Football: Sassuolo striker sends support message to fans about coronavirus after scoring

Sassuolo's Francesco Caputo holds up a banner reading in Italian 'Everything will be OK. Stay at home' during the Italian Serie A soccer match between US Sassuolo Calcio and Brescia Calcio in Reggio Emilia, Italy, on March 9, 2020. PHOTO: EPA-EFE

REGGIO EMILIA (REUTERS) - Sassuolo forward Francesco Caputo celebrated a goal in their 3-0 home win over Brescia on Monday (March 9) by trying to reassure fans over the coronavirus outbreak in what was the last Serie A match to be played until April.

Caputo scored from close range in the 45th minute of the match, held behind closed doors due to the outbreak, then went to the camera and held up a piece of paper with the message "Everything will be alright, stay at home".

The game was played shortly before Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte announced that the country's top-flight league will be suspended because of the coronavirus crisis.

"There is no reason why matches and sporting events should continue and I am thinking of the football championship," he told a press conference in Rome.

Italy's National Olympic Committee called for a halt to all sporting activity in the country - apart from events in international competition - until April 3 in a bid to combat the virus.

Caputo added a second goal just after the hour and Jeremie Boga completed the scoring after 75 minutes in the sixth Serie A match to be played in an empty stadium since Wednesday.

With 26 rounds of games played, Juventus lead the table with 63 points, one ahead of Lazio. Inter Milan are third with 54 and a game in hand after their 2-0 defeat at Juve on Sunday.

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