Archive for September, 2007

Serie A matchday 5 – Midweek review

Friday, September 28th, 2007

Serie AJust like I promised, no matchday review. Only links to blogs that do it better than me. ;)

So here are the results and summaries for matchday 5. You can also check full video highlights here.

As usual, the GOALS of the WEEK: winners on matchday 5 are Zlatan Ibrahimovic for Inter and Amantino Mançini for Roma.

Zlatan “Brick Wall with Mad Skillz” Ibrahimovic’s dribble between 3 playersAmantino “Here look, Totti taught me this” Mançini and his chipped shot

Serie A – day 5
Catania – Empoli
1 - 0
Fiorentina – AS Roma
2 - 2
Genoa – Udinese
3 - 2
Inter – Sampdoria
3 - 0
Juventus – Reggina
4 - 0
Lazio – Cagliari
3 - 1
Napoli – Livorno
1 - 0
Palermo – Milan
2 - 1
Parma – Torino
2 - 0
Siena – Atalanta
1 - 1

Serie A matchday 5 – Milan stumble, Juve & Inter rip it, and Fiorentina-Roma is a showroom for style

Thursday, September 27th, 2007

Serie AWell Milan fu**ed up again in Serie A, but what else is new. You know, if it weren’t for the fact that the Rossoneri are current title holders for the Champions League, it would be Carlo Ancelotti‘s head on the chopping blocks right now, not the coach from Milan’s cousins (a certain Roberto Mancini). No, the latter has nothing to worry about (or at least, can sleep a little better now following Inter’s 3-0 win over Sampdoria), because if Zlatan Ibrahimovic maintains his current form the Nerazzurri are in for a Scudetto repeat. The Swedish international is currently in the best form of his career, and compared to his previous 3 seasons in Serie A he’s just recently mastered the art of goalscoring (you don’t have to tell David Trezeguet, contributor of 1 goal in today’s Juve 4-0 slashing of Reggina, and with which Zlatan is currently tied at the top of the scorer rankings). Just have a look at Inter’s 2nd goal today and drop your jaw in awe.

But the real highlight of the day wasn’t Milan’s first loss of the season, or Inter and Juve’s target practice session with the little kids. No, the spectacle took place at the Stadio Artemio Franchi for Fiorentina-Roma, which much alike the Roma-Juve clash of Sunday ended 2-2 and provided plenty of entertainment.

Serie A matchday 5 scores

For AS Roma, this second consecutive 2-2 draw means two things. Firstly, they have now descended from cloud nine and are back to the real world, where it’s not just enough to play a technical & spectactular soccer, it’s also important not to let your guard down when it counts. Also, it puts an end to their zero conceded goals streak on away games. For Fiorentina, it’s a good result (despite the home team advantage) because they fought back after going down twice, and have shown considerable resilience and refusal to bow down to anyone.

Tactically, both formations had some surprises in store. Despite the early doubts this week, both Dario Dainelli and Alessandro Gamberini were in the starting line-up for this match, as well as Franco Semioli (in place of Mario Santana). For Roma, manager Luciano Spalletti decided to do a little bit of turn-over (in light of the important matches vs. Inter and Man Utd the upcoming week) and started D.Pizarro, Ferrari and Cicinho for Aquilani, Juan, and Panucci. Totti, Perrotta and Cassetti did not start either, but no surprise there: they were out injured.

Amantino Mançini has just scored a pearl of a goalThe match began at 100 miles an hour for both teams: on one end Fiorentina was trying to prove they had nothing to envy to the 1st-ranked Serie A team, and on the other Roma was trying to live by their role of favorites for this match. The first opportunity came for the Giallorossi 4 minutes into the game, as Mançini attempted a mid-range effort above the bar. Immediately onto the other end, Adrian Mutu sent a few shivers down Doni‘s spine with a narrowly wide header from close-range.

Eventually in the 19th minute (and under torrents of rain… like cats & dogs type of sh**), a team finally took the lead. Grabbing the ball on the edge of the Fiorentina box, Mançini looked around him and examined his options. He could have passed to the left, passed to the right, but spotting Sébastien Frey off his line the Brazilian winger actually chose to chip him! And my oh my what a beauty that was. The Viola keeper got a touch but couldn’t prevent the goal, 1-0 Roma.

