Italian soccer resumes in silence, Juventus reaches final

Italian soccer resumes in silence, Juventus reaches final

TURIN, Italy — Soccer finally resumed in Italy in a surreal atmosphere as Juventus drew with 10-man AC Milan 0-0 on Friday to reach the Italian Cup final on the away goals rule.

The first leg finished 1-1 in Milan before the coronavirus forced the season to be suspended on March 9.

Napoli hosts Inter Milan in the other semifinal second leg on Saturday.

The final will be on Wednesday in Rome.

Cristiano Ronaldo missed a penalty and Juventus dominated, although quality was clearly lacking in both teams following the lengthy hiatus.

Exactly 100 days after they were meant to play, the teams took to the field in Turin. Just as for every previous home game, the Allianz Stadium announcer introduced the home team with a booming “Ladies and gentlemen … Juventus Football Club.”

Only, this time, there was a resounding silence.

The catchy Juventus anthem which is normally sung enthusiastically by 40,000 fans holding their scarves above their heads was played loudly over the tannoy, but also greeted by silence.

Juventus and Milan walked out separately into the eerie setting and, somewhat ironically, held a minute’s silence for the more than 34,000 known people who have died from COVID-19 in Italy. That was immediately followed by applause for healthcare workers.

There was also a show of support for the Black Lives Matter movement: Milan’s warmup jerseys bore the words and Juventus wore ones with the words “No racism.”

New rules limit the maximum number of people in stadiums to 300, including the teams, officials and media. The absence of fans meant the players’ voices could clearly be heard and they echoed inside the cavernous stadium, as did the applause and jeers from the team benches, most noticeably for the penalty incident in the 15th minute.

The penalty was awarded on video review for a handball by Andrea Conti. Cheers from the Juventus bench turned to groans as Ronaldo fired the spot kick onto the base of the left post.

The Milan bench loudly celebrated but, before they could even retake their seats, they saw forward Ante Rebic sent off for a high challenge on Juventus defender Danilo.

Milan had struggled beforehand and, with the dismissal of Rebic, lost its only real goalscorer. Zlatan Ibrahimovic was absent through suspension.

There was a heightened level of security outside Allianz Stadium but, on a drizzly night in Turin, there were a handful of fans to welcome the Juventus team bus, including one supporter who had driven from Bergamo, nearly 200 kilometres (120 miles) away.

“I wanted to see the team a bit, seeing as it’s been four months that we haven’t seen them. To give my support from outside,” 47-year-old labourer Massimiliano Balduzzi said before leaving to watch the match in his hotel room.

“Unfortunately we can’t go in because of everything that’s happened. Let’s hope they open the stadium as soon as possible, I see it as being hard but we all need to have patience.”

After the cup final, Serie A will restart on June 20.

___

More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

Daniella Matar, The Associated Press

soccer

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Genetic detectives begin work to trace spread of COVID-19 in Canada

The kinds of genetic technology being used for this project did not exist when SARS hit Canada in 2003

Quebec police continue search for father, one day after missing girls found dead

Bodies were found in a wooded area of Quebec City suburb

Tootoo says Edmonton team name discussion should centre on feelings of Inuk people

Tootoo says Edmonton team name discussion should centre on feelings of Inuk people

Red Deer up to 4 active COVID-19 cases

Province announced 77 new confirmed cases across Alberta Friday

Two young Wetaskiwin men are tackling chores for strangers—for free

“We’ve just been wanting to spread love as much as we can.”

QUIZ: Are you ready for a summer road trip?

How much do you really know about roads, motor vehicles and car culture? Take this quiz to find out.

How Conservative leadership hopefuls would address the WE scandal if they win

The ethics commissioner has been called in to see if Trudeau broke conflict-of-interest law

With debt, deficit numbers out, experts say Liberals need plan for growth

Borrowing will push the federal debt past $1 trillion by the end of the fiscal year

Pedestrian-only downtown a hit with residents as St. John’s adapts to pandemic

‘The city really got this right this time. We’re very happy’

Bosnian-Canadians mark 25th anniversary of Srebrenica massacre

‘It’s sad for a child to think that it’s normal, actually, to … have family members killed’

PODCAST: COVID-19 and the US Election

The Expert welcomes Burman University Political Scientist Marc Froese

Sylvan Lake RCMP continue search for missing man

43-year-old Steven Hull’s last known whereabouts were in the Sylvan Lake area on May 28

Most Read