Connect with us

Sports

COVID-19: Relegation Destined Serie A Club’s Boss Wants Season Cancelled

Published

on

 

The head of an Italian football club based at the heart of the coronavirus pandemic in Brescia said it was time to cancel the Serie A season because of “the plague”.

The top Italian league’s basement dwellers are destined for relegation — should the matches ever play out to their logical end in May.

No ball has been kicked in anger in the football-mad country since March 9 because of an outbreak that bore down on Italy from China last month.

The nation of 60 million is under a lockdown that could well run for many more weeks.

Schools are not expected to reopen until after the summer. Stores may be shuttered for many weeks. The government ordered huge factories to suspend their operations Saturday night.

Yet some Italian clubs with title aspirations are thinking of resuming practise in preparation for possible matches behind closed doors.

The idea created understandable interest in an Italian sports media market starved of anything to write about — or debate.

It also prompted Brescia president Massimo Cellino to bluntly tell those thinking of playing during a national crisis that has killed close to 5,000 people in Italy to focus on saving lives.

“Life first. Life, damn it,” the 63-year-old businessman told the Corriere dello Sport in a frank interview.

“Everything has to be moved to the next season. It is time for realism, gentlemen. This is the plague,” Cellino said.

– ‘Lunacy’ –
Brescia is one of the cities in Italy’s northern Lombardy region around Milan most heavily hit by the new infectious disease.

Lombardy’s death toll shot past 3,000 on Saturday.

The region’s 12-percent mortality rate among those officially infected is much higher than anything reported out of China’s Hubei province at the peak of its outbreak this year.

None of the teams based in the region have expressed an interest in playing any time soon.

This is not the case for those based around Rome or playing in southern regions that have been relatively spared in the first month of an outbreak that has now spread around the world.

The capital region’s Lazio — just a point behind perennial champions Juventus — have said they wanted to start training as early as Monday.

Italian media speculate they might postpone it until after the ban on public gatherings formally expires on Wednesday.

Sixth-placed Napoli also aired plans to start practise next week.

Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte has already indicated that all the national bans and closures will be extended for weeks if not months.

Torino club president Urbano Cairo told Italian media it was “lunacy” to be thinking about football during what Conte on Saturday called Italy’s biggest disaster since World Way II.

Cairo said clubs from region that had managed to largely avoid the outbreak were “foolish to argue (for a resumption) based on contagion data”.

Napoli’s southern Campania region has recorded only 22 deaths.

“Saying my region has no problem, when the situation is constantly changing, makes no sense,” Cairo said.

Brescia’s Cellino agreed.

“This season is finished. Anyone who wants this cursed (title), take it. It is closed. Finished,” the club president said.

And I am not saying this because Brescia are last in the standings.”

AFP

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

E-News

Iheanacho Shines As Leicester Beats Spartak Moscow 4-3

Published

on

By

 

Patson Daka scored four goals as Leicester revived their Europa League campaign by fighting back from two goals down to beat Spartak Moscow 4-3 in the Russian capital on Wednesday.

Zambia striker Daka, a close-season signing from Salzburg, became only the fifth player to score four goals in a Europa League game since the competition was rebranded from the UEFA Cup, and the first since Willian Jose for Real Sociedad in 2017.

Brendan Rodgers’ Leicester moved up to second place in Group C behind leaders Legia Warsaw, a point above third-placed Spartak.

“It’s been an amazing few days for me and the team,” Daka told BT Sport. “It was a very good effort from the team. I’m just happy I was able to help the team.”

Goals from Aleksandr Sobolev and Jordan Larsson put Spartak in control, but Daka netted his first European goal for the visitors just before half-time.

Less than three minutes after the break, Kelechi Iheanacho claimed his second assist, crossing low for Daka to tap in from close range.

Leicester, and Daka, made it three goals in the space of nine minutes when the 23-year-old slid the ball under home goalkeeper Aleksandr Maksimenko.

He completed his four-goal haul with 12 minutes remaining by picking out the corner of the net after collecting James Maddison’s pass.

That goal made Daka, who also netted in Leicester’s 4-2 win over Manchester United on Saturday, the Foxes’ all-time joint-top scorer in Europe.

Sobolev gave Spartak hope in the 86th minute, but Leicester held on.

AFP

Continue Reading

E-News

Super Falcons Beat Ghana 2-0 In AFCON Qualifier

Published

on

By

Prev1 of 2
Use your ← → (arrow) keys to browse

 

The Super Falcons of Nigeria took a two-goal lead over Ghana’s Black Queens in their Women Africa Cup of Nations qualifying fixture, thanks to a brace by Sweden-based forward Uchenna Kanu at the Mobolaji Johnson Arena on Wednesday.

