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AC Milan pay tribute to virus victims in win over Roma

AC Milan’s Hakan Calhanoglu scores from the penalty spot during the Serie A match against Roma in Milan, Italy.
 ROME, June 29: AC Milan paid solemn tribute to victims of the coronavirus pandemic during a 2-0 win over Roma in Serie A.

 It was Milan’s first home match since the lockdown and the team put up a huge banner on Sunday along one side of the empty San Siro stadium that read “Together Forever,” dedicated to victims.

The Lombardy region of which Milan is the capital was the hardest hit area in Italy with more than 16,000 deaths.

Under the banner, 13 Milan shirts with victims’ names on them were placed over the seats.

In game action, both sides appeared to struggle with the 32°C heat until Ante Rebic finally found the target for Milan in the 76th. Hakan Calhanoglu scored from a penalty in the 89th.

“It was very hot, so it was unthinkable to play at an intense rhythm for 90 minutes,” Milan coach Stefano Pioli said.

The game was labelled an “American derby” between clubs with US ownership.

It was Milan’s second straight win of the restart after getting eliminated by Juventus in the Italian Cup semifinals – and its first victory this season over a team in the top six.

“We won deservedly, because we stayed together as a squad when in trouble,” Pioli said.

“We were looking for a victory against a strong opponent and we got it deservedly.”

The Rossoneri are in seventh place while Roma remained fifth and dropped nine points behind Atalanta, which beat Udinese 3-2 and holds the final Champions League spot.

Filling in for the injured Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Rebic scored from close range following a series of rebounds, including one of his own efforts off the post. – AP

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