Football: Venezia in match-fixing probe

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A MATCH-FIXING investigation into last Sunday's Serie A game between the relegation-threatened Venezia and mid-table Bari has been opened by the Italian Football Federation. Venezia won 2-1 but the Brazilian striker Tuta, who scored the last-minute winner, claimed he was told by team-mates to play for a 1-1 draw.

Tuta said: "Yes, [Filippo] Maniero told me 1-1 was good. He told me before the move [that led to the goal]."

Tuta said he did not reply. He added: "I wasn't happy because I wanted to score. Afterwards I didn't talk to anyone. I don't know why he said it. In Brazil when you play at home you try to win...they [the Venezia players] all said 1-1 was good."

Shortly after the final whistle, as Tuta entered the tunnel to the dressing- room, a Bari player greeted him with what appeared ironic applause. The Brazilian lashed out and had to be held back by officials.

Maniero said it was a misunderstanding. He said: "I told him to be careful because at that point a 1-1 draw would have been OK. We were tired and we knew if we conceded another goal it would be difficult to recover."

The inquiry is the second this season following Empoli's 2-0 defeat by Sampdoria in October when a friend of an Empoli official asked the referee to help his side. Empoli were docked two points.