ESPN FC’s Mark Donaldson and Shaka Hislop square off in predicting the most notable matches to kick-start the 2018/19 Serie A campaign.

Serie A has postponed two of this weekend’s opening Serie A fixtures involving Genovese clubs Genoa and Sampdoria following the bridge collapse that killed at least 39 people in the Ligurian city on Tuesday.

The rest of the 2018-19 Serie A opening day remains on schedule — including Cristiano Ronaldo and Juventus against Chievo on Saturday (11:50 a.m. ET, streaming live on ESPN+) in what will be his competitive debut for his new club since his blockbuster summer move from Real Madrid.

Sampdoria were due to host Fiorentina on Sunday evening while Genoa were scheduled to travel to AC Milan, but both games will now be played at a later date, the league announced on Thursday.

A minute’s silence will also be held at all the weekend’s matches ahead of the start of the new season, and players will wear black armbands as a mark of respect after the collapse, in which a further 10-20 people have also been reported missing.

Italy declared Saturday an official day of mourning across the country, with several funerals due to take place that day.

Sampdoria president Ferrera urged other Serie A clubs to postpone their matches but later conceded that it was acceptable for the rest of the league to continue as planned.

“It is also right that the rest of Serie A goes ahead and starts in other stadiums, that takes nothing away from the sense of closeness and fraternity that all of Italy showed it has in its soul as a nation that gets back on its feet every time,” Ferrera said.

Serie A’s statement said that Fiorentina and Milan had both approved of the decision not to play the Genovese clubs on Sunday.

“The President of the Lega Serie A, given the requests for postponement of their matches scheduled for Sunday, Aug. 19 at 20.30 [CET] on the part of the clubs Sampdoria and Genoa as result of the tragedy which hit Genoa, and having received the approval of both Fiorentina and Milan, has decided on the postponement of the Sampdoria-Fiorentina and Milan-Genoa matches,” the statement said. “The rescheduled dates for the two matches will be announced in the coming days, in compliance with the regulations in force.

“In all the other matches scheduled for the first round of the Serie A TIM, in memory of the victims of Genoa, one minute of silence will be observed before the start and the teams will take to the field with black armbands.”


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