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Cancer-stricken Mihajlovic on Bologna bench for Serie A opener

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Milan (AFP)

Bologna coach Sinisa Mihajlovic will be on the bench for his team's Serie A opener against Verona on Sunday despite undergoing treatment for leukaemia, the Italian team confirmed.

"Sinisa Mihajlovic has joined the team at the hotel and will be on the bench for #VeronaBologna this evening," the team said on Twitter.

Serb Mihajlovic was diagnosed with "acute leukaemia" six weeks ago but the 50-year-old has continued working as Bologna coach.

His presence at the game in Verona has come as a surprise as he has been hospitalised in Bologna for the past month undergoing treatment.

Mihajlovic had however promised the players that he would be at their side for the first match of the season.

"I will face it, with chest puffed out, looking it in the eyes, the way I always have done," the Serb had said after his diagnosis.

"I cannot wait to go to hospital and start the fight. It is aggressive, but it is beatable."

He arrived during last season and guided the team to 10th in Serie A after a blistering run of form that saw them win eight of their last 12 games and finish well clear of the relegation zone.

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