Alessandro Gamberini has just tied it up. 1-1.The lead didn’t last very long for the Giallorossi though: 5 minutes later Fiorentina equalized through a bit of a defensive mix-up. Corner by Adrian Mutu, Doni tried to read the trajectory and parry the ball out of danger, but was preceded by Daniele De Rossi who jumped and flicked it over the keeper’s hands. In came Gamberini on the 2nd post, ready for the volleyed tap-in. 1-1.

Another 5 minutes passed, and Roma should have taken their lead back: in the 29th the linesman blocked Mançini through goal for offside position, when the pass had actually come from Fiorentina full-back Tomas Ujfalusi. Tough luck. Ensued a series of chances for Fiorentina or, cue the Adrian Mutu show: the first shot a 99% certain goal with an open net (saved by Cicinho’s counter with Doni out to catch butterflies), then 2 minutes later with a narrowly wide blast, and for the third chance the Roma keeper actually was in the right place at the right time, displaying some top reflexes on a close-range header by the Romanian.

Fate works in mysterious ways, but when it comes to soccer one can spot a few consistencies: if you fail to score too many times, you’ll have to pay the price and concede a goal on the first chance your opponent gets (the famous French saying “but raté, but encaissé”, not the first time you’ve heard it here). In the 37th, after a brilliant Alberto Aquilani (on for injured Taddei) dummy for Ludovic Giuly, the Frenchman was given enough space to actually blast one of his shots on target. Too much power for Frey, who got a touch by couldn’t prevent the goal. 2-1 Roma at the break.

Aquilani tries to stop Riccardo Montolivo. The Viola midfielder was real thorn in the backside of the Roma defense today.At the restart, Viola manager Cesare Prandelli decided to take off Fabio Liverani and put Mario Santana on. Seeing it wasn’t working, he tried to put Bobo Vieri on for Semioli: it was a clear indication that Fiorentina were putting all their troops up to equalize, and as Italians often say “la fortuna aiuta gli audaci” (luck helps the audacious). At the 80′ mark, a great through ball by Adrian Mutu set off Christian Vieri on the left wing: dribble towards the end zone, mistimed tackle by Matteo Ferrari, and Bobo went tumbling to the ground. The penalty was duly transformed by Mutu to put the final touch on a great evening of soccer, and the full time 2-2 scoreline.

From the time of the 2nd half restart all the way up to the Viola equalizer, the match had somewhat dropped in intensity, with neither team having been excessively dangerous. Worth mentioning though: two back-to-back chances for Mirko Vucinic saved by Frey in the 28th and 29th, an elbow of Mutu to Cicinho (only a yellow card for the Romanian), and a red card for Marco Donadel in the 84th. Another two points lost by leaders Roma, but overall the tie was the most logical result.


ACF Fiorentina
A.S. Roma
GOALSCORERS: 19’ Mançini (R), 24’ Gamberini (F), 37’ Giuly (R), 80’ pen. Mutu (F)
FIORENTINA (4-3-3): Frey – Ujfalusi, Gamberini, Dainelli (76’ Balzaretti), Pasqual – Donadel, Liverani (46’ Santana), Montolivo – Semioli (72’ Vieri), Pazzini, Mutu. (bench: Lupatelli, Kroldrup, Gobbi, Kuzmanovic). Coach: Prandelli
ROMA (4-2-3-1): Doni – Cicinho (86’ Esposito), Ferrari, Mexès, Tonetto – De Rossi, D.Pizarro – Taddei (36′ Aquilani), Giuly, Mançini (67’ Panucci) – Vucinic. (bench: Curci, Juan, Barusso, Brighi). Coach: Spalletti

As for AC Milan, I’m running out of ideas on how to introduce the Rossoneri. “Another car backfire”? “It’s pitch black at Milanello”? “The Red & Black devils smell smoke, but there’s no fire in the oven”? After three consecutive draws, something had to happen to Carlo Ancelotti’s team: I mean the only team that could get infected by acute drawing syndrome is Inter (as they hilariously did two seasons ago), it would be catastrophic to see the Rossoneri grab the same kind of disease as their city cousins. Well, I guess the Milan coach doesn’t have to worry about that anymore: his team not only lost a valuable 2 points, they also lost the additional lone point from the draw, a draw which seemed so sure until the 93rd minute, when Miccoli decided to strike.

Milan can actually put a lot of tonight’s result on account of bad luck. Overall, they dominated most of this match (the 66% ball possession statistic of the 1st period says it all) and repeatedly came very close to doubling their lead. Yet once again, when it came down to striking the final blow the Rossoneri couldn’t deliver, and allowed their opponents to overtake them with victory within their grasp.

