3/11/2018 4:07:34 PM

Fiorentina commemorate Astori before emotional return to action

Fiorentina commemorate Astori before emotional return to action

Florence, Italy: Fiorentina returned to action a week after the sudden death of captain Davide Astori in a home game on Sunday played in an emotional atmosphere.

Last Sunday's Serie A fixtures were postponed after Astori's body was found in his hotel room ahead of an away game against Udinese.

After emotional scenes on Friday night as Roma, one of Astori's former clubs, beat Torino, and a commemoration on Saturday at the Verona derby, Fiorentina kicked off Sunday's schedule at their Artemio Franchi stadium against last-place Benevento. 

For the warmup, all the Fiorentina players and coach Stefano Pioli wore shirts bearing the number "13" and the name "Astori".

The ground was packed on three sides, only the space reserved for visiting fans was largely empty.

The screens played a video homage to the club's late skipper. The flags above the curved stands at either end of the long, narrow stadium flew at half mast.

The stadium announcer included "Number 13, forever our captain, Davide Astori" in the line-up.

As the Fiorentina and Benevento teams re-emerged, accompanied by mascots in the shirts of Fiorentina or another of Astori's clubs, Cagliari, all the advertising hoardings round the pitch turned purple and bore only the words "Davide Astori" and the club crest.

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