Bologna Coach Mihajlovic Tests Positive For COVID-19

Bologna coach, Mihajlovic. Photo: Bologna website.



Bologna coach Sinisa Mihajlovic, who has undergone treatment for leukaemia since last year, tested positive for COVID-19 and is in isolation, the Serie A club announced on Sunday.

The Serbian coach is “absolutely asymptomatic”, the club said on its website.

“When he returned to Bologna on Friday, he underwent a control test for COVID-19 with positive results.”

Bologna are due to start pre-season training on Monday, but Italian football protocols mean the 51-year-old coach, whose contract has just been extended for another year until 2023, will have to remain in isolation for two weeks.

All the squad and staff must also be tested on Monday.

As players and staff return from their brief holidays, tests have already revealed cases at several clubs, all asymptomatic.

These include four players (Filip Bradaric, Luca Ceppitelli, Alberto Cerri, Kiril Despodov) at Cagliari in Sardinia, a coronavirus hot spot.

Roma’s substitute goalkeeper Antonio Mirante has also said he is positive. Sassuolo announced striker Jeremiah Boga was positive while Napoli said the same of striker Andrea Petagna. Torino reported two cases, without revealing names and Benevento also had an unnamed player test positive.

The Serie A season is due to start on September 19.


Milan Keeps Champions League Hopes Alive After Bologna Win

AC Milan’s Italian forward Fabio Borini (R) celebrates with teammates after scoring during the Italian Serie A football match AC Milan vs Bologna on May 6, 2019 at the San Siro stadium in Milan.


AC Milan revived their Champions League hopes with a 2-1 win over Bologna on Monday as tempers flared with three players sent off and a bust-up between French midfielder Tiemoue Bakayoko and coach Gennaro Gattuso on the sidelines.

Gattuso’s side moves back into fifth place, three points behind Atalanta who occupy the final Champions League berth with three games left to play this season.

Milan had dropped out of the European places after a draw against Parma and loss to Torino but now move level on points with Roma who are sixth.

Champions Juventus and second-placed Napoli are already assured of Champions League football next season but the battle for the final two berths remains tight with Inter Milan on 63 points, followed by Atalanta (62), AC Milan (59), Roma (59) and Torino (57).

READ ALSO: BREAKING: Man City Tops League With One Point After Leicester Win

Spanish winger Suso opened for Milan on 37 minutes with the game springing to life in the second half with Fabio Borini tapping in the second on 67 minutes.

Bologna’s Mattia Destro pulled one back on 72 minutes, with Milan playing the final quarter of an hour a man down after midfielder Lucas Paquetá was sent off for arguing with the referee.

In a nervy finale, Bologna finished the game with nine men with Nicola Sansone and Mitchell Dijks both sent off late.

There was also pitchside drama early when Argentine midfielder Lucas Biglia picked up an injury 25 minutes into the game at the San Siro with the Milan coach asking on-loan Chelsea player Bakayoko to start warming up.

Bakayoko — on the bench after arriving late for training — started to warm up without enthusiasm to the fury of Gattuso who instead asked another substitute, José Mauri, to come on.

Gattuso and Bakayoko were caught on camera exchanging insults with the French player saying twice “Fuck off, man” and the coach replying “I’ll see you later”.

Bakayoko joined the club on loan from Chelsea last summer with an option to buy but has been the subject of racist chanting this season several times notably from Lazio supporters.


Insigne Double Inspires Napoli, Roma Crash In Bologna

Napoli forward Lorenzo Insigne celebrates after scoring a goal during the Italian Serie A football match between Torino and Napoli at the Olimpico Grande Torino stadium, in Turin, on September 23, 2018. Alberto PIZZOLI / AFP


Lorenzo Insigne bagged a brace to inspire Napoli to a 3-1 win over Torino and join Juventus at the top of Serie A on Sunday, as Roma plunged further into crisis with a 2-0 loss at Bologna.

Carlo Ancelotti’s Napoli have 12 points from five games, equal with champions Juventus who can pull ahead again when they travel to promoted Frosinone later on Sunday.

But Roma coach Eusebio Di Francesco is under increasing pressure after a fourth league game without a win sees last year’s third-placed team slump to 12th with five points from as many games.

Federico Mattiello and Federico Santander scored in either half to give Bologna, who occupy the first relegation spot of 18th position, their first goals and win of the season.

“I’m not the type to look for excuses, I need solutions and I can not find them,” said Di Francesco.

“The facts condemn us, they condemn me.”

In Turin, Ancelotti switched things around following Napoli’s uninspiring goalless draw at Red Star Belgrade in the Champions League midweek.

Insigne played a more central role along with Dries Mertens as defender Sebastiano Luperto got his first start for the Serie A runners-up.

“I’m satisfied, we dominated in Belgrade but we couldn’t finish things off like we did today,” said Ancelotti.

