Inter and president Steven Zhang have donated €100,000 to coronavirus research, the Serie A club announced.

The Nerazzurri are donating to the Department of Biomedical and Clinical Sciences at the Sacco Hospital in Milan to help combat the outbreak.

It comes as the coronavirus wreaks havoc after the announcement that Serie A and all other sporting events in Italy will take place behind closed doors until April 3 following a government decree.

Serie A matches have been called off over the past two weekends, along with the midweek Coppa Italia semi-finals.

"Inter has an indissoluble bond with the city of Milan and is proud of the dedication with which all the staff of the Sacco Hospital are dealing with the exceptional situation," said President Steven Zhang.

"Since the beginning of the Coronavirus emergency we have followed with particular attention and apprehension the evolution of the situation, both as a Club and as a shareholder, stressing in all locations as the only priority was public health and safety.

"It is for this reason that FC Internazionale Milano feels the duty to support the Sacco Hospital."

There are 2,502 confirmed cases of the virus in Italy, with 80 deaths.

There have been 3,199 fatalities worldwide.

 

 

The coronavirus crisis continues to play havoc with Italian football after a scheduled Lega Serie A Emergency Assembly failed to go ahead on Wednesday.

Only nine top-flight clubs had officials in attendance at the league council, with 14 needed for it to be considered an Assembly.

An informal meeting was held among those who did attend, lasting around three hours, with reports suggesting the favoured approach is to play forthcoming fixtures behind closed doors.

A report from Italian news agency ANSA suggested the government is to impose a ban on sporting events for 30 days, although football matches may still be allowed to take place without fans in attendance.

Italian sports minister Vincenzo Spadafora told reporters the government is heading towards "this type of measure" after the culmination of a separate meeting among officials.

The schedule for Italian football has been plunged into crisis, with several league fixtures having been postponed over the past two weekends, including the Derby d'Italia that was due to take place on Sunday.

The Coppa Italia semi-final second-leg fixtures between Juventus and Milan, and Napoli and Inter have also been called off, with no rearranged date yet confirmed.

ANSA said there have been 2,263 confirmed positive cases of coronavirus in Italy, with 80 people having died.

Inter's Coppa Italia semi-final, second-leg at Napoli has become the latest fixture to be postponed as a result of the coronavirus crisis engulfing Italian football.

Juventus' Coppa tie at Milan, which was originally due to take place on Wednesday, was called off and the fixture between Napoli and Inter scheduled for Thursday at Stadio San Paolo will now also not take place, according a report from Italian news agency ANSA.

Italian football is enduring chaos with its schedule due to the threat of the spread of coronavirus, of which there have been 2,263 confirmed positive cases in the nation with 80 people having died.

Several Serie A fixtures have been postponed over the past two weekends, including the Derby d'Italia between Juve and Inter, which was due to take place last Sunday.

ANSA reported the government will implement measures to cancel all sporting events for 30 days, although football matches may yet be allowed to take place behind closed doors.

Inter lost the first leg 1-0 at San Siro, with Fabian Ruiz scoring the winner for Napoli. 

Giuseppe Marotta says Inter will adapt to whatever decision is made regarding their Coppa Italia semi-final with Napoli, while Serie A could be plunged into further chaos amid reports sporting events may be banned in Italy for a month as part of measures to tackle the spread of coronavirus.

Juventus' Coppa second leg against Milan, which was due to take place on Wednesday, has already been called off and Inter's fixture at Napoli's Stadio San Paolo on Thursday has also reportedly been postponed. 

Inter CEO Marotta, speaking prior to a Serie A assembly on Wednesday, said he was unaware of any official decision.

"We don't know anything yet," he said in quotes reported by TuttoMercatoWeb. "We will adapt to what they decide."

Italian news agency ANSA has reported government measures may include a ban on sporting events for 30 days, though football matches could potentially be played behind closed doors.

ANSA said there are now 2,263 positive cases in Italy, with 80 people in the country having died from coronavirus.

Serie A has already seen its schedule hugely affected, with several fixtures having been postponed over the past two weekends – including Juve's Derby d'Italia against Inter, which had been set to take place on Sunday.

