PASSO STELVIO – The Italian National skiing programme was suspended and the 180 members of the team were stuck in the Livrio hotel waiting the results of their tests, after a swab test found three positives in the group, two of which were asymptomatic, and one of which recorded feverish symptoms and had to be immediately transported to the hospital in Sondalo, where he collapsed, according to a statement from the Italian Winter Sports Federation (Federsci). Amongst the group in lockdown are Sofia Goggia, Italian alpine ski racer Olympic gold medalist; Federica Brignone, the first Italian female skier to win the 2020 World Cup title; and Marta Bassino, the promising Italian skier who made her World Cup debut at the age of 18.
On Sunday, training was suspended to carry out swab tests, with training planned to resume Monday. The person rushed to hospital was a technician, who had been given a swab test after displaying mild flu symptoms which were then later confirmed as a case of Covid-19, reports Il Fatto Quotidiano.
In a separate statement, Federsci stated that some information had been filtered in a “distorted way through some websites,” and emphasised that they had strictly applied health protocols drawn up by management.
“The technician is now well and the tests showed no further symptoms of any kind.”
BERGAMO – In pole position, Juventus watched on as challengers Intern Milan drew and dark horse Lazio lost on Wednesday, with Lazio falling short against Atalanta in a breath-taking 3-2 defeat in their first game after the lengthy pause in the Serie A due to the coronavirus lockdown.
In the first half Lazio played precision football, with talismanic striker Simone Inzaghi in terrific form. However, after taking an early 2-0 lead through an own goal from Atalanta a Lazio wonder goal from outside the box, they squandered several chances to go 3-0 up, and left Atalanta with a chance of a deadly second wave comeback.
A header from Robin Gosesns, a scorcher from Ruslan Malinovskiy, and another header from José Luis Palomino, bore the fruits of a colossal Atlanta comeback.
Only four points off Juventus and with 11 remaining games to play, Lazio still have time to recover from the setback.
By comparison, Inter Milan threw away their lead with a stodgy display, falling short in a shock 3-3 draw with Sassuolo, who scored late on in the final minute of the match with a scrappy goal from substitute Giangiacomo Magnani.
In a back and forth match, Sassuolo had taken an early lead through Francesco Caputo. Inter then took the lead through a Lukaku penalty and a goal from Christiano Biragi after a neat period of play just before half time. An Inter goal and a Sassuolo penalty levelled the scores again late in the final minutes.
Inter are now eight points from the top of the table. Inter Milan Manager, Antonio Conte, spoke to reporters after the match, and said: “I think we deserved much more considering how much we created.”
The match reflects Inter Milan’s error strewn season, wasteful in front of goal and prone to lapses in concentration in defence, traits which have led to their elimination from the Champions League and the Italian Cup, and now possibly their Serie A chances too.
SIENA – Alex Zanardi, the Italian paralympic champion and ex professional race car driver, has spent a third night in hospital in a medically induced coma after a devastating accident in Pienza for which he required neurosurgery, reports Il Fatto Quotidiano. An investigation into the collision is underway, and disconfirms the hypothesis that Zanardi had been on his phone at the time of the accident. Zanardi’s helmet is said to have slipped off in the collision, and he beat his head violently against the metal over the mudguard and then the asphalt, reports Il Messaggero.
On Friday, Zanardi, 53, crashed into a truck while he was racing at the Obiettivo Tricolore relay, and was helicoptered to Sienese university hospital, where his “neurological condition remains serious," according to the hospital bulletin as quoted in Il Sole 24 Ore.
The truck driver is one Marco Ciacci, 44, and he was driving slowly and in his lane at the time. Carabinieri investigators, led by Major Roberto Vergato, aim to shed light as to why Zanardi lost control, reports Il Fatto Quotidiano.
In an interview with Corriere Della Sera, journalist Maestrini recounted that the racers were preceded by a local police car, but that this was not enough to prevent a collision with the oncoming vehicle, after which the bike overturned on the left side and Maestrini heard Zanardi screaming in pain.
Zanardi briefly competed in Formula One, claiming two championships for IndyCar and NASCAR team owner Chip Ganassi, and also had 15 victories in the Championship Auto Racing Teams (CART) series. Zanardi lost both his legs in a crash in 2001 while competing at the EuroSpeedway Lausitz in Germany, reports autoweekly.
The Italian Prime Minister, Giuseppe Conte, tweeted in support: “you never gave up and with your extraordinary strength of mind you have overcome a thousand difficulties. Come on Alex Zanardi, do not give up.”
NAPLES – A World Health Organisation (WHO) representative spoke out against the thousands of people on the street of the Campania capital during the coronavirus crisis, as they celebrated the Azzurri victory over Juventus to claim the Italian Cup, with the pictures shown on Italian television. Ranieri Guerra, deputy director of the WHO, said in a radio interview that “at this moment we cannot afford it, luckily it happened in Naples, where governor and mayor have implemented rigid measures and the incidence of the virus is lower than elsewhere,” as quoted from Il Messaggero.
“I am happy for Gattuso and for Naples but something did not work,” commented the leader of the League and ex Minister of the Interior, Matteo Salvini, as quoted in Il Messaggero.
The mayor of Naples, Luigi De Magistris, said that on “Wednesday evening the contagion of happiness won,” in the aftermath of the celebrations in which people were filmed embraced each other in tightly packed streets.
Italian journalist and director of the La7 news, Enrico Mentana, responded to the comments of the WHO assistant director and the mayor of Naples, by taking the side of those who wanted to celebrate. Although gatherings were risky, Mentana said that he too would have gone out to celebrate if he had been a Napoli fan, and that "football without celebration is a Playstation game," as quoted in Corriere Della Sera.
ROME – Napoli earned a first major trophy in six seasons after beating a subdued Juventus 4-2 on penalties in the Coppa Italia final, after a goalless 90 minute tussle in the empty Sadio Olimpico. It was Napoli manager Gennaro Gattuso’s first trophy, and was also the first to be claimed following the coronavirus pandemic. In Naples, there were fireworks and singing in the streets in celebration.
The first half saw two early chances from both teams, with Juve superstar Ronaldo having a low strike saved, and with Napoli’s Insieme curling a dangerous free kick which hit the woodwork from outside the box. Both sides had spells of sustained pressure, but the half ended goalless.
A cagey second half meant both sides took more long shots in an effort to break the deadlock. The closest effort arrived in extra time through Nikola Maksimović, whose header from a corner was low and hard but saved off the line by Juve keeper Buffon, then spilled, and then slammed off the woodwork from point blank range from Elif Elmas
After a turgid 90 minutes were up, the Coppa Italia final went straight to penalties, avoiding the usual extra time, eliminated in order to reduce the minutes the teams had to play in view of the extraordinary circumstances, reports Il Post.
Paulo Dybala took Juve’s first, which was saved, before next up Danilo Luiz da Silva blazed his high over the bar, two errors that cost Juve the match, as Napoli dispatched their penalties and Arkadiusz Milik scored the winning spot-kick.
“It was a well-deserved cup,” said Gioia Meret, the Napoli keeper. “I am proud to be part of this group." Meret also paid tribute to Gianluigi Buffon, Juve’s veteran keeper whose performance kept them in the race.
This was the third time the Azzurri have won a final at the Olimpico, after triumphing in 2012 against Juventus, and in 2014 against Fiorentina, reports La Repubblica.