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Torino and Parma play out draw in Serie A return

Milan (AFP) – Andrea Belotti missed a penalty as Serie A resumed on Saturday after a three-month coronavirus shutdown with his side drawing 1-1 at home with Parma.

Juraj Kucka grabbed a point for the visitors with his 31st-minute leveller after Nicolas Nkoulou had nodded the hosts ahead after quarter of an hour.

The match behind closed doors at Turin’s Stadio Olimpico was the first to kick off in Italy’s top flight since March 9.

But the first game in 103 days got off to a false start with a deflated ball having to be replaced after five seconds.

Before kick-off players and referees formed a circle to observe a minute’s silence for the victims of COVID-19, which has killed over 34,500 people in Italy.

Torino had a message on their shirts for health care workers: “Thanks to all our heroes.”

Cameroon defender Nkoulou took the knee after heading in the opening goal, paying tribute to American George Floyd, whose death at the hands of police in Minnesota sparked worldwide protests over racial and social injustice.

But Parma were soon on level terms with Ivory Coast forward Gervinho setting up Kucka to blast in the equaliser 16 minutes later.

Parma could thank goalkeeper Luigi Sepe for their point when, after already Simone Zaza at close range, the Italian stopper then pushed away Belotti’s spot-kick just three minutes after the break.

Torino ended a six-match league losing streak with their first point since January 12, but stay 15th with Parma climbing to seventh place.

Four postponed games take place this weekend with Verona hosting Cagliari later Saturday.

On Sunday, Atalanta hosting Sassuolo and Inter Milan facing Sampdoria at the San Siro.

Champions Juventus return to their quest for a ninth consecutive title at Bologna on Monday, days after their Italian Cup final defeat to Napoli.

Maurizio Sarri’s side hold a one-point lead on second-placed Lazio, while Inter Milan are third, nine points adrift of the leaders.

In the battle for Champions League places Atalanta are fourth, three points ahead of Roma, with Napoli sixth a further six points adrift.

At the bottom of the table SPAL and Brescia occupy the last two places and look destined to play in Serie B next season.

But five teams look set to battle to avoid the final relegation berth with just three points between Udinese in 14th position and 18th-placed Lecce.

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