converted from 12 yards, though Inter goalkeeper Yann Sommer may be disappointed after he got a hand to it.

Inter should have restored their two-goal lead eight minutes before the break as both Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Calhanoglu found space in the area but could not get a shot away.

Bologna responded well after the break and levelled seven minutes after the restart.

Zirkzee got the ball on the edge of the area and wrong-footed Sommer, shooting into the near post to make it 2-2.

Inter thought they had regained the lead on the hour when Sanchez converted Carlos Augusto’s cross, but it was ruled out for offside.

Boss Simone Inzhagi’s frustration boiled over and he received a yellow card in protestations at refereeing decisions.

His mood did not improve as Martinez then flashed a header just wide from a corner as they pushed to regain the lead.

The pressure mounted in the final 10 minutes with Bologna goalkeeper Lukasz Skorupski beating away Augusto’s shot before the same player headed over at the death.

Simone Inzaghi praised his Inter players who "play less" despite coming within minutes of being eliminated from the Coppa Italia on Tuesday.

The holders trailed Serie B side Parma 1-0 with just three minutes remaining at San Siro, before Lautaro Martinez equalised and Francesco Acerbi headed in the winner in extra time to save their blushes and send them through to the quarter-finals.

The irony of Acerbi heading in the winner was not lost on Inzaghi after the centre-back's effort against Monza in their previous game was ruled out by the referee, causing consternation among the Inter camp as his whistle meant that the VAR could not intervene on what appeared to be a questionable call.

Inzaghi was not in the mood to dwell on the weekend's 2-2 draw in Serie A, instead praising the players who came in for cup duty and, eventually, delivered.

"The whole world saw what happened in Monza, but we were only interested in this game," the Nerazzurri head coach said. "We were doing fairly well even if we had to move the ball better. Then with their goal it got complicated, but I had an excellent response from those who play less.

"I would have liked to avoid extra time, but last year too with Empoli [3-2 win after extra time] it was difficult."

Inter trailed to a superb strike from substitute Stanko Juric in the 38th minute, and did not have a shot on target until Martinez forced an equaliser in the 88th.

In the second half of extra time, Acerbi reacted to a punched clearance from veteran goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon to head the ball over the 44-year-old and into the net.

Parma were the equals of their hosts for large parts of the contest, but Inzaghi insisted he was impressed by his team's effort.

"Those who have played the least have given excellent answers, we must continue like this," he added. "In the Champions League we have gone beyond expectations, in the league we lost points at the start, but there are many games to go."

Romelu Lukaku did not feature, but his coach believes the Belgium striker will have plenty to offer once they can get him fit and playing regularly.

"He remains fundamental for us," Inzaghi said. "He had an injury and had problems managing it. Saturday [v Monza] he was limited by his inflammatory problem. Tomorrow he will continue to rest, then day-by-day we would like to bring him back to the top. If we could have done that before, it would have given us the extra points we are missing."

Inter have completed a season-long loan deal for Lazio defender Francesco Acerbi.

The Italy international will spend the remainder of the 2022-23 campaign at San Siro, where he will wear the number 15 shirt.

Inter had been targeting Acerbi for several weeks, with Simone Inzaghi keen to strengthen his options in the heart of the Nerazzurri defence.

Club president Steven Zhang reportedly blocked the deal initially due to concerns over increasing the wage bill, but has since given the green light for the 34-year-old to join the ranks.

Acerbi is Inter's seventh signing in a window that has also seen the arrivals of Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Andre Onana, and the return of Romelu Lukaku.

The centre-half brings a wealth of experience to the back line, having also appeared for Chievo, Milan and Sassuolo in Serie A, while chalking up over 30 appearances in each of the last eight seasons.

Acerbi, who was yet to feature this term under Maurizio Sarri, was also part of the Italy's victorious squad at Euro 2020, playing in three of the Azzurri's seven matches.

He could make his Inter debut against former side Milan when the rivals lock horns on Saturday.

Paris Saint-Germain have been open about wanting three more new signings before the transfer window closes.

PSG head coach Christophe Galtier also explained that among those was the desire to bring in a forward.

The French champions have already sealed the services of Renato Sanches, Nordi Mukiele, Hugo Ekitike, Vitinha and Nuno Mendes during the off-season.