The visitors had come close in the 11th minute when Grace Animah saw her fierce shot inside the box blocked by Onome Ebi for a corner. But it was much against the run of play and nine minutes later, Nigeria made pressure count when Kanu rose to meet a perfectly-weighted pull-out by Francisca Ordega and nodded past impressive goalkeeper Dumehasi Fafali.

Both teams, knowing the loser on aggregate will be without any major qualifying contest or tournament for the next two-and-half years, threw everything into the clash played behind closed doors on Lagos Island, but it was Nigeria that made the breakthrough again in the 26th minute, when Kanu rose highest in the box to meet Toni Payne’s corner kick and nodded firmly past Fafali and a clutch of watching defenders.

Former junior international Kanu could have added an assist to her impressive tally for the day when she darted past two defenders and squared for Asisat Oshoala, but Fafali foiled any intentions of the Nigeria captain.

Three minutes before recess, Grace Asantewaa unleashed from just outside the box but her shot rose far above goalkeeper Chiamaka Nnadozie’s post.

In the second half, the Black Queens did something in the mould of throwing the kitchen sink at the Super Falcons, harrying, pushing, kicking and running all over to try and reduce the tally and make the second leg in Accra something to look forward to. But veteran defender Onome Ebi, youngster Opeyemi Sunday, Glory Ogbonna and Osinachi Ohale thwarted their efforts.

Grace Asantewaa was again foiled in the 50th minute by Nnadozie, who tipped her rising shot over the sticks. Two minutes later, Oshoala darted past her marker and headed for glory, but was again stopped by Fafali.

Ghana’s captain Portia Boakye was the usual energetic warrior with an uncompromising stance and worked well with Gladys Amfobea, Janet Egyir, and Ellen Coleman to minimize the damage from the Super Falcons.

At the fore, Princella Adubea, Vivian Konadu and Nina Norshie sought vainly to unlock the Nigerian rear.

In the 82nd minute, Fafali was on hand to neutralize a plan cooked by substitute Vivian Ikechukwu, leaving the scoreline still at 2-0. And with a minute to the end, the tireless Princella Adubea waltzed her way into the Nigeria box and found herself face to face with Nnadozie, only to see her close-range bullet parried and then cleared out to safety by Ebi.

Both teams clash again on Sunday at the Accra Sports Stadium, as from 4pm Ghana time (5pm Nigeria time), with the winner on aggregate qualifying for the 12th Women Africa Cup of Nations holding in Morocco next year summer.

Prev1 of 2
Use your ← → (arrow) keys to browse

Continue Reading

Sports

Why I want To Fight Fury Before My Career Ends -Anthony Joshua

Published

on

By

Agency Report

British boxer Anthony Joshua celebrates after winning the heavyweight boxing match between Andy Ruiz Jr. and Anthony Joshua for the IBF, WBA, WBO and IBO titles in Diriya, near the Saudi capital on December 7, 2019.

Anthony Joshua has said he needs a fight against Tyson Fury “on my record” before his career is finished because boxing as a whole required at least one bout between the two British heavyweights.

Between them, the two boxers currently hold all the major versions of the heavyweight world title.

Talks of a unification ‘superfight’, which went on for months, appeared to be on the brink of ending in an agreement earlier this year only for a United States arbitrator to rule Fury had to fight Deontay Wilder for a third time.

As a result Fury, having previously drawn with and then stopped Wilder, is set to make the maiden defence of his World Boxing Council (WBC) belt against the American in Las Vegas next month.

Before then, Joshua is set to face World Boxing Organization (WBO) mandatory challenger Oleksandr Usyk in London on September 25, with a crowd of some 60,000 expected at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, the home of the Premier League club.

But Joshua, also the World Boxing Association (WBA) and International Boxing Federation (IBF) champion, knows that a fight against Fury is the contest boxing fans want to see and that a question mark will hang over his career if he does not face the ‘Gypsy King’.

“Do I need Tyson Fury on my record? I need it,” Joshua told the BBC 5 Live boxing podcast.

“We need it for boxing. It’s what we all need, I need it. Come on, let’s see how good I am.

“Fight good fighters and they bring out the best of you. Training camp is hard. To get better is very difficult in boxing. To fight Tyson Fury is a big challenge.”

Joshua added: “Let’s see how far I can take myself during this period. It’ll be a good challenge mentally. Not about him, but because I actually want to do well.

“When I wake up in the morning early and I’m tired, my body’s battered, I still go out and do what I do. It’s great rewards and only someone like Fury can give that to me.”

AFP

Continue Reading