Baptised in plastic cups and bleeding…the captain keeps his cool

Fiorentina captain Cristiano Biraghi reacted calmly to the unsportsmanlike behaviour.

Fiorentina were defeated 1-2 by West Ham United in the UEFA Europa Conference League (UECL) final of the 2022-23 season at the Eden Arena in Prague, Czech Republic, at 4am on 8 August. Fiorentina finished as runners-up in the competition.

The first half was tight. After conceding a goal to West Ham less than a minute into the game, Fiorentina tried to fight back through Giacomo Bonaventura and Biraghi. It was not to be. Declan Rice shot wide in the 12th minute and Nikola Milenkovic headed wide from a Viraghi cross in the 26th minute.스포츠토토

There was a frowned upon moment midway through the first half. In the 33rd minute, Fiorentina were awarded a corner and Biraghi walked to the corner flag to take it. At this point, West Ham fans threw plastic water bottles and cups at him, some of which hit him in the head. Biragi’s head was bleeding, with blood running down the back of his head and neck. The referee stopped the game and West Ham players, including West Ham captain Rice, had to calm the West Ham fans down. An announcement was then made on the pitch asking fans to respect the players and not throw objects.

Despite this, Viragi was undeterred. He turned around and applauded the West Ham fans who were throwing cups at him. It could have been a sarcastic jab at the West Ham fans, but he handled the situation with aplomb, even though he received a large cut on his head. Even after the incident was over and play resumed, Biraghi didn’t show any reaction and played the entirety of the game with a bandage on his head.

Unfortunately, Fiorentina finished as runners-up. After conceding the opening goal in the second half, the Bianconeri equalised, only to concede the winner to Jerrod Bowen in stoppage time.

After the game, Biraghi told Italy’s Sky Sports that he was disappointed with the runners-up finish, but looked to his fans first, saying, “My biggest disappointment is that we couldn’t bring the trophy back to Fiorentina for the fans who supported us.” As for the head wound, he could only say, “I hope there is someone who will judge this properly.”

West Ham, meanwhile, released an official statement condemning the fans’ behaviour.

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