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U.S. soccer player Jozy Altidore target of racist chants in Dutch Cup game

BOSCH NETHERLANDS - JANUARY 29:  Jozy Altidore AZ Alkmaar actiduring KNVB Dutch Cup match between FC Den Bosch AZ

BOSCH, NETHERLANDS - JANUARY 29: Jozy Altidore of AZ Alkmaar in action during the KNVB Dutch Cup match between FC Den Bosch and AZ Alkmaar at BrainWash Stadion De Vliert on January 29, 2013 in Bosch, Netherlands. (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)

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THE HAGUE, Netherlands — U.S. striker Jozy Altidore was the target of racist chants Tuesday during a Dutch Cup game.

Altidore plays for AZ Alkmaar, and the taunts came during a quarterfinal against second-tier FC Den Bosch.

“It is terribly sad that this can happen for those involved and for lovers of football in the Netherlands,” AZ soccer director Earnie Stewart, a former U.S. midfielder, told Dutch television’s Eredivisie Live at halftime. “You hear that and wonder what on earth is going on.”

Stewart said Den Bosch officials are “ashamed” of the fans involved. The club repeatedly urged its fans to halt the chants, to no avail.

Referee Reinold Wiedemeijer wanted to stop the match in the first half because of “jungle sounds chanted at Altidore,” according to AZ’s official twitter feed. But AZ players, including Altidore, who is black, persuaded him not to.

Wiedemeijer halted play briefly in the second half because of fans throwing balls of ice at his linesmen, according to the Dutch Eredivisie official Twitter feed and Dutch news website

Altidore scored one goal in AZ’s 5-0 victory. Den Bosch finished with nine men after two players were sent off.

The racism comes just weeks after Dutch soccer authorities called for more respect in the game. In a game between youth teams near Amsterdam in December, players attacked and fatally injured a linesman after the match.

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