Inter, Atalanta win Serie A return matches

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ITALY SOCCER SERIE A

Inter Milan's Romelu Lukaku marked his goal against Sampdoria by taking a knee

Serie A has resumed in one of the Italian cities hit hardest by the coronavirus pandemic, while Romelu Lukaku marked his goal for Inter Milan by taking a knee.

Italy's top-flight resumed this weekend with four catch-up matches.

There were two on Saturday while title-chasing Inter beat Sampdoria 2-1 in Sunday's late match and Atalanta hammered visitors Sassuolo 4-1 earlier in the day.

It was the hosts' first match in 112 days and the first in Bergamo since February 15, the result to give a much-needed boost to the residents of the Italian city.

"There's a lot going on in the world and Bergamo has been hit hard," Atalanta midfielder Marten de Roon wrote in a post on Twitter after the match.

"This win was for the city, the people, the club. The worst days are behind us, change is coming."

More than 16,000 people have died from COVID-19 in the Lombardy region containing Bergamo, and the small city was one of the epicentres of the outbreak.

The minute's silence before kick-off in tribute to those who have died from coronavirus was accompanied by a video of the city during the crisis, along with the song "Rinascero, Rinascerai" (I will be born again, you will be born again).

All Serie A matches are being played in empty stadiums, although some fans were outside Atalanta's Gweiss Stadium and they could be heard chanting against the league's governing body.

The match was all but over by halftime after strikes from Berat Djimsiti and Duvan Zapata and an own-goal by Sassuolo midfielder Mehdi Bourabia.

Zapata added a second after the break while Bourabia scored at the right end in stoppage time to grab some consolation for Sassuolo.

Atalanta remained fourth, six points above Roma in the fight for the final Champions League spot.

Meanwhile, Belgium striker Lukaku showed his support for the Black Lives Matter movement after scoring Inter's opener in the 10th minute - finishing off an impressive team move - against Sampdoria.

Lautaro Martinez doubled Inter's lead before Morten Thorsby pulled one back for Samp eight minutes into the second half.

Third-place Inter moved six points behind leaders Juventus and five below second-place Lazio.

Sampdoria, one of the teams to announce the highest number of cases of COVID-19, including at least seven players, remained a point above the relegation zone.