Italian soccer got another coronavirus scare this Halloween.
On Saturday, Serie A mainstay Lazio said that it put its entire first team squad into quarantine following a COVID-19 outbreak within its ranks.
The Rome-based club, which finished fourth in the Serie A standings last season, made the announcement one day before its scheduled league match at Torino. The club’s statement did not identify the players who have been infected with the novel coronavirus, but it suggested that it still expects Sunday’s game to go ahead as planned.
“Some members of the team group tested positive,” the news release read. “The whole team will repeat today’s checks in order to identify the players that can be used in tomorrow's match between Torino and Lazio.”
Lazio, a two-time Serie A champ and seven-time Italian Cup winner, was already down several players before Saturday’s news broke. It traveled to its midweek UEFA Champions League contest against Club Brugge without several regulars. Star striker Ciro Immobile, who scored a Serie A record-tying 36 goals in 2019-20, missed the 1-1 draw in Belgium, as did fellow regulars Luis Alberto, Djavan Anderson, Manuel Lazzari and Lucas Leiva.
If Sunday’s contest can’t be held, it wouldn’t be the first time that COVID-19 has impacted the Italian soccer schedule this season. Earlier this month, title holder Juventus was awarded a forfeit win over Napoli after the latter was prevented from traveling for the match by local health authorities following its own coronavirus outbreak.
And Juventus headliner Cristiano Ronaldo — easily Serie A’s single biggest draw — missed several domestic league matches after contracting the coronavirus, as well as last Wednesday’s Champions League group stage loss at home to Lionel Messi’s Barcelona.
Lazio currently sits 12th in the 2020-21 Serie A standings, and the Eagles are supposed to travel to Russia next week for their next Champions League clash, against Zenit St. Petersburg, before returning home to host Juve Nov. 8.
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