Italy's Coronavirus Outbreak Cancels Juventus Vs. AC Milan Much-Anticipated Coppa Italia Semifinal Match

Jonathan Vankin

After a 1-1 draw in the first leg of their Coppa Italia semifinal, Juventus and AC Milan will have to wait to decide who reaches the Cup final. Lega Serie A in Italy, which operates the Coppa Italia competition, announced on Tuesday that the game would be called off due to efforts to contain the country's deadly coronavirus outbreak.

According to an ESPN report, the semifinal second leg was originally set to be played at Allianz Stadium in Turin, but with fans from Italy's hard-hit Lombardy region -- where Milan is located -- banned from attending the game.

But on Tuesday, Serie A officials said that the game would be simply postponed, though no new date has been set for the decisive match.

In Italy, there have been about 2,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus infections, with about 80 fatalities, according to the ESPN report.

The cancellation comes just two days after the Juventus vs. Inter Milan Derby D'Italia was called off due to coronavirus fears. The match would have been pivotal in the Serie A title race, in which defending champions Juve sit six points ahead of Inter — albeit with a game in hand for the Milan side due to an earlier coronavirus-related postponement.

The Derby D'Italia was tentatively rescheduled for May 13.

As of Tuesday evening, Italy surpassed Iran — which has suffered 77 coronavirus deaths — as the country with the most fatalities outside of China, where the viral outbreak originated, according to the Al-Jazeera news agency.

Lombardy remains the region affected most seriously by the coronavirus, but cases have now appeared in all except one of Italy's 20 regions. Of the 80 reported fatal cases in Italy, the youngest victim was 55 years old.

The other reported victims are all between the ages of 63 and 95 years old, many with underlying illnesses that leave them vulnerable to the most serious effects of coronavirus infection, according to a report by The Guardian.

The second Coppa Italia semifinal, pitting Napoli against Inter Milan in Naples, was still on tap to go ahead as scheduled, according to ESPN. But the Napoli-Inter semifinal is set to be played on Thursday, leaving time to call off that match as well.

In Spain, the health minister's office announced that a March 10 UEFA Champions League Round of 16 match between Valencia and Italian side Atalanta — which is based in Lombardy — would also go ahead, but without any fans admitted to Mestalla Stadium in Valencia.