Juventus defender Daniele Rugani tested positive for the COVID-19, the disease generated by the much-famed coronavirus. Rugani is the first player from a Serie A club to be infected. Juventus and Inter issued stataments announcing that their players and staff will likely need to undergo quarantine, casting further doubts on the prosecution of their football season.
Italy was placed under a total lockdown to contain the spread of the coronavirus. With about three to four Serie A game-weeks now set to be outstanding after the suspension, what are the possible implications this may bring to the current season? According to multiple Italian media sources, there are now four possible scenarios after the ban.
Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte announced that Italy will be in a total lockdown until at least April 3 to contain the coronavirus outbreak – extending to the whole country the extreme measures originally announced yesterday for 14 provinces only. The restriction also applies to any sports activity, including the Serie A and lower divisions.
Under bizarre circumstances, Juventus and Inter played out a fan-less Derby d’Italia in Turin. With both opposing managers knowing what’s at stake, the match was very tactical. But it did have its moment of magic when Paulo Dybala scored the second goal for Juventus. Unfortunately, only the stadium lights and a few VIP’s were there to witness it live.
You know it is going to be a great game when it is dubbed a “Derby” even if the two sides don’t come from the same city. There are always huge expectations in a Juventus-Inter game, even with closed doors. Home side Juventus will likely benefit from the return of three important players, whereas Inter cannot afford to lose if they want to keep their Scudetto hopes alive.
As it stands, Lazio sit two points clear of Juventus in second place and a respectable eight off Inter in third place. Though the two big guns have games in hand, it’s no longer a far claim to ask if the Biancocelesti can win the Serie A. Indeed, the recent changes in the match program due to the coronavirus threat may end up favoring Lazio in the Scudetto race. Here is why.
A decision, finally. That’s what every football fan was waiting for, and what the Lega Serie A took to somehow get out of the stalemate caused by the coronavirus outbreak in Italy. Serie A games will be played behind closed doors until April 3. All the league games canceled last weekend, including Juventus-Inter, will be played between next Sunday and Monday.
The Lega Serie A – the governing body of the Italian football top-flight – has decided to postpone all the five games previously scheduled to be played behind closed doors this weekend due to the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak in Northern Italy. The decision applies also to the much-awaited Derby d’Italia between Juventus and Inter.
With the threat of the coronavirus spreading in Italy, five matches will be played without fans. The biggest of those is the Derby d’Italia between Juventus and Inter, which will be in an empty Allianz Stadium in Turin. Elsewhere, Lazio will hope to grab all three points against Brescia and wait on a slip up by Juventus, and Genoa face a tough encounter against Milan.
Juventus lost 0-1 to Lyon in the first leg of their Champions League knockout stage game, writing another chapter of their tormented relationship with the top European competition. The Bianconeri still have plenty of chances to qualify, but it will take a different attitude to see them past the French side in two weeks. Maurizio Sarri’s lineup was frankly a pity to watch.
With big games looming in Europe, Italian teams must be prepared to take on the continent’s best in these upcoming weeks. Napoli beat Brescia and now prepare for the visit of Lionel Messi and Barcelona, while leaders Juventus travel to Ferrara to take on bottom-of-the-league SPAL, before facing Lyon in midweek in the Champions League.
Matchday 24 of Serie A witnessed another round of net busters that were absolute crackers. Ashley Young registered his first goal with the Nerazzurri, Paulo Dybala took the free-kick duties in Ronaldo’s absence, and it took Mario Pasalic of Atalanta just 19 seconds to score his fifth goal of the campaign, and more importantly, his team’s winner against Roma.