Rome (AFP) – Football returned to Italy after three months away on Friday when Juventus and AC Milan kicked off in the second leg of their Italian Cup semi-final in Turin.
The match at the Allianz Stadium, on the day Italy would have kicked off Euro 2020 in Rome had the tournament not been postponed for a year, is the first competitive fixture since March in one of the countries worst affected by the coronavirus pandemic.
More than 34,000 people on the peninsula have died because of the virus since the start of the crisis, with the vast majority in northern regions like Piedmont and Lombardy which host Juve and Milan.
Both teams held a minute’s silence before kick-off for those who lost their lives to the virus before breaking out into applause for healthcare workers, three of whom were stood in the centre circle.
Juventus players warmed up before the match in T-shirts with the message “No Racism”, while Milan wore tops on with “Black Lives Matter” written on them, in solidarity with global protests over the death of George Floyd.
Cristiano Ronaldo leads the line for reigning Serie A champions Juve, who are level at 1-1 with Milan thanks to the Portuguese’s stoppage time penalty in the first leg, held at the San Siro in February.
Juve are missing captain Giorgio Chiellini, striker Gonzalo Higuain, Wales midfielder Aaron Ramsey and Turkey defender Merih Demiral.
Milan meanwhile are without injured Zlatan Ibrahimovic as they attempt to beat Juve in Turin for the first time since 2011. Forward Samu Castillejo and defender Theo Hernandez are suspended.
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