Archive for May 9th, 2008

Alessandro Del Piero on The Offside

Friday, May 9th, 2008

Brace yourself blogging world!! After Soccerlens, the great Marco Pantanella has conquered yet another mountainous peak and landed at… The Offside. Ok using ”great” and “mountainous peak” might be exaggerating a tad, but it looked cool when I wrote it.

For those of you have been living under a rock since the 2006 World Cup, The Offside is a blogging network which… Ah, why bother? I’ll just copy-paste their “About” page here below (yeah, the great Marco Pantanella is also a big lazy bum):

The Offside is part of the BootsnAll Travel Network. The site will take a humorous (we think), irreverent (we think) and occasionally insightful (possibly) look at club football from leagues around the world. If there is a sex scandal in England, we’ll be stuck in the middle of it. If a player is traded for a thousand pounds of beef in Romania, we’ll cook the steak. If something interesting happens in MLS, we’ll be just as surprised as you.

Launched after the success of the World Cup Blog, which featured a blogger for each of the 32 teams in the 2006 tournament, as well as one about the referees and another for general tournament news, The Offside will follow the major football leagues from around the world, with an ever-growing community of individual team blogs and a general football blog on the front page. 

Now you’ll say: “Ok great Marco thanks for the background info, but where does Alessandro Del Piero fit in all this?”

Well just recently, The Offside opened their Players section and launched (among others) the Cristiano Ronaldo, David Beckham, and Lionel Messi blogs. Guess who pitched the idea for a Del Piero blog? :)

So without further ado, allow me to introduce you to the blog for all things ADP:

Catania 1-1 Roma: Mission Accomplished for the Giallorossi, Cue Another Italian Cup Final with Inter (Coppa Italia Semi-Finals, Leg 2)

Friday, May 9th, 2008

Coppa Italia Tim Cup 2007-08(From Gazzetta): For the 4th consecutive season Roma will once again face Inter in the Coppa Italia final. The only difference this time around will be that the umpteenth encounter between Spalletti’s men and those of Mancini will be decided by a single match (no more double legs in finals) to be played at the Stadio Olimpico of Rome on May 24. But before they got there Roma had to first dispose of Catania, something that the Giallorossi achieved without too much heartache, as they scored first at Stadio Angelo Massimino and kept their cool after the Elefanti drew level.

CHOICES AND AIMS – When a team reaches the Coppa semi-final after never having been so far in the competition, one would expect the team in question to field their best possible line-up, especially if the prize (besides pride, glory and all that crap) is a place in next season’s UEFA Cup. Catania however were in no way tempted by European dreams and rested numerous first team players, their Serie A match away to Juventus firmly in mind: The main aim of the Sicilian club is in fact to avoid relegation and retain their Serie A status for next season, but it was certainly a real pity not to be able to assist to a game played by the best possible Catania side, especially when Roma’s 1-0 first leg win (thanks to a goal by Francesco Totti) had left their chances of reaching the final very much intact. Every manager however, obviously has the right to make the choices he retains wisest…

THE LINE UPS – Speaking of that manager, for tonight’s match Walter Zenga put his faith in Inácio Piá in attack, supported by the two Giuseppe’s (Mascara and Colucci). In defence Lorenzo Stovini was given a round of rest, while in midfield there were places for Mariano Julio Izco and Marco Biagianti. Not that Roma fielded their strongest team either: forced to play Christian Panucci and Marco Cassetti as his central defensive pairing (due to the injury of Juan and Philippe Mexes’s suspension), Luciano Spalletti chose to field Cicinho and Vitorino Antunes at right and left back. In midfield, Matteo Brighi partnered Daniele De Rossi, while Alberto Aquilani playing second striker behind Mirko Vucinic. Completing the line up were Simone Perrotta and Ludovic Giuly on the left and right wings respectively, while Pizarro and Mancini were left on the bench.

A GOAL A PIECE – The initial exchanges were played at a rather slow tempo, with Roma looking to retain possession and create changes and Catania cautious and not too willing to attack. The game continued in this manner until the 26th minute, when Izco showed more than just a little inexperience by (unnecessarily) tripping Vucinic inside the penalty box. Alberto Aquilani then made no mistake from the penalty spot, and put the Giallorossi in the lead. 1-0 Roma (and 2-0 aggregate).

Catania fans did not have to wait long for their team’s reply however, as Cristian Silvestri was at hand just a couple of minutes later to score with a perfect header and level the score. 1-1. At this point Catania really had nothing to lose (they needed two more goals to go through), and the team began to push forward with much more conviction. Without troubling Roma too much before the break however, as the first 45 minutes ended in a draw.

DULL SECOND HALF- After the break however it was all Roma as the Giallorossi came very close to scoring on a number of occasions, first through Aquilani assisted by Giuly, then through Perrotta smartly getting behind Vucinic’s pass. On both occasions Catania’s nº1 Albano Bizzarri managed to keep his side in the game. The woodwork then came to the Argentine goalkeeper’s aid in minute 57, when Perrotta‘s header connected with a cross and sent the ball on the upper right corner.

The remainder of the half did not offer much excitement: there were a number of changes but very little in terms of scoring chances (a few for Roma and zero for Catania). In addition, neither team seemed willing to put more energy into changing the course of the game, and eventually the referee called full time. In the end, it will be the same old story all over again: Roma in the cup final against Inter. Let’s just hope that on May 24 at the Olimpico, the Coppa Italia will be able to provide just a little bit more entertainment than this. No doubt that Roma will have added motivation after Inter’s (almost certain now) Scudetto celebrations.


 Calcio Catania CATANIA-ROMA
[Match Highlights]
A.S. Roma
GOALSCORERS: 27’ pen. Aquilani (R), 29’ Silvestri (C)
CATANIA (4-3-1-2): Bizzarri – Silvestre, Silvestri, Sottil, Alvarez – Izco, Edusei, Biagianti (56’ Baiocco) – Colucci (60’ Gazzola) – Pià (84’ Iannelli), Mascara. (bench: Rossi, Sardo, Sabato, Terlizzi). Coach: Zenga.
ROMA (4-2-3-1): Curci – Cicinho, Cassetti, Panucci, Antunes – Brighi, De Rossi (80’ Mancini) – Giuly (64’ M.Esposito), Aquilani, Perrotta (76’ Tonetto) – Vucinic. (bench: Julio Sergio, Brosco, Pizarro, Unal). Coach: Spalletti.