June 20, 2020 / 8:07 PM / 11 days ago

Belotti misses penalty in Torino draw as Serie A returns

(Reuters) - Torino captain Andrea Belotti had a penalty saved in a 1-1 draw at home to Parma as Serie A finally resumed following a three-month coronavirus stoppage on Saturday.

Nicolas Nkoulou headed struggling Torino ahead in the 15th minute and the Cameroon defender celebrated the first Serie A goal since the restart by taking a knee in support of the Black Lives Matter movement.

Torino’s shirts had the words “Thank you to all the heroes” printed under the badge as a tribute to Italy’s health workers and, as with all Italian matches for the time being, the game was played behind closed doors.

The match was originally due to be played on Feb. 23 but became one of the first to be called off as the coronavirus began to spread through Italy. Serie A was eventually suspended just over two weeks later.

Juraj Kucka fired seventh-placed Parma level in the 31st minute after Gervinho found his way to the byline and pulled the ball back.

“After three months, it was a nice match on the part of both teams,” said Parma coach Roberto D’Aversa. “They’re a very physical team and we did well to get back into the match.”

Torino won a penalty right at the start of the second half but Parma goalkeeper Luigi Sepe, who had just denied Simone Zaza with a brilliant point-blank save, got his hand to Belotti’s weak effort.

Belotti has been stuck on nine league goals since his brace against AS Roma on Jan. 5.

Torino, who are 15th with 28 points from 26 games and only three above the relegation zone, missed another clear opening when Simone Edera sent a free header wide from Ola Aina’s cross.

Both sides tired towards the end as the effects of the long break began to show, although the hosts surprisingly made only two of their five permitted substitutions.

“We were holding our own and I couldn’t see any need for changing five players,” said Torino coach Moreno Longo. “We didn’t need to make changes just for the sake of it.”

Writing by Brian Homewood; Editing by Toby Davis

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