An emergency assembly of the league began early on Wednesday with a view to determining fresh measures.

Juventus' Coppa Italia semi-final second leg with Milan in Turin has been postponed due to fears over the spread of coronavirus.

After a Prime Ministerial Decree outlined restrictions imposed on sporting events across the country until March 8 on Sunday, Juve v Milan had initially been set to go ahead on Wednesday without fans from the most affected regions.

However, following a meeting attended by Turin mayor Chiara Appendino, prefect Claudio Paolomba, club representatives and local ministries on Tuesday, the decision was taken to stop the match from going ahead altogether, with the two teams all square at 1-1 from the first leg.

A Juventus statement read: "The game has been postponed to a date yet to be confirmed, as announced by Lega Serie A, after taking action from the order of the Prefecture of Turin n.14801 / 2019 / Area1 of 3 March 2020, which was issued after today's [Tuesday] meeting came to a conclusion."

The Serie A champions' Derby d'Italia against Inter was one of five Serie A fixtures postponed over the weekend, with the games having originally been scheduled to take place behind closed doors before being moved to May 13.

Media reports now claim the Italian government is considering postponing all sporting events for a month to mitigate the impact of coronavirus' in Europe's worst-affected country.

The virus has reportedly infected more than 2,500 people in Italy, with 79 having died.

Cristiano Ronaldo has confirmed his mother is "stable and recovering in hospital" following reports she suffered a stroke.

The Juventus forward did not train with the Serie A champions on Tuesday and was said to have returned to Madeira due to his mother falling ill.

Coach Maurizio Sarri confirmed Ronaldo could miss Wednesday's Coppa Italia semi-final second leg with Milan due to a "personal problem", but he did not offer any further information.

But Ronaldo has since addressed the situation on his official Twitter account, thanking fans for messages of support as he confirmed his mother is in hospital.

"Thank you for all your messages of support for my mum," Ronaldo's tweet read. "She is currently stable and recovering in hospital.

"Me and my family would like to thank the medical team looking after her, and kindly ask that we are all given some privacy at this time."

Cristiano Ronaldo could miss Juventus' Coppa Italia semi-final second-leg tie against AC Milan due to a "personal problem".

The Portugal star did not train with his team-mates on Tuesday amid reports he has flown home to Madeira as his mother has suffered a stroke.

Juve coach Maurizio Sarri said his availability for the game with Milan at Allianz Stadium is still unknown, while admitting there is "no substitute" for the superstar forward.

"Cristiano is experiencing a personal problem and his availability tomorrow depends on this," head coach Sarri told a news conference. 

"It is clear that the possible absence of Cristiano can change the tactical plans: there is no substitute in the world for him."

Sarri added a further squad update, saying: "We don't have any big problems with regards to injuries but only small ailments: Chiellini went through a personal programme and Gianluigi Buffon trained as normal.

"Sami Khedira is progressing and if he is to take to the field, it will be for a small portion of the game. 

"Douglas Costa could also play a part as his condition is improving."

Milan, who drew the home leg 1-1 after Ronaldo scored a last-minute penalty, did not include goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma in their squad list, with the Italy international reportedly out with an ankle injury.

"We are not interested in who Milan have or don't have. If we step out there and prove our worth, we won't have any problems reaching the final," Sarri said.

"You can see they are a solid squad and ready to sacrifice themselves for the collective. Milan are not an easy team to face."

Italian football is set for another weekend of uncertainty due to fears over the spread of the coronavirus.

A Prime Ministerial Decree on Sunday outlined restrictions imposed on sporting events across the country until March 8, with a knock-on effect for Serie A and the Coppa Italia.

The decree extended the ban on "sporting activities" in the regions of Lombardy, Veneto and Emilia Romagna, along with the provinces of Savona and Pesaro-Urbino, with Serie A announcing earlier on Sunday that an emergency assembly has been called for Wednesday to discuss the ramifications.

Juventus confirmed their Coppa Italia semi-final second leg against rivals Milan will go ahead but fans from the aforementioned regions are not permitted to attend.

