Lazio wins as 4 Italian matches postponed due to virus

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              Lazio's Ciro Immobile celebrates after scoring his side's 2nd goal, during the Serie A soccer match between Genoa and Lazio, at the Luigi Ferrari stadium in Genoa, Italy, Sunday, Feb. 23, 2020. (Tano Pecoraro/Lapresse via AP)
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Milan (AP) — Lazio won 3-2 at relegation-threatened Genoa in one of only two matches to go ahead in Serie A on Sunday following the coronavirus outbreak.

Adam Marušić, Ciro Immobile and Danilo Cataldi scored for Lazio to ensure the capital side remained within a point of Serie A leader Juventus, which won 2-1 at Spal on Saturday.

Lazio also moved five points above third-place Inter Milan. The Nerazzurri’s match against Sampdoria was one of three Serie A soccer matches postponed on orders from the Italian government late Saturday night after the deaths of two people infected with the virus from China. A third death from the virus was reported Sunday.

The government ordered a ban on all sporting events in Lombardy and Veneto — the regions in the heart of the outbreak — and later Turin.

Atalanta vs. Sassuolo and Hellas Verona vs. Cagliari were also called off while Torino’s match at home to Parma was postponed hours before kickoff on Sunday, following new cases in Piedmont.

The only other match to go ahead on Sunday was Roma’s 4-0 win over Lecce in the capital.

The numbers of confirmed coronavirus cases in Italy soared to 152 — the largest number outside Asia. Almost all of Italy’s cases are clustered in the north, with roughly a dozen towns on lockdown — meaning that people are not allowed to enter or leave the towns’ boundaries.

Juventus, which is also based in Turin — in Piedmont — is set to host Inter next week in the return of former coach Antonio Conte. That match, and others, could now go ahead behind closed doors.

“It is right to take precautionary measures and understand where the problem starts,” Lazio coach Simone Inzaghi said. “We must not underestimate what is happening, football is moving in the right direction.

“The answer isn’t playing matches behind closed doors, because the fans are the heart of our sport. It is right to share football with the fans, we need to find an alternative solution for this problem.”

There are also concerns over Inter’s Europa League match against Ludogorets, with the second leg scheduled for Thursday in Milan. The Bulgarian side has written to UEFAto request more information about the situation..

DZEKO DELIGHT

Edin Džeko scored one goal and set up two others in Roma’s shutout of Lecce, which moved the Giallorossi within three points of fourth-place Atalanta and the final Champions League spot.

Cengiz Ünder opened the scoring 13 minutes in at the Stadio Olimpico after taking a pass from Henrikh Mkhitaryan, who then was set up by Džeko to beat onrushing goalkeeper Mauro Vigorito.

Džeko narrowly beat the offside trap to make it 3-0 then was involved in the buildup for a goal from Aleksandar Kolarov.

Some Lecce fans traveling to the game were attacked by rival Bari supporters at a highway rest stop with a van set on fire, police said.