More than 8 million Italians tune in as football returns

Juventus’ Brazilian forward Douglas Costa (R) challenges AC Milan’s Italian defender Andrea Conti during the Italian Cup (Coppa Italia) semifinal second leg football match Juventus vs AC Milan on June 12, 2020 at the Allianz stadium in Turin, the first to be played in Italy since March 9 and the lockdown aimed at curbing the spread of the COVID-19 infection, caused by the novel coronavirus. (AFP/Miguel Medina)
Short Url
Updated 13 June 2020

More than 8 million Italians tune in as football returns

  • The cup semifinal second leg between Juventus and AC Milan was the first match to be played in Italy since the coronavirus pandemic halted the season on March 9
  • The 0-0 stalemate, which was enough to send Juventus to the final, drew the biggest TV audience for a football match this term

ROME: The return of Italian football was a hit with television viewers in the country as more than eight million tuned in to watch the cup semifinal second leg between Juventus and AC Milan on Friday.
The match was the first to be played in Italy since the coronavirus pandemic halted the season on March 9.
The 0-0 stalemate, which was enough to send Juventus to the final, drew the biggest TV audience for a football match this term, Italian media reported on Saturday.
When he authorized the resumption of football, Italian Sports Minister Vincenzo Spadafora welcomed the fact the first matches would be in the Italian Cup, as they are broadcast free-to-air on national network RAI and are thus accessible to everyone.
On Friday, the match attracted almost 8.3 million viewers on RAI 1, with a 34 percent market share.
The biggest audience before the lockdown was for the first leg of the semifinal which ended 1-1 attracted 8.09 million viewers.
The national team, whose matches are also broadcast free-to-air on RAI, attracted 7.4 million viewers for their Euro 2020 qualifier against Bosnia last June.


Murray to the rescue as Nuggets hold of Lakers

Updated 23 September 2020

Murray to the rescue as Nuggets hold of Lakers

  • The 23-year-old Canadian’s three-pointer from 26 feet gave Denver a seven-point advantage at 106-99

ORLANDO: Jamal Murray scored 28 points as the Denver Nuggets held off a ferocious late fightback from the Los Angeles Lakers to roar back into contention in the Western Conference finals series on Tuesday.

Murray nailed two crucial late three-pointers in the closing minutes as Denver held on for a 114-106 victory in game three to reduce the Lakers’ lead to 2-1 in the best-of-seven series.

But the Nuggets — who looked in complete control for long periods of the contest — were given a mighty scare by the Lakers in a thrilling fourth quarter battle.

The Lakers had trailed by 20 points with just over 10 minutes remaining but whittled away the Denver lead to just three points with 3min 53sec left on the clock in Orlando.

But just as it looked as if LeBron James and Anthony Davis were poised to complete a remarkable comeback, Murray regrouped to take the game away from the Lakers.

The 23-year-old Canadian’s three-pointer from 26 feet gave Denver a seven-point advantage at 106-99 and he then provided the assist for Paul Millsap to make it 108-99.

With less than a minute on the clock, Murray struck the dagger blow with a 29-foot three-point jumpshot to make it 111-99 and effectively seal victory.

Denver coach Michael Malone said his team — who had suffered an agonizing buzzer-beater defeat in game two on Sunday — were determined not to go 3-0 down in the series.

The Nuggets have already overturned 3-1 series deficits en route to the Western Conference finals.

“I had no doubt we were going to show up tonight,” Malone said.

“We have won six straight elimination games. Everybody always has us packing our bags and leaving, but we’re not ready to go. They’re a very resilient group and they have proved that time and time again.”

Asked about his late flourish, Murray said he had set out to lead by example.

“That’s my whole energy, my whole approach to the game, not getting down if I miss a couple of shots,” Murray said.

“I’m just trying to be aggressive ... but the most important part is the energy I bring when I’m talking to my team-mates, being a vocal leader, getting up and down and pushing everybody so they tend to follow. I just wanted to see them have a lot of fun today.”

The Lakers, meanwhile, were left reflecting on an uneven display which ultimately left James and Davis with too much to do.

James led the scoring with a triple double comprised of 30 points, 10 rebounds and 11 assists, with six turnovers. Davis had 27 points, with Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (12) and Kyle Kuzma (11) the only other Lakers players to crack double figures.

Murray, who also had 12 assists, was backed with 26 points from Jerami Grant while Nikola Jokic weighed in with 22 points, 10 rebounds and five assists.

“You put yourself in an 18-point hole, it’s tough to climb out of that,” Lakers coach Frank Vogel said.

“I thought Denver played with great energy throughout the game. We didn’t match it early, we matched it late. They’re a great basketball team so credit it to them for the win. They played a really good basketball game.

“We were not as sharp as we could have been on both ends of the floor. We were playing at a high level, but were a little bit off in the first half.

“But I liked the spirit that the guys competed with down the stretch to try and make it a game.”