The champions' Derby d'Italia against Inter was one of five Serie A fixtures postponed over the weekend, with the games having originally been scheduled to take place behind closed doors before being moved to May 13.

However, that decision has since been cast into doubt with the clubs seemingly not having agreed to the scheduling. 

A sixth game, Sampdoria's clash with Hellas Verona, which was due to take place on Monday was also called off, while the Coppa Italia final was moved back by a week to May 20.

The virus has reportedly infected more than 1,600 people in Italy, with 34 having died.

Maurizio Sarri said Juventus' "growth has stalled" but the under-fire head coach is not worried after the Serie A champions snatched a draw against Milan in the Coppa Italia.

Cristiano Ronaldo's controversial 90th-minute penalty saw Juve escape with a 1-1 draw away to 10-man Milan in the first leg of their semi-final showdown on Thursday.

Coming off a shock defeat at Hellas Verona, which allowed Inter to move top of the Serie A table last week, Juve were far from their best again as Milan impressed.

Ante Rebic's 61st-minute opener looked set to be enough for Milan to secure first-leg honours, until Davide Calabria was harshly penalised for a handball at the death – Ronaldo making no mistake from the spot.

Juve have only won one of their past four matches in all competitions but Sarri is not unconcerned as pressure mounts amid links to former coach Massimiliano Allegri.

"I am not worried, as the only real worries in life are your health. It seems a normal phase to be going through, it's unthinkable for a team to be in a continual ascent," Sarri told Rai Sport.

"This is a sport and so much depends on the physical and psychological conditions of so many players.

"Our growth has stalled a little in the last three weeks, we concede avoidable goals. Having said that, we've conceded only three more than the best defence in Serie A, so it's not that much of an issue."

Sarri added: "We did better in terms of our passing and playing out from the back but were lacking in the final third. It's a process and we are continuing.

"We have conceded some avoidable goals, for example today the cross was quite slow and - in my view - easy to defend. We were coming off a bad performance in Verona, but picked up a positive result, especially as it's the first leg."

Juve – 13-time Coppa Italia winners – will welcome Milan to Turin for the return leg on March 4.

Stefano Pioli was angered by the late awarding of a penalty to Juventus as his Milan side had to settle for a frustrating 1-1 draw in the Coppa Italia semi-final first leg at San Siro.

Ante Rebic's volley just after the hour deservedly put Milan ahead and preceded a red card for Rossoneri full-back Theo Hernandez.

It took until injury time for Juve to make the most of the extra man with Davide Calabria harshly pinged for blocking Cristiano Ronaldo's acrobatic effort with his arm in the area.

Ronaldo rifled in the spot-kick, but head coach Pioli felt the decision does not marry with a separate incident in a fixture between Cagliari and Brescia earlier in the season, which he says referees said should not have been awarded.

Speaking to Rai, Pioli said: "I got angry first and foremost because there was a foul on Zlatan Ibrahimovic earlier in the move. 

"Plus I remember the referees showed footage of that Cagliari-Brescia penalty at the start of the season and said it was an error to award it because the player couldn't see the ball.

"Here the situation is the same as Calabria couldn't see it. Alberto Cerri, in that situation, jumped and could not just cut his arms off, you have to use your arms when jumping."

Pioli, who saw Milan denied on several occasions by veteran goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon, believes his team can be proud of their performance though.

"I told the players to leave the pitch without regrets. I can say, they will have no regrets. I am very proud of their performance, so are the Milan fans," he added.

"We wanted to get the victory, we were in a strong position to do so, but this is just the first leg and we'll try to do even better in the second."

Cristiano Ronaldo scored a last-gasp penalty to earn Juventus a scarcely deserved 1-1 draw against 10-man Milan in Thursday's Coppa Italia semi-final first leg at San Siro.

It was the prolific Portugal forward's athletic effort that struck the arm of Davide Calabria to earn the spot-kick, awarded after a VAR check, and he duly rifled home in added time.

Prior to the late drama, Milan had made the breakthrough just after the hour. Having been thwarted on several occasions by veteran Gianluigi Buffon, Ante Rebic finally scored before Theo Hernandez was sent off for a second bookable offence.

