Italian League Postpones Matches Amid Coronavirus Crisis

Italian League Postpones Matches Amid Coronavirus Crisis

Italian soccer teams and Serie A’s governing body are squabbling with each other about when to play games, with Inter Milan’s chief executive, Giuseppe Marotta, saying the season even runs the risk of being unable to finish.

Five games scheduled in the top tier of the Italian league over the weekend were postponed on Saturday in an attempt to contain the coronavirus outbreak.

“The decision was down to me, but the clubs involved were contacted by telephone, so we know everyone’s positions, which were difficult to reconcile,” Paolo Dal Pino, the president of Lega Serie A, said on Sunday. “I invite everyone to think as Serie A, not as individual clubs.”

Lega Serie A announced on Sunday that it had called an emergency assembly for Wednesday to “examine the consequences the governmental measures related to coronavirus have had on the fixture list.”

It was also announced on Sunday evening that Sampdoria’s match against Hellas Verona in Genoa on Monday would be played without fans allowed into the stadium.

There have been 29 deaths from the Covid-19 illness in Italy and more than 1,100 people have tested positive, almost all in the country’s north.

With clusters of virus infections in the Lombardy and Veneto regions, the biggest match lost from the Serie A program was Juventus’s home game Sunday against Inter Milan in Turin — a match known as the Derby d’Italia, or Italy’s derby.

That match — a potential title-decider — and the other four games affected were set to be played in a stadium with no fans to comply with the ban on sporting events imposed by the government. That ban is set to end in three of the six regions in which it has been imposed on Sunday at midnight, with Piedmont (which includes Turin) one of the three to have restrictions lifted.

All five matches were rescheduled for May 13 although there are reports the league is considering playing Juventus vs. Inter on Wednesday and moving the Italian Cup semifinals, which both clubs are involved in.

Marotta attacked the league’s decision, but Dal Pino said on Sunday that Inter had refused another option offered to the clubs.

“On Friday we proposed to Inter to move the match against Juventus to Monday night to be able to play it with fans present,” Dal Pino said. “Inter categorically refused to go out onto the field, so it should assume its own responsibilities and not talk about sportsmanship or a falsified championship.”

Real Madrid 2, Barcelona 0

Real Madrid beat Barcelona in the clásico at the Santiago Bernabéu in Madrid on Sunday to end its seven-match winless streak against its rival and return to the top of the Spanish league. Vinícius Júnior scored in the 71st minute and the substitute Mariano Díaz sealed the victory in stoppage time to give Madrid a one-point lead over Barcelona and halt the team’s recent struggles. Madrid had been winless in three straight games in all competitions, and also had not won at home in three consecutive games.

Red Bulls 3, F.C. Cincinnati 2

Kyle Duncan and Kaku scored early goals for the Red Bulls in their Major League Soccer opener in Harrison, N.J. Duncan scored in the 16th minute when he took a soft pass from Florian Valot and punched it in as he ran down the left side of the box. Nine minutes later, Valot found Kaku at the center of the box, and he tapped it in with his left foot from 16 yards. A minute into the second half, Allan Cruz took a centering pass from Brandon Vasquez to get Cincinnati on the board. Cruz has scored in his last three M.L.S. appearances, dating to the end of last season.

Crew 1, N.Y.C.F.C. 0

Lucas Zelarrayan scored in the 56th minute to lift the Crew in Columbus, Ohio. Zelarrayan bounced off a defender as the ball arrived in the box, spun around and left-footed it into the top far corner from 16 yards. The Crew outshot New York City, 11-5, with seven shots on goal to three for New York City. Eloy Room recorded three saves for Columbus. Sean Johnson had six saves for New York City.

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