Unthinkable image illustrates virus reality
Former English Premier League player Aaron Ramsey starred as Juventus beat title rivals Inter Milan 2-0 on Monday (AEDT) to reclaim top spot in Serie A in a game played behind closed doors due to the coronavirus outbreak.
Earlier in the day, Italian sports minister Vincenzo Spadafora called for the league season to be put on hold.
Stream over 50 sports live & anytime with KAYO on your TV, mobile, tablet or laptop. Just $25/month with no lock-in contract. Get your 14 day free trial >
His statement caused chaos at the early game between SPAL and Parma, with confused players sent back to the dressing rooms from the tunnel before eventually taking to the field 75 minutes after the scheduled kick-off time.
Juventus’ game against Inter in Turin did go ahead, although in an empty Allianz Stadium, with the defending champions taking a one-point lead over Lazio at the top of the table.
Normally it would be unthinkable Cristiano Ronaldo — one of the world’s most popular athletes — could strut his stuff without any adoring fans nearby by that’s exactly what happened as the Juventus star played against an eerie backdrop of empty seats.
Juve coach Maurizio Sarri told Sky Sport Italia that he “doesn’t know what is the right thing to do” when it comes to the thorny question of cancelling matches.
“What have to I ask is whether it’s right to take away two hours of enjoyment from those who are stuck indoors or if there really is a serious risk for the players and staff, I just don’t know the answer to those questions,” said the 61-year-old.
On the game itself, he added: “This is an important victory, but there are still 12 games to go, so it’s a long road ahead.
“It’s very positive that we barely allowed a quality side like Inter a single shot on goal.”
RELATED: Tennis towels targeted amid virus outbreak
RELATED: Sports world’s drastic response to coronavirus
Nobody was chanting Ronaldo’s name.Source:AFP
The stadium had an eerie feel to it.Source:AFP
Antonio Conte’s third-placed Inter are now nine points adrift, but with a game in hand on Juve and Lazio.
Douglas Costa went closest in a tight first half, but was denied by an excellent save from Inter goalkeeper Samir Handanovic.
The hosts broke the deadlock 10 minutes after the break, as Ronaldo got to a low ball first inside the box, with it then falling kindly for Ramsey to sweep a low shot into the net from close range.
It was the Wales midfielder’s fourth goal of the season after joining Juve from Arsenal last year.
The 29-year-old created his side’s second goal 12 minutes later, playing a neat one-two with Paulo Dybala, who wriggled clear of two defenders and fired home.
Inter substitute Christian Eriksen went close to pulling one back when he drilled a shot narrowly over the crossbar.
Things went from bad to worse for the away side when Daniele Padelli, sitting on the substitutes’ bench, was shown a red card for dissent.
RELATED: Follow updates on the coronavirus outbreak
RELATED: Argument after a cough on train
Serie A bosses have taken drastic measures in the face of the coronavirus outbreak.Source:AFP
Who knows when matches will go back to normal.Source:AP
The climax of the Serie A season remains uncertain, though, after a deadly outbreak of the new coronavirus in Italy which has claimed the lives of over 350 people.
Italians woke up to discover the entire Lombardy region around Milan and other parts of the north in which a quarter of all Italians live — and most big teams play — under lockdown.
Italian Footballers’ Association president Damiano Tommasi tweeted that “stopping football is the most useful thing for our country right now”.
“The teams to cheer are playing in our hospitals, in emergency rooms,” Tommasi wrote.
Spadafora quickly sounded his own support for the idea of suspending the season right away.
“The FIGC (Italian Football Federation) should consider immediately STOPPING Serie A,” Spadafora wrote on Facebook.
Elsewhere on the pitch, Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s fourth goal since returning to AC Milan could not prevent the seven-time European champions from slipping to a 2-1 loss at home to struggling Genoa.
Milan remain seventh, three points off a Europa League place.
SPAL edged out Parma 1-0 in the delayed early match to boost their slim survival chances, while Sampdoria moved out of the bottom three by beating Verona 2-1.
Source: Read Full Article