The Rossoneri were made to rue their missed chances, however, and face a tricky task in Turin to reach the final at the expense of Juve, who have a huge table-topping clash with Inter and a Champions League last-16 first-leg tie in Lyon among their fixtures before the return clash.

The Coppa Italia semi-final between Milan and Juventus will pit two of the greatest goalscorers of the modern era against each other.

Milan's Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Juve's Cristiano Ronaldo are set to renew acquaintances when San Siro plays host to Thursday's first leg.

Both Ibrahimovic and Ronaldo are in the latter stages of their careers, but the prospect of them sharing the pitch still adds an extra layer of intrigue to the occasion.

Here we look back at the previous meetings between two of world football's most feared finishers.

 

2009: Inter 0-0 Manchester United, Manchester United 2-0 Inter

Ronaldo got the better of Ibrahimovic and Inter in the last 16 of the Champions League as, after a goalless draw at San Siro in the first leg, the Portugal great headed United's second goal of the return to secure their progression.

2009: Barcelona 1-0 Real Madrid

Ibrahimovic left Inter for Barca at the end of the 2008-09 season, while Ronaldo made a then world-record move to Madrid following United's Champions League final loss to the Blaugrana. CR7 would again be frustrated by Barca as Ibrahimovic wrote his name into Clasico folklore with a superb far-post volley from Dani Alves' perfectly placed right-wing cross.

2010: Real Madrid 2-0 Milan, Milan 2-2 Real Madrid

Though Ibrahimovic lasted only one season at Camp Nou, he renewed acquaintances with Ronaldo in the Champions League group stages. Ronaldo set in motion a victory for Madrid at the Santiago Bernabeu with a low free-kick from the edge of the area, but both players were held in check at San Siro in an entertaining draw.

2013: Portugal 1-0 Sweden, Sweden 2-3 Portugal

The second leg of the World Cup qualifying play-off between Sweden and Portugal proved unquestionably the best encounter featuring Ronaldo and Ibrahimovic so far, as they each delivered their best with a place in Brazil on the line. 

Ronaldo earned Portugal a 1-0 advantage in the first leg, and looked to have given them complete command of the tie five minutes into the second half in Solna. Ibrahimovic, though, turned the tie around with a headed equaliser followed by a rasping free-kick, only for Ronaldo to have the final say by superbly finishing off a counter and then emphatically converting from Joao Moutinho's throughball.

2015: Paris Saint-Germain 0-0 Real Madrid, Real Madrid 1-0 Paris Saint-Germain

The most recent meetings between the two featured no such fireworks as Madrid and PSG largely cancelled each other out across two Champions League group stage encounters, with Nacho scoring the goal that ultimately proved decisive in Los Blancos topping the group.

The Italian Post Office delivered a stern rebuke to Maurizio Sarri after the Juventus head coach said he would have taken a job at the postal service if he wanted to avoid pressure.

Sarri has come under fire following Juve's shock defeat to Hellas Verona last week, which allowed Serie A rivals Inter to move top of the table on goal difference.

There have also been reports former boss Massimiliano Allegri could be brought back to Turin, where ex-Chelsea and Napoli coach Sarri is only in his first season at the helm.

Preparing for Thursday's Coppa Italia semi-final first leg at Milan, Sarri was asked about the pressure and he told reporters, "If I hadn't wanted to be under scrutiny, I would have applied to work at the post office."

Those comments angered the Italian Post Office, which furiously hit back on Wednesday.

The statement read: "With regards to the comment by Maurizio Sarri, 'If I had wanted to avoid tough tests I'd have worked at the Post Office', Poste Italiane invite Mr Sarri to dedicate a few minutes of his precious time to educate himself on the fact the Post Office is the biggest company in the country.

"It is chosen by young graduates as one of the most attractive companies to work for, that it is recognised among the top 500 companies in the world for quality of working life, that it has one of the best performances on the stock exchange in 2019 and is in third place, on the global scale, among Italian companies for image and reputation.

"The tests therefore – contrary to what Mr Sarri maintains – are certainly there for Post Office staff and the company answers to citizens, businesses and public administrations.