Clarence Seedorf celebrates his goal after Milan’s 1-2 touch playCoach Carlo Ancelotti had some early bad news to start off the match, as both his main keeper (Dida) and vice-captain (Ambrosini) had to sit out the match due to injury. To replace them, Australian international Željko Kalac and Brazilian midfielder Emerson. No worries for the Rossoneri though, because the Milan manager could still count on squad indispensables such as Kaká, Pirlo, and Gattuso, as well Nesta-Kaladze in defense and Oddo-Jankulovski as wing-backs. Oh yeah, but in attack he had Alberto Gilardino, which is not so good (at least until the (ex) Italian international wakes the fu** up).

To be honest though, Gila didn’t play too badly, especially in the first half where the Rossoneri domination was absolutely excessive. I mean Palermo was nowhere to be seen (and I mean nowhere) for at least 20 minutes, and the first 45 were a perfect example on why Milan are the current European champions: one-touch football and inch-perfect passes, exemplied best with Clarence Seedorf‘s opener at the 10′ minute mark. From Gilardino (yes, you’ve heard me right) to Kaká to the Dutch midfielder all in one touch, and beautiful scooped finish by Seedorf for the finish. 1-0 Milan, and a lot more where that came from.

Yet another Gila-Kaká-Seedorf exchange brought the Dutch international to try a curling shot from the edge of the box, but this time the post (the keeper’s best friend) saved Alberto Fontana and kept the ball out of that net. Not for long though, because as we will see the 2nd half the twine on the South Side of Renzo Barbera stadium was still waiting for more.

Aimo Diana has just tied the game. Miccoli comes to congratulate him, and would later provide the Rosanero winner himselfSo the half ended on a 1-0 scoreline, and the only thing Palermo had to show for their presence on the field tonight, was the penetrating rushes of Fabrizio Miccoli (like a pixie on crack, always difficult to catch). At the restart the Milan assault resumed, and when it wasn’t their goalie Fontana keeping the Rosanero safe from drowning (such as on Seedorf’s shot in the 48th), it was the Rossoneri’s poor accuracy/bad luck close to the net.

At the 61′ minute mark, Palermo manager Stefano Colantuono decided to make a few changes to turn the game on its head: off Fabio Caserta and Mark Bresciano, in Edison Cavani and Bosko Jankovic. To little effect: Milan had another series of scoring chances, and if you were a Rossonero fan watching this match you’d still be screaming into the night wondering why any of those shots didn’t go in. Let’s count them: nº1, an Andrea Pirlo shot hitting the crossbar yet again; nº2, a header by Alessandro Nesta saved on the line by Fábio Simplício; nº3, a last-ditch clearance by Aimo Diana on Kaká’s winning tap-in.

Miccoli gooooooooooooooooooooooolThink it’s going bad for Milan? Try this, it’s getting worse: in the 72nd, long cross to the left for Amauri, the Brazilian controls the ball (suspiciously using his arm doing so, but the ref waves play on), turns around, Kalac comes out to challenge but he can’t prevent the pass to Diana for the tap-in. 1-1. What a shame.

The Milan players are tired, their morale isn’t doing any better, and more mistakes keep pouring in. The final nails in the Milan coffin have two names: Pirlo and Kalac. The first for fouling Diana on the edge of the box, and the second for allowing Fabrizio Miccoli‘s ensuing free-kick to enter the net. 2-1 Palermo, the entire crowd of the Renzo Barbera are on their feet, Ancelotti is spotted walking towards the tunnel. Shaking his head..

U.S. Città di Palermo
 A.C. Milan
GOALSCORERS: 10’ Seedorf (M), 72’ Diana (P), 93’ Miccoli (P)
PALERMO (4-3-1-2): Fontana – Diana, Zaccardo, Barzagli, Cassani (74’ Rinaudo) – Migliaccio, Simplicio, Caserta (61’ Jankovic) – Bresciano (61’ Cavani) – Miccoli, Amauri. (bench: Agliardi, Gio.Tedesco, Guana, Brienza). Coach: Colantuono.
MILAN (4-3-2-1): Kalac – Oddo, Nesta, Kaladze, Jankulovski – Gattuso, Pirlo, Emerson (76’ Brocchi) – Kakà, Seedorf – Gilardino (76’ F.Inzaghi). (bench: Fiori, Cafu, Simic, Favalli, Gourcuff). Coach: Ancelotti.


