Genoa fans showed us once again the close and often problematic relations between Ultras groups in Italy and the clubs they support. During their humiliating 1-4 home defeat against Siena, which crucially hurts their relegation battle chances, play was halted midway through the second half as the fans demanded the players take off their shirts.

Genoa were down 4-0 after 49 minutes and the trouble began in the stands. After play was halted, Siena fans wandered off the pitch into the tunnel, while the way for Genoa players were blocked. As Marco Rossi, the Genoa captain, was trying to negotiate with the rampant fans declaring they wanted only one thing – for the Genoa players to take their shirts off, claiming they didn’t deserve to wear them.

The crazier thing? Rossi ordered the Genoa players to actually strip down and hand the shirts to the fans. The embarrassing scene was saved, or made worse, depends on how you look at it, by Giuseppe Sculli, who refused to carry on with the farce.

He actually went over to the enraged fans and talked to their ‘leader’, getting the ultras to back down from their demands and have the Siena players emerge from the tunnel. Genoa are now one point above the drop zone with 36, above Lecce with 35. There are five matches left before the end of the 2011-2012 season in Italy.