26.01.2024 23:57 h

Cagliari pay homage to Riva but lose to Torino

Cagliari paid tribute to their former star Gigi Riva on Friday, in their first home match since the Italian great died.

The Sardinian cub, struggling after promotion to Serie A, lost 2-1 to Torino, but were able to remember more successful days as they commemorated the centre-forward of their only league-winning team.

Duvan Zapata and Samuele Ricci put the visitors two goals up by half-time. A 77th-minute reply by Nicolas Viola could not save Claudio Ranieri's team.

Cagliari sit 17th, one place and one point above the relegation zone. They could be overtaken by Empoli, who visit leaders Juventus on Saturday, or Verona, who host mid-table Frosinone, on Sunday.

Riva was listed at his habitual No. 11 in Cagliari's starting line-up and the team warmed up in white shirts, replicas of those worn by their predecessors in 1970, the year of the Sardinian club's only Italian league title.

Play was interrupted in the 11th minute as the 30,000-strong crowd paid tribute to Riva, who passed away on Monday at the age of 79 in Cagliari, and played 13 seasons for the club.

He also remains the all-time stop scorer for the national team who he led to the 1968 European title.

"It's been a very moving evening, and I've been touched by all the tributes. It's a beautiful thing to be the representative of this club and of Sardinia," said Ranieri.

In the stands, fans unfurled banners in tribute to Riva: "There will never be another like you," "Thank you Gigi" and "Farewell champion".