Earlier, the rest of Europe’s top five leagues restarted their 2019-20 seasons behind closed doors. In Italy’s second division, Filippo Inzaghi’s Benevento earned promotion back into Serie with seven league games remaining following the successful season in Serie B despite the halt. Benevento, who have won 23 of their 31 league games and lost just once, have a 24-point advantage over Crotone and Cittadella.
Benevento needed only one point to clinch but got all three in beating Juve Stabia 1-0 courtesy of a second-half goal from Marco Sau despite playing most of the game with 10 men. Inzaghi, former FIFA World Cup winner and former Juventus and AC Milan striker, is in his first season as Benevento coach. They are the only club to previously clinch promotion so early was Ascoli in 1978.
The Southern Italian outfit were promoted to Serie A for the first time in their history in 2017-18 season, but they were relegated after just one campaign having lost their first 14 games. They finished last in its only previous campaign, having become the first team ever to win promotion in its Serie B debut season. They infamously set the record for most consecutive defeats to start a season in a Europe top-flight.
The stage is also set for an intriguing derby next season, as high-flying Serie A side Lazio are coached by Inzaghi’s younger brother Simone. Benevento look to be prepared in their Serie A return as they already invested on players to watch out like ex-Chelsea and Marseille striker Loic Remy, who was reported to have arrived for a medical ahead of signing.
Following the triumph, the Mayor of Benevento Clemtente Mastella expressed his worries about the imminent celebrations, asking the people to celebrate on their balconies. “I hope with almost certainty that we will finally return to Serie A,” the Mayor told in an interview. “I would like to invite everyone to celebrate with an explosive and extraordinary chemistry, but let’s stop there.
In the other side of Europe, the English Premier League have crowned its champions with Liverpool ended their 30-year title drought after Manchester City lost 2-1 at Chelsea to confirm the Reds as Premier League champions for the first time in three decades. Liverpool’s triumph represents a huge moment for their fans that also waited for long to witness the team win a title.
Fans gathered at Anfield, as more than 5,000 arrived in cars and on foot, to celebrate the win despite social distancing measures and city Mayor’s urge to celebrate at home. However, because of the health protocols put in place and agreed upon by the league’s governing body and the UK government, the Reds will not be able to celebrate their long-awaited success with their fans anytime soon.
Meanwhile, Serie A action continues amid rising summer temperatures in Italy with Juventus currently leading the table with 69 points from winning back-to-back matches in the season restart. They are followed by Lazio with only points away from stealing the top spot. Inter Milan’s title hopes stalled further in a 3-3 draw with Sassuolo, dropped to third place with 61 points despite win against Parma 1-2.