For the first 43 minutes of their club’s Serie A opener, Genoa fans remained silent on Sunday.
That was one minute for each of the 43 victims of the Morandi Bridge collapse in the port city this month.
In the 43rd minute, spectators began applauding respectfully as the names of those who died in the tragedy 12 days earlier were listed on a giant screen inside the Stadio Luigi Ferraris. Then the fans started chanting "Genova, Genova" — the Italian name of the city.
By then, Genoa had taken a 2-0 lead courtesy of early goals from Krzysztof Piatek and Christian Kouame, both of which were set up by Genoa captain Domenico Criscito.
Genoa won 2-1 after Samuel Mraz pulled one back for Empoli in stoppage time.
Criscito had entered the pitch before kickoff with Cesare Cerulli, the 11-year-old son of bridge collapse victim Andrea Cerulli.
"The first thought always goes to the tragedy," Genoa coach Davide Ballardini said. "Then you train but every day you take a road or something else that reminds you of it. Our legs and heads were heavy."
Criscito and the other Genoa players wore T-shirts that read "Genoa nel cuore" — Genoa in the heart — with a design featuring a heart in the middle of the bridge span.
There was also a minute of silence observed and Genoa wore black ribbons on its shirts while the space usually reserved for sponsors was left blank.
A huge banner hanging from the stadium’s upper deck read, "In silence for you, hurt 43 times in the heart. Get back on your feet proudly and become splendid again!"
Genoa’s opening match at AC Milan scheduled for last weekend was postponed as the city was still in mourning.
Sampdoria, Genoa’s other club, also had its opening match postponed and was beaten 1-0 at Udinese in its opener.
Udinese fans held aloft a banner that read "Beyond the colours, united in pain."
A huge section of the bridge collapsed Aug. 14 during a fierce storm, killing 43 people and forcing the evacuation of nearby residents in the densely built-up area. The cause is under investigation.
INTER WASTES LEAD
In the preseason, Inter Milan was being tapped as a serious title challenger for Juventus. But after two matches, the Nerazzurri have just one point.
Inter wasted a two-goal advantage in a 2-2 draw with Torino in its home opener at the San Siro.
Andrea Belotti and Soualiho Meite took advantage of sloppy defending to score in the second half for Torino after early Inter goals from Ivan Perisic and Stefan De Vrij
Spal is level on points with Serie A leaders Juventus and Napoli.
The Ferrara-based club beat Parma 1-0 in an Emilian derby for its second win and second clean sheet in two matches.
Mirco Antenucci scored with a volley early in the second half in Bologna, where Spal is playing home matches while its stadium is renovated.
Last season, Spal finished 17th to narrowly avoid relegation in its first appearance back in the top division after a 49-year absence.
Inspired by a strong performance from Brazilian midfielder Gerson, Fiorentina routed Chievo Verona 6-1. Giovanni Simeone closed out the scoring for the Viola with his father, Atletico Madrid coach Diego Simeone, watching from the tribune.
Kevin-Prince Boateng converted a penalty nine minutes into added time to earn Sassuolo a 2-2 draw at Cagliari.
Also, Frosinone and Bologna drew 0-0.