Archive for October 8th, 2007

Italian Players Around the World (8/10)

Monday, October 8th, 2007

Continuing my weekly article inspired by Gazzetta dello Sport, here are the performances of all Italian players operating in foreign European leagues.

Luca Toni, 8 out 8 in the BundesligaGiuseppe Rossi, 5 goals in the Spanish Liga

Based on Gazzetta’s info, there are currently 24 Italians playing in first divisions abroad, and 17 of them stepped on the field this week-end.

The table below includes the team the player belongs to, their opponents for the week, the number of minutes they played, their contribution (goal, assist), and the final score of the game.
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ENGLAND
Player Team Opp.
mins.
Contrib.
Score
Rolando Bianchi Man City M’Boro
(injd.)
/
3-1
Carlo Cudicini Chelsea @Bolton
(bench)
/
1-0
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SCOTLAND
Massimo Donati Celtic @Gretna
80
/
2-1 
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GERMANY
Luca Toni Bayern M. @Nürnberg
90
2 goals
3-0
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SPAIN
Fabio Cannavaro Real Madrid Recreativo
90
/
2-0
Giuseppe Rossi Villareal @Osasuna
90
1 goal
2-3
Christian Abbiati Atl. Madrid @Barcelona
90
/
0-3
Gianluca Zambrotta Barcelona Atl. Madrid
(injd.)
/
3-0
Enzo Maresca Sevilla Deportivo
(injd.)
/
0-2
Morgan De Sanctis Sevilla Deportivo
(bench)
/
0-2
Emiliano Moretti Valencia Espanyol
90
/
1-2
Stefano Sorrentino Recreativo @Real Madrid
90
/
0-2
Marco Storari Levante @Zaragoza
90
/
0-3
Bruno Cirillo Levante @Zaragoza
90
/
0-3
Damiano Tommasi Levante @Zaragoza
90
/
0-3
Christian Riganò Levante @Zaragoza
77
/
0-3
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FRANCE
Fabio Grosso Lyon @Bordeaux
90
/
3-1
Flavio Roma Monaco Nancy
90
/
1-3
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HOLLAND
Graziano Pellè AZ Alkmaar FC Groningen
45
1 assist 
2-2
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BELGIUM
Roberto Mirri Mons Z.Waregem
45 
/
1-2
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SWITZERLAND
Stefano Razzetti St. Gallen Thun
90
/
0-4
Andrea Guatelli FC Zürich Neuch.Xamax
(bench)
/
1-0
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UKRAINE
Cristiano Lucarelli Shakhtar D. Karpaty Lviv
(bench)
/
3-0
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RUSSIA
Ivan Pelizzoli Lok. Moscow Zenit
90
/
1-0

Heroes of the week

This week the best performances come from Spain and (are you surprised?) Germany.

Giuseppe Rossi is building quite a name for himself in Spain. Villareal may have lost this week-end, but the young Italian scored 1 goal in the match vs. Osasuna which brings him to 3rd rank in the Pichichi race, only 1 goal behind Lionel Messi. Stay tuned for a full article on the New Jersey native, to be published soon on Soccerlens.com.

Meanwhile Luca Toni, whom the German press has baptized ‘Luca Tori’ (a play on words with the German word ”Tor”, which means goal), scored another 2 in the Bundesliga thus bringing his total to 8 goals in 8 matches for Bayern. He’s currently tied with his buddy Miroslav Klose in the scorer rankings.

Serie A Matchday 7 – Week-end review

Monday, October 8th, 2007

Serie AHere are the results and summaries for matchday 7. You can also check full video highlights here.

As usual, the GOALS of the WEEK: winners on matchday 7 are Marco Borriello for Lazio and Massimo Ambrosini for Milan.

Marco Borriello, age 25Massimo Ambrosini, age 30

Serie A – day 7
Atalanta – Udinese
0 - 0
Inter – Napoli
2 - 1
Catania – Livorno
1 – 0
Fiorentina – Juventus
1 - 1
Genoa – Cagliari
2 - 1
Palermo – Reggina
1 – 1
Parma – Roma
0 - 3
Siena – Empoli
3 – 0
Torino – Sampdoria
1 - 0
Lazio – Milan
1 - 5

Azzurri call-ups for Euro 2008 qualifier vs. Georgia

Monday, October 8th, 2007

Italy coach Roberto Donadoni has revealed the list of 22 for the match against Georgia next week-end, for the Euro 2008 qualifiers. The Italian coach is left to face with many absences due to injury or suspension, and also made some tactical choices that will leave much room for discussion in the days to come.

Riccardo Montolivo, age 22The biggest news in the list is the first call-up of Riccardo Montolivo. The Fiorentina midfielder has had some outstanding games lately, which eventually caught the eye of the Italian coach. Two notable returns to the group are also Daniele Bonera (Milan) and Stefano Mauri (Lazio). Pasquale Foggia (Cagliari) and Christian Panucci (Roma) have also been confirmed.