When ‘grabbing your balls’ can feel good but will get you in trouble

Wednesday, September 26th, 2007

Leider Preciado, checking if the package is still there…His name is Leider Preciado, and he plays striker for the Colombian club Independiente Santa Fé of Bogota. For his 100th career goal, Preciado chose a very ‘particular’ way to celebrate, and was promptly suspended by his club. The Colombian president Héctor Báez has declared to the press that the managerial staff has already sent an official letter to the player, informing him that coach Arturo Leyva would not select him for the team’s next league matches.

Here is what happened: last Sunday the ‘El Campin’ stadium of Bogota was hosting the Colombian league match Santa Fé vs. Real Cartagena. The home club took the lead in the 75th through the aforementioned Colombian striker, after which Preciado ran towards the stands and repeatedly grabbed his genitalia, shouting insults at his own fans (all the while being tentatively restrained by his teammates). The reason for this behaviour we would later find out, was that the insults were directed to Henry Cruz, one of the club owners that had severely criticized Preciado for being late to a practice session. The player later publicly said he was sorry for his behaviour: “I humbly apologize to all the supporters of Santa Fé. The truth is that sometimes an athlete will get carried away by enthusiasm, and may sometimes do things to release all the anger trapped in his body”.

Let that be a lesson to all you kids: the only balls you should be grabbing on a soccer field are those inside of the net after you score a goal. :)

MISN – Summer Lachine SEMI FINALS (vs. Babylon)

Wednesday, September 26th, 2007

Ricard, unofficial sponsor of MISN Impossible

MISN? What’s this?

Hello MISN,

On Tuesday September 25th we played game the SEMI-FINALS of the Summer 2007 Lachine indoor league, vs. Babylon.

Unlike what is usually expected in normal playoff pairings (where the 1st and 4th-ranked teams are placed on one side of the playoff table, and the 2nd and 3rd-ranked are placed on the other), Bryan has this very weird way of re-arranging the game pairs of each round to make sure that the 1st team always plays the team with the lowest rank. I know it sounds crazy and makes no sense, but that’s the policy. So instead of playing Babylon, the league champions Trakia played the lower-ranked Ukraina, while MISN Impossible had to play Babylon.

Our opponents for the day were a very good level team, one which perhaps made the most significant improvement in the last portion of the season. Ranking 5th in the final standings with 71 goals scored and 54 conceded, Babylon were one of the teams which gave MISN the most problems during the regular season. Our first encounter had ended 6-6 in difficult circumstances (we started the game 5 vs. 7 and went down a couple of goals fast, but then fought back to tie it in the 2nd half), while in the return leg our opponents inflicted a severe beating on the MISN team, outplaying and outrunning us to win the game 6-1. For this semi-final game, MISN Impossible vowed revenge.

The MISN squad is getting ready to start the match

Attendance-wise, we had an unlucky string of last-minute injuries, starting from Güven who got injured in his McGill Intramural game, and Kevin who was feeling nauseous. Also, Santi was still suffering from an ankle problem, and we couldn’t count on Imad (busy with his Ph.D thesis exam), the Nafee brothers or Ludo.

Fortunately, Bruno was back from Ottawa and Danny was finally able to lend a hand after an absence of almost two months. Also, Marco was back from suspension.

1) Absent long-term: Saad, Renaud, Can
2) Injured long-term: Amer, Tevin, Santi
3) N/A this week: Nafee, Abbes, Kevin, Güven, Simiso, Sami

Here was our line-up:

Bruno / Zaid
Alex / Danny
Bardia / Marco

Ready to kick-offWe started the game well in place on the field, building up our plays slowly and always remaining attentive in defense. We had limited attacking strength however, due to a lack of substitutes in the offensive area (as you can tell from the line-up table, Marco was even forced to play striker under the circumstances). As a result we weren’t very incisive in the first half, but neither were our opponents. Both teams’ defenses were keeping good guard and breaking down most of their opponents’ plays before they got into shooting range.

There were not many chances worth mentioning in the 1st half. A kick-in pass from Marco to Jon in the middle cleared our Canadian central-back for the shot, but his powerful drive was over the bar. A few minutes later, from a kick-in from the left wing Marco tried a direct shot to the far post, but the ball was intercepted by the defense.

Can’t stop Marco legally? Take away his legs…An important point to be noted: for the semi-finals (and most likely the final as well) a two-reffing system was adopted, which kept the game well in check. The referees had in fact zero tolerance for even the slightest of touches, giving the foul to the opposing team the majority of the cases. The Babylon players were getting frustrated at the calls going against them though, and by the time 15 minutes had passed, they already had 2 players in the book with yellow cards.

