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Coronavirus: Juventus vs Inter Milan among five Serie A matches to be played behind closed doors

during the Serie A match between FC Internazionale and Juventus at Stadio Giuseppe Meazza on October 6, 2019 in Milan, Italy.
Image: Juventus and Inter Milan are locked in a battle for the Serie A title with Lazio

Five Serie A matches, including the clash between Juventus and Inter Milan, will be played without fans due to the coronavirus emergency.

Serie A leaders Juve had been due to meet third-placed Inter for the Derby d'Italia in front of an expected sell-out crowd, with fans ready to see Antonio Conte's return to the Allianz Stadium as both sides continue to battle for the Italian title, but it will now be played behind closed doors.

The move has disappointed Conte, who said: "Soccer needs the crowd, to hear the atmosphere around it. That's the best thing about the game, the atmosphere around the soccer being played.

"These decisions have been taken with public health in mind but I hope that everything returns to normal as soon as possible."

The other matches to be played without fans in attendance include Udinese vs Fiorentina, AC Milan vs Genoa, Parma vs SPAL and Sassuolo vs Brescia.

Italy has become the worst-affected country in Europe with more than 400 cases and 14 deaths, with 11 towns under quarantine in an attempt to control the spread of the virus.

Inter's Europa League match against Ludogorets was played behind closed doors on Thursday due to coronavirus fears.

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Fixture changes

Serie A
Image: Serie A has been hit by the coronavirus

Verona vs Cagliari and Torino vs Parma, which were previously postponed, will now be played on Wednesday, March 11.

The rearranged dates for Inter vs Sampdoria and Atalanta vs Sassuolo - also previously postponed - are yet to be announced.

There have been more fixture changes across the league.

Torino vs Udinese will be played on Saturday, March 7 instead of Monday, March 9, while Lecce vs Milan will still be played on Monday, March 9 - but will kick off 15 minutes later than planned.

Brescia vs Genoa will be played on Saturday, March 14 - pushed forward by 24 hours - and Sassuolo vs Verona will be played on Sunday, March 15, pushed backwards by 24 hours.

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