TURIN, Italy (AFP) - Roma midfielder Daniele de Rossi was accused of racially abusing Juventus' Croatian striker Mario Mandzukic in Sunday's stormy 1-0 win for the Turin giants.
A late Paulo Dybala strike secured a 1-0 win and an 11th consecutive league victory for Italian champions Juventus, who closed to within two points of Serie A leaders Napoli.
The bad-tempered affair in Turin got off to the worst possible start when Mandzukic crumbled to the ground in pain after a de Rossi stamp.
Internet reports claimed television cameras had caught de Rossi telling the Croat: "Shut up, shitty gypsy."
Roma coach Luciano Spalletti did not deny de Rossi's comments.
He claimed Mandzukic had insulted his players throughout the game and said de Rossi's only mistake was not to cover his mouth with his hand, a technique used by many players and coaches to conceal what they are saying.
"He (de Rossi) didn't put his hand up to his mouth, but I will tell him to do that next time," Spalletti said, after seeing Roma slip to 12 points off the pace.
"In difficult moments like that, certain manners can go amiss. But Mandzukic was taking the p*** out of all the (Roma) players during the game."
Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri tried to play down the incident.
"I don't know what de Rossi said to Mandzukic and I don't know what Mandzukic said to de Rossi, but players regularly trade comments with each other during games," said the Juve coach.