…but then be ready to pay the price.Before the half ended, both MISN and Babylon tried their luck a few times from long range, but the shots either lacked accuracy or were easily neutralized by the keepers. Our first real chance came 5-10 minutes before the break, as we obtained a kick-in deep into the Babylon half. From the right wing, the cross was sent right to the head of Zaid on the 2nd post, but our Jordanian defender’s effort hit the bar and bounced away! So close!

The half came to a close on a 0-0 Half-Time score.

In the 2nd half Babylon started pushing up more, while at the same time consistently leaving two defenders in the back (for cover & to set up fast counter-attacks). On a few of these counters they almost created very dangerous one-one-one situations, but our keeper Jan was always ready to come off his line and neutralize the problem before it did any real damage!

Up on the other end Marco, Jonny and AC were pushing up, trying to exploit Bardia’s dribbling abilities in order to create some space, but the ball seldom reached our strikers for the finish. Eventually, our first good chance of the 2nd half came from a hard shot by Bardia on the keeper, on which AC grabbed the rebound and went for a powerful left-footed finish. His effort however hit the side netting!

With the game still tied and about 5 minutes left in the game, MISN obtained a kick-in on the right wing, 3 meters ahead of the halfway line. Danny & Alex both wanted to take the set piece, but Marco dropped back from his striker position and told Danny he’d take care of the shot. Assuring him he’d cover him in defense, Marco then told Danny to take his place up on the front lines.

Jon has just connected with the header… MISN will soon get on the scoreboardAfter a short run, spotting Jon raising his hand on the far post Marco delivered an accurate cross for our tall defender. Jon jumped for the header across the goal, and the keeper was caught off balance: Danny stretched and managed to connect with Jon’s flicked pass!! The keeper managed the point-blank save, but wait! The ball had crossed the line, and one of the refs standing close awarded the goal!! 1-0 MISN!!!!!

The ensuing 5 minutes tripled in tension, but MISN held tight in preserving the lead. Our defense was attentive on every play, and AC, Bardia, and Jonny did a great job in keeping the ball up in offense, wasting valuable seconds. Eventually the ref called full time, sending MISN through to the Summer 2007 Lachine indoor league FINAL!!!

.The MISN players celebrate their goalscorer Danny

1-0 final score


Yellow cards:


A great battle throughout boys!! We played a very tight game defensively, not allowing our opponents to play their game like they had done in regular season. It resulted in a match with few scoring chances, but eventually we managed to grab the winner in dramatic style, scoring so close to the end on a beautiful set-piece play!! “A” for effort guys, in the final I want everyone to get an A+!

The FINAL will be played Thursday September 27th at 8pm. Our opponents will be the regular season champions Trakia (who beat Ukraina 4-1 in the other semi-final, but only by scoring 4 goals in the final 15 minutes). It will be time to get our revenge boys and prove that we are the better team!!

One more game to the CUP boys… MISN all the way!!!!


The Golden Ball goes global

Tuesday, September 25th, 2007

Ballon d’OrFor his 60th anniversary the prestigious French magazine France Football, which every year gives the award for European Footballer of the Year (or “Golden Ball” a.k.a. “Ballon d’Or” as the French call it), has just announced a major novelty in their award eligibility. From now on, the award will simply be given to the ‘Best player in the World’, with no distinction as to his nationality or the league he currently plays in. In addition, the awards’ jury has been extended from 53 to 96 journalists all across the world, therefore no longer being limited to Europeans.

Since its creation in 1956, this is the award’s ‘third revolution’ if one may call it that way. Until 1995, the Golden Ball was awarded to the best European player, but the requisite of the award was precisely that the player had to be from an European country. In 1995, the award was extended to any player which competed in an European League, and the first athlete to immediately benefit from this change was Liberian AC Milan striker George Weah. France Football - 2005 Ballon d’Or winner - RonaldinhoIn 2007, the new edition (which will officially begin on October 23, the day on which France Football will publish the list of the 50 candidates) will be global, meaning that players from all continents will now be eligible for the award.

One has to wonder on the minute chances that someone outside of Europe may actually win the prize (since the top football leagues and therefore the top players are all located in Europe), but it is a nice innovation nonetheless. The announcement of the winner of the 52th edition will made on live television on December 2, on the French TV channel TF1.