In the absentee list by Donadoni’s choice, a search for the most prestigious name points to Alessandro Del Piero, who evidently had his wish of ‘being-called-up-as-a-striker-or-not-be-called-up-at-all’ granted. Milan striker Filippo Inzaghi was also left out, perhaps due to his not-so-brilliant moment with his club team. Other absentees include captain Fabio Cannavaro (suspended), as well as Marco Materazzi, Gianluca Zambrotta, Mauro Camoranesi, Alberto Aquilani and Simone Perrotta.

Here’s the full list:

Goalkeepers: Amelia (Livorno), Buffon (Juventus), Curci (Roma)
Defenders: Barzagli (Palermo), Bonera (Milan), Chiellini (Juventus), Gamberini (Fiorentina), Grosso (Lyon), Oddo (Milan), Panucci (Roma)
Midfielders: Ambrosini (Milan), De Rossi (Roma), Gattuso (Milan), Mauri (Lazio), Montolivo (Fiorentina), Pirlo (Milan)
Forwards: Di Natale (Udinese), Foggia (Cagliari), Iaquinta (Juventus), Lucarelli (Shakhtar Donetsk), Quagliarella (Udinese), Toni (Bayern Munich).

My comments

Meh… I’m not entirely convinced on the exclusion of Del Piero, but after all if the Juve player himself says that he can’t play at any other position than striker, it’s best for everyone involved that Donadoni leave him at home if he doesn’t plan to use him in that role. Still no Alessandro Rosina, despite the good matches the Torino player displayed… I sincerely hope his time will come eventually.

As for who will Donadoni pick as his starting line-up, that’s a toughie (especially in defense). We can (almost) safely assume the coach will got with his usual 4-2-3-1 formation (the contrary would greatly surprise me). 

In defense, Barzagli is an obvious choice for center-back, but who will team up with the Palermo player? Donadoni could go with naturals here, namely Bonera or Gamberini. Or he could reconvert Chiellini, because the Juve left-back has been playing a good amount of games in a center role lately. Panucci could revert to the middle as well if needed. The left side is a little less ambiguous, because the only two choices are Grosso or Chiellini, and Grosso hasn’t been playing particularly well for Lyon lately. My guess is that Chiellini will start left-back, and Panucci will play center. On the right wing, the utilization of Oddo is at 99% certainty.

In midfield, if Donadoni does anything like the match against Ukraine, he’ll keep his club-pairs together, namely that’s Pirlo-Gattuso as defensive mids. Ambrosini has been playing really well too and deserves to start, but I’d say the coach will pick De Rossi over the Milan player for an offensive mid role. It’s hard to say if Montolivo or Mauri will get an apperance, but I doubt it.

Up front, I predict an attacking trio with Toni the obvious and imperative choice as the lone striker (if Luca plays with even half of his scoring efficiency at Bayern, Italy are all good). To help him on the wings should be Di Natale (left) and Iaquinta (right), no room I’m afraid for Quagliarella (poor form), Foggia, or Lucarelli.

Here’s my predicted line-up:

Italy-Georgia predicted formations

The team will all gather on Monday before 8:00pm in Coverciano, and begin practice sessions Tuesday at 10:30am.

Serie A Matchday 7 – Rossoneri Fury!! Milan atomizes Lazio!

Monday, October 8th, 2007

Serie A

One, two, three, four, fiveFive is the magic number Milan needed to rise from its ashes. Five like the five senses. Five like the number of petals in a rose. Five like Emerson’s shirt number, and before him Billy Costacurta. Five like the number of hours it took Massimo Oddo to prepare his new comb-over. Five like the number of months Alberto Gilardino hadn’t scored for AC Milan. Five like the total of goals the Rossoneri inflicted upon Lazio at the Stadio Olimpico tonight.

Serie A Matchday 7 - Lazio 1-5 Milan

Beat on your drums, blow on your trumpets, the Red & Black devils are back! It took a pretty fu**ing long time, but they’re back, and with a big bang: four days after the Celtic Park catastrophe, and many weeks of criticism before that. It took a while for the Rossoneri to grab the reins of this match…  but once they really did, they grabbed on and did not let go till the end! They even scored first through a goal-of-the-month effort by Massimo Ambrosini, then Lazio came back with Stefano Mauri, but then Kaka the guardian angel arrived to blow all of Milan’s shadows away. And Gilardino in all this? Would you believe it? He’s back too!

