Spezia vs Napoli: Behind the Scenes of Shame at the Stadio Alberto Picco

What was supposed to be a thrifty encounter on the final matchday of the 2021/22 season instead turned out to be an afternoon to forget as all hell broke loose. Napoli’s 3-0 victory over Spezia was marred with controversy with both sets of supporters clashing in a tense Stadio Alberto Picco, stopping the encounter for a good 10-15 minutes due to the unpleasant scenes occurring in the stands between the Aquilotti and Partenopei fans.

Spezia fans reportedly abused Argentine legend Diego Maradona at the top of their voice during the match, shamefully singing “Maradona is dead, Maradona is dead…” before which they attacked Napoli with “Vesuvius wash them with fire.”

The violent and racist expressions were unsurprisingly reciprocated by the Partenopei fans, after which there were physical altercations behind Alex Meret’s goal in the first half. Senegal icon Kalidou Koulibaly, despite being on the receiving end of discriminatory chants, took a huge risk by approaching the agitated and violent fans, and so did Luciano Spalletti, Dries Mertens and Toronto-bound Lorenzo Insigne. Spezia players mirrored their adversaries’ gesture and tried to calm down both sets of fans before the match restarted in the 25th minute.

Additionally, the police had to be called in. Intervention of law enforcement along with players and squad members had a great impact in calming the heated environment.

Before kick-off, Spezia fans welcomed the Napoli bus by throwing stones and during the match, smoke bombs, torches and coins were reportedly hauled at the away curve in the stadium. According to reports from La Gazzetta dello Sport (via Internapoli.it), four people were injured by the end of the match, and one of those even risks losing few fingers after he tried to relaunch a firecracker that exploded his hand.

There are also rumors of the presence of Marseille ultras during the clash, who are known to possess a not-so-friendly relationship with the Neapolitan fans. There have been mentions of Genoa and Sampdoria supporters present too. Investigations have been launched into a possible premeditated scenario to incite the visiting fans.

Both the clubs risk high fines, the details of which are currently unknown. Corriere dello Sport (via TuttoNapoli) indicates that the curva La Ferrovia fan section behind the goal could be closed temporarily at the start of the 2022/23 season for home ultras and that matches could be forced to play behind closed doors.