“Insigne was decisive, but everyone put in a strong performance.”

The Italian international got the first after just four minutes when poor Torino defending saw Emiliano Moretti clear to Nicolas N’Koulou with the rebound favouring Insigne, who finished off under the crossbar.

Simone Verdi added the second with a half-volley on 20 minutes, with Torino pulling one back after the break when Andrea Belotti slotted in a penalty.

But Insigne restored Napoli’s two-goal lead after 59 minutes when a Jose Callejon shot bounced off the inside of the far post and into the path of the Italian forward.

It gives Napoli a boost ahead of next week’s trip to reigning seven-time champions Juventus.

“We won there last season and still finished second,” said Insigne.

“If we don’t win the midweek game with Parma, then the result with Juve is irrelevant, so we have to take it one at a time.”

Torino are in 13th position with five points from as many games.

‘No inner fire’

In Bologna, Roma plunged further into crisis after a summer which saw Di Francesco’s side lose goalkeeper Alisson to Liverpool with midfielders Radja Nainggolan and Kevin Strootman also exiting the Italian capital.

Mattiello curled in Bologna’s first goal of the season after 36 minutes with Paraguayan Santander adding the second after 59 minutes.

Roma — last year’s Champions League semi-finalists — also fell 3-0 at Real Madrid midweek, and have not won a league game since their first game against Torino.

“There’s no inner fire,” lamented the Roma coach. “Something is wrong.”

Next weekend Roma face bitter city rivals Lazio, who saw off Genoa 4-1 on Sunday with Ciro Immobile scoring a double, to move up to fifth place.

Before the derby Roma will try to boost morale against Frosinone midweek with Lazio heading to Udinese, who won 2-0 at Chievo.

Inter Milan snatched a late 1-0 win against Sampdoria in Genoa on Saturday to move up to ninth.


Pjanic Stars As Juventus Rise To Second With Win At Bologna

Miralem Pjanic (R) celebrates with teammates Douglas Costa (C), Blaise Matuidi (L) and Andrea Barzagli. Photo: ALBERTO PIZZOLI / AFP

Juventus climbed to second in Serie A after a star turn from Miralem Pjanic led the reigning champions to a comfortable win at Bologna on Sunday, while AC Milan sunk further into crisis with a loss at lowly Hellas Verona.

Massimiliano Allegri’s Juve are on 41 points, just a point behind leaders Napoli after leapfrogging Inter Milan, who suffered their first defeat of the season, 3-1 to Udinese, on Saturday.

Juventus won 3-0. Pjanic opened the scoring with a stunning 27th-minute free-kick. The Bosnian turned provider nine minutes later, clipping a beautiful pass to Mario Mandzukic that the Croat smartly chested down and stroked past Bologna keeper Antonio Mirante.

Blaise Matuidi made sure of the points in the 64th minute with his first Serie A goal, the France international crashing a clearance back past Mirante on the half volley.

“I feel good, I’m improving, the team got the three points we needed and I am happy,” midfielder Pjanic said before looking ahead to the meeting with a title rival next Saturday in Turin.

“We have to be ready for the next match against Roma. They are a very strong side and will be challenging for the Scudetto.”

The crisis enveloping another Italian giant deepened as Milan collapsed, 3-0, at Verona, for an eighth defeat of the season thanks to a powerful header from Antonio Caracciolo and two smart finishes from Moise Kean and Daniel Bessa.

Milan’s expensive squad has failed to get going in Serie A, and are languishing in seventh on just 24 points, 18 behind Napoli and 14 adrift of fourth and the final Champions League place.

— ‘No excuses’ for Milan —

“There are no excuses, we embarrassed ourselves,” said Gennaro Gattuso, the Milan manager, after the defeat.

“In the first 25 minutes we created loads of chances but they made us pay with their first opportunity.

“Up until their first goal we played well, creating plenty, but we collapsed at the first obstacle put in our way, as has happened often this season.”

Roma holds fourth and are just four points behind leader Napoli after a dramatic 1-0 win over Cagliari on Saturday, decided in the 94th-minute by Federico Fazio, whose goal had to be confirmed by the video assistant referee after Cagliari’s protested they had seen a handball.

Lazio are fifth, five behind Roma, but have played two fewer games and can close the gap in their Sunday evening game at Atalanta.

Juve have kept four straight clean sheets in the league since losing at Sampdoria last month and never looked in trouble at Bologna, despite troubled talent Paulo Dybala being left out.

Argentine Dybala was benched again by Allegri amid rumours of personal problems that have affected his form and he had something to prove when he was brought with 15 minutes left, Juve three goals up after Blaise Matuidi had made it three with his first Serie A goal in the 64th minute.

Dybala forced a smart save from Mirante but looked a shadow of the player that helped fire Juve to the Champions League final last season.