He may have not meant it that way, but Ambrosini scored what in Italy we call an ‘Eurogol”The premise of this match had some very simple numbers: Lazio and Milan, equal number of points in the standings, two of the most disappointing teams in this beginning of the Serie A season… I mean we’re talking about lower part of the table here. Injuries were also doing their part to make matters worse: Lazio’s Stephen Makinwa was out at the last minute due to a muscle pull, while Milan captain Paolo Maldini has yet to play a match for his team this season. News were better for Carlo Ancelotti though, because Clarence Seedorf (as well as Kaká and Pirlo) were back on the match-fit list after a few midweek problems.

The first 10 minutes of the match were slow, and carried every symptom of two teams involved in European midweek action: the Champions League efforts of Wednesday were only 4 days away, and both Lazio and Milan kept the foot off the pedal initially. The Biancocelesti attempted a few changes of pace here and there, but found an attentive Milan defensive wall ready to break down their efforts. On the other end Pirlo, Seedorf and Kaká kept quiet for a while, but when they decided to stick their heads out of the hole, it meant trouble for Lazio.

Kaká, someone Milan can always count onThe first peak of the half took place in the 13th minute, when Gilardino was sent clear by an Andrea Pirlo pass and got fouled in the box by Lazio keeper Fernando Muslera. For referee Morganti it meant clear penalty, but not for the linesman: penalty revoked and corner kick for Milan instead. Wouldn’t matter too much, as 3 minutes later the Rossoneri would take the lead in the most spectacular of fashions. Far on the left wing, Ambrosini brought the ball back to the center and attempted a cross to the far post. Wouldn’t you know it though, his cross transformed in an unstoppable chipped shot that the Lazio keeper could only watch sail into the net. 1-0 Milan.

It didn’t take the Biancocelesti very long to bring the score back level though. The finish wasn’t perhaps as spectacular as the Milan goal, but the build-up certainly deserves some praise: Lorenzo De Silvestri obtained the ball on the right, exchanged passes with Rocchi with a perfect 1-2, and then went to the byline. His low cross found the feet of Stefano Mauri, ready for the diagonal tap-in. Dida this time couldn’t be called at fault. 1-1.

‘Festeggiamenti Milan’, it’s end of the tunnel for the RossoneriUp to the first half hour, Stefano Mauri was having a pretty good night: he had just received news he was back on the Azzurri squad, and he had scored the tying goal for his team. In the 31st, Mauri’s night was going to take a radical turn. Attempting to control an AC Milan cross, the Lazio midfielder inadvertently put the ball back into Gilardino’s path, forcing Muslera to come out and take out the legs of the Milan striker. This time the penalty stood, and the Lazio keeper even got a yellow for his intervention. Kaká was ready to take the spot shot, and put Milan back ahead. 2-1. It would only be fair to cite Gilardino for his valiant efforts in the half, as the striker was doing his best to aid his teammates in the offensive build-up.

With Milan up one goal already, the second half was nothing more than a repeat Rossoneri domination of the first. Times 1.5 that is, because Ancelotti’s men would produce another 3 goals, and who better to take care of business than the team’s most prolific stars? Far on the left wing, Clarence Seedorf sent his markers into bewilderment and opened play to Pirlo on the right. The Milan playmaker just had to lift his head up once, to spot Kaká making a run into the box. The pass was controlled beautifully by the Brazilian, who faked a shot with his left, eliminated a defender, then put the ball between Muslera’s legs for the 3-1 tally.

Alberto Gilardino, 2 goals and the end of the crisis?For Milan and Lazio the match at this point was Champions League in reverse: the Biancocelesti nowhere near their good performance vs. Real Madrid, and the Rossoneri having completely forgotten their loss to Celtic, back to their finest championship form. Participating in the Milan renewal was also an unexpected guest (he had to turn up eventually): Alberto Gilardino. The striker capped a great night for his team with two personal goals, the first one exploiting a Kaka through ball with a cool close-range finish, and the second one in great style, using a perfect Ambrosini lay-up for a powerful volley below the bar. If tonight’s game certainly signifies Milan’s troubles are over, it could also mean the same thing for Gila. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5… Hooray!

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S.S. Lazio
LAZIO-MILAN 1-5
 AC Milan
GOALSCORERS: 16′ Ambrosini (M), 23′ Mauri (L), 32′ pen, 52’ Kakà (M), 69′, 79′ Gilardino (M)
LAZIO (4-4-2): Muslera – De Silvestri, Stendardo (56’ Scaloni), Cribari, Zaur – Behrami (69’ Baronio), Mudingayi, Mutarelli, Mauri – Pandev, Rocchi (77’ Tare). (bench: Ballotta, Kolarov, Baronio, Manfredini, Del Nero). Coach: Rossi.
MILAN (4-3-1-2): Dida – Oddo (81’ Simic), Bonera, Nesta, Favalli – Gattuso (82’ Brocchi), Pirlo, Ambrosini – Seedorf (83’ Gourcuff), Kakà – Gilardino. (bench: Kalac, Cafu, Emerson, Inzaghi). Coach: Ancelotti.

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