Lazio v Torino abandoned as visitors stay away after COVID-19 positives

By Sports Desk March 02, 2021

Lazio turned up for a Serie A clash with Torino on Tuesday, but their opponents stayed away in a move that looks set to trigger a fresh dispute over how Italian football is handling the coronavirus crisis.

The Stadio Olimpico fixture had an early evening kick-off, scheduled for 18:30 local time, and home side Lazio duly arrived, with coach Simone Inzaghi announcing a team for the game.

That was already in the knowledge, however, that Torino would not be present to provide the opposition, having stayed in Turin on the advice of their local health authority after a COVID-19 outbreak.

Torino's home match against Sassuolo, due to take place last Friday, was postponed because of those cases becoming apparent.

However, Lega Serie A decided the Lazio game should go ahead, despite Italian Football Federation (FIGC) president Gabriele Gravina declaring it was an "objective impossibility" to get the match on.

Gravina, quoted in La Gazzetta dello Sport, said he understood Torino's situation to be "a full-blown force majeure" and not a spur-of-the-moment decision not to travel to Rome for the game. League chiefs, however, were not as obviously sympathetic.

A string of training sessions were postponed by Torino last week. At around the time Lazio published their team sheet for Tuesday's game, Torino posted a training update, saying players had been working individually because of the restrictions imposed by local authorities.

The Corriere dello Sport newspaper said referee Marco Piccinini declared the game abandoned at 19:15 in Rome, adding that two Lazio players were called for routine doping tests despite the fixture not being played.

It remains to be seen what steps Lega Serie A takes next, but there has been a precedent of sorts this season, when Napoli were barred from travelling to Turin to face Juventus in October.

League chiefs had turned down a request to call off the game and awarded a 3-0 victory to Juventus, also docking Napoli one point. However, the Naples side appealed to the Italian Olympic Committee's Collegio di Garanzia dello Sport - the highest sporting court in the land - and overturned the Lega Serie A decision. That game will be replayed, with March 17 reportedly a possible date.

Lazio sporting director Igli Tare told Sky Sport Italia ahead of Tuesday's intended kick-off time: "I could say many things, but I keep them to myself.

"We respected the rules and we came to the stadium. Now we will wait 45 minutes, then we will leave everything in the hands of the competent bodies.

"Would I have preferred to play? Absolutely yes."

Tare said it was not important whether he understood Torino's point of view.

"I just have to respect the rules of the Lega," he said. "We know how things stand. We are here and this is the only thing that matters."

Related items

  • Rumour Has It: PSG eyeing Kane and Salah as Bayern, Chelsea and Atletico circle Inter's Barella Rumour Has It: PSG eyeing Kane and Salah as Bayern, Chelsea and Atletico circle Inter's Barella

    Where will Kylian Mbappe be playing next season is a question being asked across Europe.

    The Paris Saint-Germain star has been tipped to join Real Madrid.

    Should Mbappe depart Paris, PSG are reportedly drawing up a list of replacements.

     

    TOP STORY – KANE AND SALAH WANTED IN PARIS

    Paris Saint-Germain have set their sights on Tottenham forward Harry Kane and Liverpool star Mohamed Salah as possible replacements for Kylian Mbappe, according to Telefoot.

    Mbappe has been heavily linked with LaLiga champions Real Madrid, though PSG remain in negotiations over a contract extension.

    While PSG are still hopeful, the Ligue 1 holders are eyeing the Premier League should Mbappe leave the French capital.

    Kane is reportedly wanted by Manchester United and Manchester City, while Salah has previously been linked with Madrid and Barcelona.

     

    ROUND-UP

    - Calciomercato reports Bayern Munich and Atletico Madrid are chasing Inter midfielder Nicolo Barella. The Sun adds Chelsea are also interested in the Italy star.

    Juventus and PSG could exchange Mauro Icardi and Paulo Dybala in a swap deal, says Corriere dello Sport. Icardi's future is up in the air, despite only joining PSG permanently from Inter last year, while countryman Dybala is reportedly nearing an exit.

    - AS Diario claims United are keeping tabs on Villarreal centre-back Pau Torres, who has also been linked with neighbours City. United have also been credited with interest in Sevilla defender Jules Kounde, RB Leipzig's Liverpool target Ibrahima Konate as well as Madrid captain Sergio Ramos and team-mate Raphael Varane.

    - Eintracht Frankfurt boss Adi Hutter is set to replace outgoing boss Marco Rose at Borussia Monchengladbach, reports Kicker. Rose is poised to take charge of Borussia Dortmund.

  • Real Betis 1-1 Atletico Madrid: Oblak on top form again as Simeone's men return to LaLiga summit Real Betis 1-1 Atletico Madrid: Oblak on top form again as Simeone's men return to LaLiga summit

    Atletico Madrid returned to the top of LaLiga, though only by a point, as they drew 1-1 with Real Betis in a thrilling encounter.

    Real Madrid leapfrogged their neighbours into top spot with Saturday's Clasico triumph over Barcelona, and in response Diego Simeone's Atletico made an ideal start against Betis on Sunday.

    Yannick Carrasco scored their quickest goal of the season, timed at four minutes and 36 seconds. However, Cristian Tello struck back for European hopefuls Betis 15 minutes later, directing a wonderful volley into the bottom-right corner.

    Chasing four home wins in a row for the first time since April 2018, Betis had the better of the second half, though Atletico goalkeeper Jan Oblak stood firm when called upon and his counterpart Claudio Bravo made a superb late stop from Angel Correa to preserve a deserved point.

    An enthralling clash started full of promise. Joao Felix's delightful flick played in Correa, who beat the onrushing goalkeeper and squeezed a neat pass into Carrasco for a simple finish into an empty net.

    Saul Niguez directed a close-range header straight at Bravo soon after, and Atleti were swiftly made to pay – Alex Moreno's cross brilliantly steered home by Tello.

    Carrasco made a vital, goal-saving challenge on Emerson as half-time approached, and the Atleti scorer was in the thick of it again as he drilled into the side-netting from the resulting counter.

    Having sustained a knock while on international duty with Portugal in March, Joao Felix was forced off injured here after a collision with Tello three minutes into the second half.

    Atleti's frustration was almost compounded when Emerson met Nabil Fekir's cross, but Oblak was alert to the full-back's header.

    Jose Gimenez made an outstanding block to deny Aitor Ruibal, but it was the ever-reliable Oblak who proved Atleti's saviour.

    Diego Lainez seemed all set to strike at the culmination of a sweeping Betis move, yet Oblak made a stunning save low to his left as Atleti went back to the top of the pile – Bravo's stoppage-time efforts at the other end denying the visitors all three points.

  • Tottenham 1-3 Manchester United: Cavani winner joy after VAR dismay Tottenham 1-3 Manchester United: Cavani winner joy after VAR dismay

    Edinson Cavani shrugged off first-half VAR disbelief to head the winner as Manchester United stretched their unbeaten Premier League away run to 23 games with a 3-1 victory over Tottenham.

    Spurs went ahead five minutes before half-time when Son Heung-min slotted home, just moments after Cavani's strike had been ruled out for a soft-looking foul by Scott McTominay on Tottenham's South Korean forward.

    United were raging about the decision, but they bounced back in style in the second period with goals from Fred, Cavani and Mason Greenwood. 

    The result moved second-placed United seven points ahead of Leicester City, who sit third, while Spurs remained in seventh, six points away from a Champions League qualification spot.

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.