Italian Football: Atalanta cruise, Inter held in Serie A as Juve-Napoli in coronavirus chaos 0

Papu Gomez extended his scoring streak to give high-flying Atalanta a third consecutive win 5-2 against Cagliari on Sunday as title rivals Inter Milan were stalled 1-1 in a bad-tempered game against Lazio in Rome where both teams finished a man down.

Champions Juventus’s clash against Napoli later on Sunday remained in doubt with the southerners having not travelled to Turin because of two coronavirus cases.

“No, everything is like Saturday,” a Napoli spokesman told AFP asked about a possible departure for Turin, hours before kickoff.

The Lega Serie A insisted all the health protocols were in place for the match to safely go ahead as scheduled for Turin at 1845 GMT.

In Bergamo, Atalanta struck hard in their first home game this season, bringing their tally to 13 goals in three games played, to sit top of the Serie A table.

But Inter dropped points for the first time this campaign despite playing 20 minutes with a player more after Lazio’s Ciro Immobile was sent off.

“The score could have been much bigger,” said Atalanta Gian Piero Gasperini.

“Now the (international) break interrupts this momentum. Hopefully we’ll pick up where we left off.”

Gasperini’s side were four goals up at the break with Luis Muriel opening after seven minute.

Gomez blasted in the second from a distance just before the half hour mark, five minutes after Uruguayan defender Diego Godin had pulled Cagliari level on his debut since moving from Inter Milan.

Mario Pasalic and Duvan Zapata also scored in a five-minute spell before the break.

Joao Pedro reduced the deficit for the Sardinians after the break but Sam Lammers marked his first home game with an impressive solo effort with nine minutes to go.

Atalanta have the maximum nine points, two ahead of Sassuolo and Inter.

In Rome, Lautaro Martinez gave Antonio Conte’s side the advantage after half an hour off a deflected Ivan Perisic effort but Sergej Milinkovic-Savic headed in the equaliser ten minutes into the second half.

Immobile was sent off after 69 minutes for hitting out at Arturo Vidal with Inter’s Stefano Sensi also seeing red with minutes to go.

Hellas Verona fell to their first defeat of the season with Jasmin Kurtic scoring after just one minute to give Parma a first win this campaign.

– Napoli risk forfeit –

In Turin, confusion reigned over whether Napoli would line out, after midfielder Eljif Elmas and Poland international Piotr Zielinski contracted the virus.

The team have not left Naples because of measures of regional health authorities, despite the Lega Serie A insisting conditions were safe.

“The protocol provides… rules, which allow the playing of league matches even in the event of a positive tests, fielding the players who tested negative,” Serie A said.

These measures are “applicable to the situation of Napoli, which has two positive players for Covid-19,” the Liga Serie A added.

The league said it had “a precise rule to be adopted in the event of multiple positives that can lead to the postponement of matches only upon the occurrence of certain conditions which, at the moment, do not apply to the case of Naples.”

Juventus confirmed they would “take to the field” as scheduled despite two positive tests among their staff with coach Andrea Pirlo naming his match-day squad.

If Napoli do not play Gennaro Gattuso’s side, who had won both their Serie A matches so far this season, would forfeit the game 3-0.

The league are applying UEFA rules that say a match can take place as long as a side have 13 healthy players, including a goalkeeper.

The only possible exemption would be a club which has an active outbreak of Covid-19 with more than ten new positive cases in a week.

In that case the club can request a postponement, but only once in the season.

Genoa’s game against Torino on Saturday was postponed with the Ligurian club, who lost 6-0 to Napoli last weekend, counting 22 cases, including 17 players.

Source: AFP