"We invite him to view our daily work in person at one of our 15,000 operative offices."

 

Antonio Conte feels Inter's derby victory over Milan took away a lot of "nervous" energy as his side fell to a limp Coppa Italia semi-final first-leg loss at home to Napoli.

The Nerazzurri fought back to defeat their rivals 4-2 in a barnstorming Serie A encounter on Sunday.

It was a different story on this occasion, though, as Inter struggled to get out of second gear and succumbed to a 1-0 loss thanks to Fabian Ruiz's excellent second-half strike.

Speaking to Rai after the game, head coach Conte said: "The derby took away a lot of energy, especially nervous. 

"I made five changes from Sunday to bring in fresh legs, but Napoli beat Juventus, Lazio and Liverpool this season, so that means they've got quality there. 

"I'd say that, after Juventus, Napoli have the most impressive squad in Serie A.

"Gennaro Gattuso was smart to sit back, wait and go on the counter. We had the chances and it would've been a fair result if we had played out a draw.

"When you're up against defensive teams like this, you have to move the ball around faster and create spaces.

"We are at the start of this journey, so if some think we are at the same level as a side that was at the top for many years, then I say we're a long way off and have to use these defeats to improve."

Christian Eriksen was again only among the Inter substitutes, with Conte explaining the Denmark playmaker is still finding his best form after being in and out of Tottenham's team.

"He is certainly a player of quality, he needs to rediscover that intensity, seeing as he hasn't played much in the last six months," the ex-Italy boss said of Inter's January arrival.

Fabian Ruiz's fine effort earned Napoli a potentially crucial 1-0 victory over Inter in Wednesday's Coppa Italia semi-final first leg.

The Spain midfielder lit up an otherwise turgid San Siro affair with a finish right out of the top drawer shortly before the hour in Milan.

It proved the decisive moment against an Inter side – playing just three days on from beating Milan in the derby – lacking in creativity and Antonio Conte's men will have to show more in a huge Serie A clash with Lazio on Sunday.

Napoli have been well off the pace in the league but Gennaro Gattuso will take heart from a resolute defensive display that sets them up well for the return tie on March 5.

Dries Mertens scooped over from 20 yards during a drab opening, in which Lautaro Martinez should really have done better with a free header from Cristiano Biraghi's floated left-wing cross.

Daniele Padelli made a fine one-on-one stop when Mertens slipped in Giovanni Di Lorenzo, with Napoli's protests that the follow-up was handled by Stefan de Vrij going unheard.

Inter, as in the first half, attempted to play on the front foot without troubling David Ospina early in the second period – aside from a decent header from Romelu Lukaku that the keeper held with ease.

The game needed a flash of brilliance and Fabian delivered in the 57th minute, playing a neat one-two with Di Lorenzo before bending a fine left-footed effort past a despairing Padelli.

An equaliser almost arrived during a mad scramble 15 minutes from time where Lukaku and Christian Eriksen each nearly beat Ospina, who gratefully smothered the ball.

Eriksen  and Alexis Sanchez provided some impetus off the bench and fellow substitute Danilo D'Ambrosio almost prodded Lukaku's last-minute flick-on past Ospina but Inter paid the price for a largely toothless display.

What does it mean? Big few weeks for Inter on the horizon

Inter may be leading Serie A but before they play Napoli again the Nerazzurri face Lazio, Sampdoria and Juventus in the league and a Europa League last-32 double header with Ludogorets. Chasing this tie at the culmination of that run is not ideal. 

Fab by name...

In a game lacking in prolonged quality, it was left to Fabian to steal the headlines with his wonderful goal. It was reward for a disciplined performance in midfield.

'King' Lukaku and Martinez struggle

Lukaku declared "there is a new king in town" after scoring in Inter's derby beating of Milan. There is no denying the impact he has had at Inter but there was little regal about his performance on a frustrating evening. Martinez had a couple of decent opportunities and was also ineffective.

What's next?

Inter return to Serie A action with mouth-watering showdown at fellow title challengers Lazio on Sunday, the same day Napoli travel to Cagliari.

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