Crotone moved out of the bottom three with a 1-0 win over Chievo gained thanks to Ante Budimir’s 33rd-minute tap-in, which moves them up to 16th on 15 points.

They are two behind 15th-placed Sassuolo, who snatched a last gasp 1-0 win at Sampdoria through Alessandro Matri, who made up for Matteo Politano’s 82nd-minute penalty miss for the away side.

Ninth-placed Fiorentina are four points behind Samp after their goalless draw with fourth-from-bottom Genoa, who are just a point above the drop zone.


Bologna’s Verdi Ends Inter’s Perfect Run

Bologna's Verdi Ends Inter's Perfect Run
Simone Verdi (3rdL) celebrates after scoring against Inter Milan during the Italian Seria A match Bologna versus Inter Milan, on September 19, 2017, at Bologna’s Dall’ Ara Comunal stadium.

A frenetic first-half display by Simone Verdi ended Inter Milan’s perfect start to the Serie A season as shaven-headed skipper Mauro Icardi rescued a 1-1 draw at Bologna.

Luciano Spalletti had been looking to make it five wins from five but had to settle for just one point in Bologna.

Verdi came out firing on all cylinders with a half dozen shots at goal before the breakthrough on 32 minutes with a powerful long-range effort.

But Argentine forward Icardi — sporting a new shaven head — levelled from the spot after 77 minutes after a contested foul by Ibrahima Mbaye on Eder.

“It’s not a scandal for a team to draw,” said Spalletti.

“We were slower than usual, unable to make the ball move well in vertical lines, especially in midfield, so we gave Bologna the chance to close down our channels.”

Verdi’s was just the second goal conceded this season by Inter, who had been sitting top on maximum points alongside Napoli and Juventus after four matches.

Now with 13 points, Inter move provisionally top but champions Juventus and Napoli have the chance to pull ahead when they play Fiorentina and Lazio respectively on Wednesday.

“We knew that Bologna is a team that plays well,” said Inter striker Eder.

“There are two lost points, we will see what went wrong this week.”

Eder added: “We have to look at ourselves, not Napoli and Juventus, our goal is the Champions League and we have to fight at all costs.”

Spalletti had made just one change to the side that beat Crotone on Saturday with Japanese defender Yuto Nagatomo in for Brazilian Dalbert.

But Inter suffered in the first half with Argentine Icardi just failing to get on the end of an Ivan Perisic cross before Verdi got on the scoresheet.

Inter gained momentum after the break but failed to find a way through until the controversial foul by Mbaye on Eder which was confirmed by the video assistant referee.

Eder won the spot-kick, as he was running away from goal when Mbaye tripped and accidentally landed with his arm on the forward’s heel.

Icardi converted the penalty for his sixth goal of the season to snatch a point ahead of Sunday’s second Serie A fixture this week against Genoa in the San Siro.

“He scored tonight, so we’ll shave his head every day now,” joked Spalletti.

Bologna move up two spots to 11th as they bounced back from the weekend defeat at Fiorentina.

“We deserved something more, on the pitch we showed it,” said Verdi. “There are still many doubts about that penalty.”


Earthquake kills at least four in Northern Italy

The northern Italy region of Bologna witnessed a Sunday morning earthquake which passed as one of the strongest to shake Italy with a rattling magnitude of 6.0 which killed at least four people, toppled buildings and sent residents running into the streets according to news reports.

Seismologists say the quake which started at 4:04 a.m. Sunday between Modena and Mantova, about 35 kilometres north-northwest of Bologna at a relatively shallow depth of 5 kilometresis one of the strongest quakes to shake the region and initial television footage indicated that older buildings had suffered damage.

Church towers showed cracks and the bricks of some stone walls tumbled into the street. As dawn broke over the region, residents milled about the streets inspecting the damage.

Three people were killed in Sant’Agostino di Ferrara when a ceramics factory collapsed. Another person was killed in Ponte Rodoni do Bondeno.

Images of the collapsed ceramics factory where the two workers were reportedly killed; the structure, which appeared to be a hangar of sorts, had twisted metal supports jutting out at odd angles amid the mangled collapsed roof were shown on television.

Two other people died of apparent heart attacks in the wake of the quake.

Many people were still awake at 4 a.m. and milling about town since it was a “White Night,” with stores and restaurants open all night. Museums were supposed to have remained open as well but closed following the bombing Saturday of a school in southern Italy that killed one person.

The epicentre was between the towns of Finale Emilia, San Felice sul Panaro and Sermide but was felt as far away as Tuscany and northern Alto Adige.

The initial quake was followed about an hour later by a 5.1-magnitude temblor, USGS said. And it was preceded by a 4.1-temblor.

In late January, a 5.4-magnitude quake shook northern Italy. Some office buildings in Milan were evacuated as a precaution and there were scattered reports of falling masonry and cracks in buildings.

In 2009, a devastating temblor killed more than 300 people in the central city of L’Aquila.