Inter Milan cruised into the quarter-finals of the Coppa Italia after beating second-tier Benevento 6-2 in a match played behind closed doors following the racist abuse of Senegal defender Kalidou Koulibaly last month.
Inter ran riot in a San Siro left empty on Sunday as part of the punishment the club received for the monkey chants directed at Koulibaly during their 1-0 Boxing Day win over Napoli.
“That wasn’t a real match tonight,” said Inter coach Luciano Spalletti.
“The protagonists of the game are the fans, who should come and have fun watching the show on the pitch.
“We can’t deprive good people of enjoyment because others disturb the match (with their behaviour). We need to reward that type of fan, who needs to take a stand against the chants they don’t want to take part in.”
Spalletti’s side were two up inside seven minutes thanks to a roaring start that saw Mauro Icardi open the scoring from the spot following a foul on Antonio Candreva, who was on hand to crash home after striker Icardi hit the post from a corner to double the hosts’ lead.
The tie was put beyond doubt in first-half stoppage time when Dalbert collected Ivan Perisic’s pass and thumped in the third, and Croat Perisic was on hand again shortly after the break to cross for Lautaro Martinez to make it four with his head.
Benevento forward Roberto Insigne smashed home a free-kick that his brother Lorenzo, in action later for Napoli against Sassuolo, would have been proud of, but Martinez scored again in the 66th minute to mean that Filippo Bandinelli’s goal for the away side was nothing more than a second consolation.
Candreva’s second deep into added time was the cherry on the cake for Spalletti’s side, who in the quarters will take on Lazio, embroiled in a racism scandal of their own.
Their 4-1 thumping of third-division Novara at Rome’s Stadio Olimpico on Saturday was sullied by racist and anti-Semitic chanting dismissed by the club as a “psychosis focusing on a minority or non-existent incidents”.
Lazio’s notorious hardcore ultra fans aimed a series of ugly barbs at their bitter city rivals Roma as their side ran up a four-goal lead before half-time, taunting them with chants of “Yellow, red and Jewish” and “This Roma that looks like Africa”.
Lazio spokesman Arturo Diaconale blasted reports of the chanting by a small section of the crowd as “a psychosis”, and said that “98 percent” of the crowd did not even hear them.
Napoli will take on AC Milan in the last eight after goals from Arkadiusz Milik and Fabian Ruiz saw off Sassuolo at the Stadio San Paolo in Naples on Sunday. Milan beat Sampdoria 2-0 on Saturday.
Earlier on Sunday two late goals from Federico Chiesa saw Fiorentina beat battling Torino, who were the more dangerous side throughout the match but were knocked out thanks to a brace in the final three minutes from the Italy international.
The Viola will host one of Roma or Virtus Entella from third-tier Serie C, who play on Monday after Cagliari and Atalanta face off in an all-Serie A clash.
On Saturday, Juventus booked their place in the last eight with a 2-0 win at Bologna.