TOP STORY – PSG IN TALKS WITH MAN UTD'S RASHFORD

PSG have opened talks with Marcus Rashford's representatives about joining the Ligue 1 club from Manchester United, according to L'Equipe.

The England international striker is contracted with United until 2023, having signed a four-year deal in 2019 with the option to extend by a further year.

Sky Sports, however, claims that PSG are unlikely to follow up on their initial interest, having first enquired about Rashford last week.

ROUND-UP

Manchester City are targeting Atletico Madrid's Brazilian Renan Lodi as they look to add a new left-back, according to The Telegraph. City want to bolster their options in the position following Oleksandr Zinchenko's departure for Arsenal. City are also considering Arsenal left-back Kieran Tierney, claims 90min.

– Foot Mercato reports that Italian champions Inter are looking at Nice defender Jean-Clair Todibo as a possible replacement for Martin Skriniar, should he leave. Todibo also has interest from PSG and Chelsea . Inter have also been linked to Borussia Dortmund's Swiss defender Manuel Akanji along with Lazio veteran Francesco Acerbi.

– Chelsea's Emerson Palmieri is drawing interest from both Nottingham Forest and Atalanta, according to the Evening Standard. The 28-year-old left-back is being squeezed out at Stamford Bridge following Marc Cucurella's arrival.

Napoli and Argentina international forward Giovanni Simeone have reached a verbal agreement, reports Sky Sport Italia. Simeone is set to join Napoli on loan from Hellas Verona, but Sky Sport Italia claims Juventus are prepared to poach him at the last minute.

Jose Mourinho has been accused of lacking respect by Roma's rivals Lazio after he claimed their winning goal against Spezia should not have stood.

Roma and Lazio are locked in a battle to secure a top-six finish in Serie A, and Maurizio Sarri's team sit level on points with the Giallorossi after earning a last-gasp 4-3 win over Spezia on Saturday, while Mourinho's men dropped points in a goalless draw with Bologna a day later.

Having spent much of their match trailing, Lazio snatched a thrilling win when Francesco Acerbi flicked home in the final minute.

After Ciro Immobile became just the 10th player to reach 150 Serie A goals for one club earlier in the match, Acerbi's winner was controversial as it appeared he turned home from an offside position, leading Mourinho to take aim at the decision to let the goal stand.

Subsequently, Lazio have hit back.

"The fact that in 2022 a coach of another team repeatedly refers to presumed referee favours to competing teams demonstrates some things," the statement began.

"That Lazio is obsessively in their thoughts more than other coveted professional goals; that, as often happens, one looks into other people's homes to divert attention from missed results and sensational episodes that have occurred in one's own home, in one's favour, under the eyes of all.

"Despite the need to evolve the image of football in Italy, some players are stuck with the constant repetition of accusations against the referees and the VAR, [and] these offensive attitudes towards referees are too often overlooked.

"The Lazio Sports Society rejects the criticisms and insinuations. It continues to believe that values are demonstrated on the pitch and not in the television salons. Lazio will never lend itself to being anyone's alibi or scapegoat and will assert its reasons in the appropriate forums." 

In accusing Mourinho of lacking respect for referees and other clubs, Lazio also claimed not to have commented on several refereeing decisions which they perceived to have gone against them in recent weeks.

These incidents included a potential foul on Acerbi in the build-up to Sandro Tonali's late winner for Milan at the Stadio Olimpico, and an alleged elbow by Roger Ibanez when Lazio met Roma in March.

"The company's line continues to be that of not discussing the decisions taken on the pitch, even when it comes to obvious episodes that occurred to the detriment of the Biancoceleste team, such as [Sandro] Tonali's foul on Acerbi in Lazio-Milan on the occasion of the goal, or the elbow from [Roger] Ibanez on [Sergej] Milinkovic-Savic in the [Rome] derby," the statement continued.

"[These are] decisive episodes on which we have chosen silence, out of respect for the referees on the field and the VAR, respect that others have not shown and continue not to demonstrate."

The capital clubs are separated by virtue of their head-to-head record with three games left, with Roma boasting the advantage after winning 3-0 in March.

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