Porto were surprised on
Friday over Manchester City's complaint that striker Mario
Balotelli suffered racist abuse during their Europa League match
and said nothing abnormal had happened during the game.
A City representative said the English club had brought the
matter to the attention of UEFA officials, while witnesses gave
accounts of "monkey chanting" towards the Italian during his
side's 2-1 win in Thursday's round of 32 first leg in Portugal.
The Portuguese champions and Europa League holders were
stunned by the accusations.
"What we can basically say is that nothing abnormal
happened, no one noticed anything strange, not even the UEFA
delegates that worked closely with Porto during the match,"
Porto spokesman Rui Cerqueira said by telephone.
He went on to describe two chants from Porto and City fans
in support of their respective players Hulk and Sergio 'Kun'
Aguero that could have been mistaken for other sounds.
"Kun, Kun, Kun; Hulk, Hulk, Hulk," he said, demonstrating
the chants. "[Those chants] can be easily confused with racist
He also said Porto had no record of previous racism.
"We are very proud of having a multi-racial team, with
players from all backgrounds and to have achieved many titles
with respect," he said.
"Porto players have never felt the slightest hint of racism
and we were very surprised with the accusations."
However, Manchester City's Ivorian midfielder Yaya Toure
said he had "heard something."
"That's why we like the Premier League because it never
happens there... maybe in a different country they don't expect
black players," he told Sky Sports News.
Porto fans at the match said abusive chants could be heard.
"Monkey chants were clearly heard, even if for just a brief
moment and not coming from the whole stadium, particularly after
a nastier foul by Balotelli," supporter Francisco Pimento told
"But it all died off afterwards, though Balotelli kept being
whistled and booed from then on."
City manager Roberto Mancini said he had not heard anything
during the match.
"I didn't hear this because I was concentrating on the
game," local media quoted the Italian as saying.
"But I think the players are strong. Mario did very well. He
was calm and it is important he contributed.
"He knows these kinds of things can happen every game. This
is the reason I spoke to Mario before the game and said: 'you
should think only about football'."
Racism is a hot topic in English football at present with
Liverpool's Luis Suarez having served an eight-match ban for
racially abusing Manchester United's Patrice Evra and Chelsea
captain John Terry facing criminal charges over alleged comments
he made to Queens Park Rangers defender Anton Ferdinand.
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