Fiorentina, Hibernians and Gżira have all paid their respects to the late Davide Astori this evening as the trio took part in the Visit Malta Football Tournament.
Astori would have turned 32 on 7 January, however in March last year, the centre back died in his sleep at a hotel in Udine prior to Fiorentina’s match against Udinese.
The cause of death was proven to be cardiac arrest determined from an autopsy conducted two days later.
The Lillies took part in the Visit Malta Football Tournament as part of their four-day training camp on the island following the Serie A TIM winter break.
Gżira and Hibernians, who are currently tied for first place in the BOV Premier League both played against Stefano Pioli’s side which featured players such as Luis Muriel and Italian international Federico Chiesa.
Pioli spoke to the press ahead of today’s fixtures, praising the facilities on offer describing them as ‘very good and professional’ before going on to speak about why the tournament was important for his squad: “We picked Malta
“I am very pleased by the way we have been greeted and treated on the island, the facilities provided by the Maltese FA were very good indeed. Of course, we are not here on holiday but we are here working hard in order to get back in the best possible manner for the second phase of the season.
“It is important for everyone, the squad needed to be back together, eat together, rest together and train hard together. The turn of the new year will be important to us.
“On Sunday we play Torino in the Coppa Italia and then have a very difficult fixture against Sampdoria, so it is very important to prepare well.”
Hibernians lost the first game 6-0 with Marco Benassi opening the scoring after just six minutes. The former Italy U21 international scored a brace with his second goal coming one minute from full-time.
On-loan star Muriel also impressed for the visitors scoring a hat-trick within 45 minutes. Former Anderlecht star Cyril Théréau was on the scoresheet for Fiorentina as they brushed past Hibernians.
Pioli made a number of changes in the second game with Giovanni Simeone starting ahead of Muriel. Stars such as Kevin Mirallas, Marko Pjaca and Edimilson Fernandes also came into the line up as they faced Gżira.
Dávid Hancko was the only name to keep his place, moving to centre back from left back with Cristiano Biraghi filling in for the 21-year-old who arrived at Stadio Artemio Franchi during the summer.
With 10 fresh faces for Fiorentina, it was a similar story early on in the second game with the Lillies scoring after just two minutes thanks to a Gżira own goal.
However, United managed to keep the scoreline down with the final result finishing at 2-0.
Fiorentina’s second goal came in the seventh minute when the Italian giants found the back of the net through FIFA U20 World Cup winner Jordan Veretout.
The arrangements with ACF Fiorentina were made by SLFC from Austria in cooperation with the Ministry of Tourism and Malta Tourism Authority who in turn have appointed MFA SportsPlus Ltd to coordinate the logistical aspects of the training camp.