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Puerta's death overshadows Super Cup final between AC Milan and Sevilla

Puerta's death overshadows Super Cup final between AC Milan and Sevilla

The European Super Cup match between AC Milan and Sevilla is being overshadowed by the death of 22-year-old Sevilla midfielder Antonio Puerta.
"All this has become a bit meaningless," AC Milan coach Carlo Ancelotti said Thursday on the eve of the match between the Champions League and UEFA Cup champions at Stade Louis II.
Puerta, who came on as a substitute in last year's Super Cup to help Sevilla beat FC Barcelona 3-0, died Tuesday, three days after collapsing on the field during his team's Spanish league win over Getafe.
"We don't know how we will feel tomorrow," AC Milan midfielder Massimo Ambrosini said. "To pay tribute to him, we will play the best we can. We know a victory or a defeat will not have the same meaning."
UEFA president Michel Platini also expressed his sadness.
"The soccer world is in mourning," Platini said, adding that soccer's increasingly hectic schedule is detrimental to the health of the players.
"A number of accidents happening on the field poses the problem of the calendar," Platini said. "It's a recurring debate. But we, UEFA, are the first to put more clubs in the Champions League. Players are playing more."
Platini said soccer should not be left to regulate itself, and suggested it is perhaps time for a medical commission to "decide the number of games a player can play" each season.
Although Puerta was able to walk off the field after collapsing, he collapsed again in the dressing room and was taken to the hospital, where he died.
Two-time defending UEFA Cup champion Sevilla will again look to striker Frederic Kanoute to lead the attack.
The 29-year-old Mali international scored in last year's UEFA Cup and Super Cup finals. He also had 21 league goals.
New signing Arouna Kone could also play for Sevilla. The 23-year-old Ivory Coast international won the Dutch league title with PSV Eindhoven last season and scored two goals in the Champions League.
Milan striker Filippo Inzaghi will look to add to his growing collection of European goals. The Italian forward scored both goals against Liverpool to help Milan win its sixth European title.
Ancelotti plans to field the same team which beat Liverpool 2-1, with the exception of Kakha Kaladze and Paolo Maldini, who is recovering from knee surgery.
Milan won the last of its four Super Cups in 2003, when a goal from Andriy Shevchenko was enough to beat FC Porto 1-0. Sevilla's only win came last year.


Updated : 2021-02-25 22:42 GMT+08:00