Atalanta take on PSG in a Champions League quarter-final and hope to provide more succour for their Covid-19-ravaged city
For two months, the wailing of ambulances cut into Bergamo’s soul. It knew no difference between bleak days and dark, tortured nights that came to seem endless. “The constant noise, you had to kill it in some ways, it was getting in your mind,” Franz Barcella says. “The news on television looked nothing like as bad as what those noises will tell you. You had fear, but it was more than fear for yourself.”
The cruelty of what had hit Bergamo, which became the centre of Europe’s worst Covid-19 outbreak in March, was hard to reconcile. So was the spectrum of emotions when, on 10 March, Atalanta beat Valencia to reach the quarter-finals of the Champions League. The last-16 second leg was being played behind closed doors in Spain, with the extent of the disaster now becoming clear. Boyhood supporter Alberto Savi watched at home as Josip Ilicic swept in the team’s, and his own, fourth goal of a night that should have been the stuff of unfettered fantasy. The television commentators balanced their own incredulity by reminding Bergamo’s citizens to resist any urge to convene on the streets.
Written by Nick Ames in Bergamo
This news first appeared on https://www.theguardian.com/football/2020/aug/11/atalanta-results-are-a-really-important-cure-covid19-bergamo-people-champions-league under the title “
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