Ibrahimović-Lukaku spat draws inquiry from federation

AC Milan's Zlatan Ibrahimovic, center left, and Inter Milan's Romelu Lukaku, center right, argue during an Italian Cup round of 8 soccer match between Inter Milan and AC Milan at the San Siro stadium, in Milan, Italy, Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2021. (AP Photo/Antonio Calanni)

ROME (AP) — The Italian soccer federation prosecutor on Monday opened an investigation into last week’s spat between Zlatan Ibrahimović and Romelu Lukaku.

Referee Paolo Valeri was called in for questioning by prosecutor Giuseppe Chiné to explain the punishment handed out during the Italian Cup quarterfinal.

There was a huge argument — and head-to-head clash — between Ibrahimović and Lukaku just before halftime and both players were given yellow cards. The confrontation between the former Manchester United teammates continued after the halftime whistle and a visibly furious Lukaku had to be restrained.

Ibrahimović was later shown another yellow card after the break for a hard tackle on Aleksandar Kolarov and sent off, leaving his team with 10 players.

Lukaku’s Inter Milan beat Ibrahimović’s AC Milan 2-1.

Both players were given one-match suspensions by the league judge on Friday, with no bans added on for further disciplinary reasons.

Ibrahimović’s suspension was because of the two yellow cards and his subsequent sending off, while Lukaku’s suspension was for accumulated cards.

Lukaku will miss the first leg of the semifinals against Juventus on Tuesday, while Ibrahimović will have to sit out his next match in the competition.