Juventus vs Napoli, as it did not happen: Match abandoned as visitors don't make trip

Follow all the highlights and commentary from the 2020-21 Serie A match between defending champion Juventus and heavyweight Napoli.

Juventus has arrived at the Allianz Stadium in Turin while Napoli has not arrived for its Serie A clash against the defending champion yet.   -  Juventus FC

This is Sportstar's highlights of the 2020-21 Serie A match between Juventus and Napoli in Turin.



Summary:

Juve vs Napoli has been abandoned after officials waited for 45 minutes for the visiting side to arrive. Napoli failed to show up for the tie and therefore, Juventus walks away with 3 points by virtue of a walkover. Massive advantage for Juve as things stand in the league. But the bigger picture matters. Napoli did not travel after infection risks post its game vs Genoa after which over 19 players from the latter tested positive.

FULL STORY | Juventus-Napoli game abandoned, Gattuso's side set to be handed 3-0 loss by Serie A

Serie A's handling of the entire incident has drawn criticism. While we wait for official confirmation on the points Juventus stands to earn, Napoli can appeal the decision - whatever that may be. Unprecedented circumstances for the league but as things stand for now, no game at the Allianz Stadium tonight. Thank you for tuning into this blog.

As it happened:

1:30 am: A THREAD OF QUOTES FROM THE PRESS CONFERENCE WHICH FOLLOWED THE ABANDONED GAME:

 

1:05am: MATCH ABANDONED after Napoli failed to arrive for the tie in Turin.

12:55am: Should Juventus players split up and play an exhibition game for the fans who have turned up and for all of us following the game remotely? That would be fun, wouldn't it?

12:45am: Time seems to have stopped waiting for an outcome in this game but while we wait, it is also transfer deadline day! Lots of last minute scrambling hopefully awaits us today. Keep up with all the madness here.

12:45am: The referee is said to wait for 45 minutes before blowing the full-time whistle. We are still 15 minutes away from a decision.

Meanwhile in England: Liverpool fans are left in shock after Aston Villa leads the defending champion 4-1 at halftime thanks to an Ollie Watkins hat-trick. Check out details here.


12:35am: All of us right now

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Juventus' Gianluigi Buffon waiting for a decision on the game vs Napoli.   -  Reuters

 

12:20am: Little after scheduled kick-off time. No word from authorities yet. Juventus has warmed up and named its side for the night but Napoli has not travelled to Turin to participate in this game. At this point, the delay to declare the walkover seems unnecessary. Fans, players and officials at the Allianz stadium are waiting for a decision on the outcome of the game.

12:10am NAPOLI DISMISSES REPORTS SUGGESTING THAT BOSS GENNARO GATTUSO HAS TESTED POSITIVE FOR COVID-19.



12:00am JUVENTUS HAS NAMED A STARTING LINE-UP AGAINST NAPOLI, [
A Napoli side that isn't here, or isn't expected, by the way]

 

BIG RIVALRY: Andrea Pirlo and Gennaro Gattuso - This pair formed the backbone of a memorable AC Milan team for more than a decade and helped Italy win the 2006 World Cup. The old chums will face each other on the touchline for the first time as Pirlo's Juventus host Gattuso's Napoli in Serie A. More about this rivalry here.


11:45pm As things stand right now, the fixture is on but multiple reports suggest Napoli has not left for Turin, while Juventus players have reached the Allianz Stadium. If this continues, Juventus will win by virtue of a walkover and Napoli has the option to appeal. One wonders why these decisions were not taken earlier given the circumstances that have unfolded over the past week and keeping health and safety in mind.

11:30pm: Serie A and UEFA says that as long as a team can field 13 players including one goalkeeper, the game in question can go on. Considering Napoli's contact with Genoa players, a side that has since reported over 19 cases of COVID-19, the tie is shrouded by a cloud of doubt.

The match might not happen tonight. Here's why:

Confusion reigned over one of the top Serie A fixtures of the season on Sunday as Juventus prepared as usual to host Napoli, while local media reported that the visitors had been unable to travel due to an order from their local health authority.

Juventus, which said on Saturday that it would take the field, wrote simply “Matchday” in a post on Twitter accompanied by a photograph of forward Cristiano Ronaldo and the time and venue of the match.

However, Sky Sport Italia and other media said that Napoli, where two players have tested positive for COVID-19 in the last four days, had not left for Turin and was preparing to go into a team quarantine.

READ | Man United defender Dalot completes loan move to AC Milan

The reports said that the local health authority in Naples had not allowed Napoli to travel as a precaution following the positive cases. There was no official comment from either the team or the health authority, however. Unless Serie A orders the match to be postponed, Napoli would forfeit the game 3-0.

Either way, it would be a huge embarrassment for Italian football if at a showpiece match one team and match officials turned up and were left waiting around.

Last Sunday, Napoli hosted Genoa, where 17 players have tested positive for COVID-19 in the last week. Genoa's match at home to Torino on Saturday was postponed.

Serie A has ruled that matches should go ahead provided each team has a minimum of 13 players available and that teams who cannot play would suffer a forfeit.

However, teams have the right once in the season to ask for a postponement without forfeiting if 10 players are infected within one week.

Where can you watch the match live in India?

The Serie A game between Juventus and Napoli will be telecast live on the Sony Pictures Sports Network in India. Meanwhile, the SONY LIV app will provide live streaming online.