Archive for September 1st, 2008

Serie A Matchday 1 – Week-end Review + GOALS of the Week (2008-09)

Monday, September 1st, 2008

Week-End Reviews

Serie A is back!! :) Another season of Italian awesomess just kicked off this week-end, and here are the results and summaries for matchday 1. Full Video Highlights here.

Italian Calcio Blog week 1 review

Italian Calcio Blog 2008-09

Gazzetta in English week 1 review

Gazzetta dello Sport

It was a surprising day 1 in the Italian league.

At the Stadio Olimpico, last year’s second place AS Roma drew 1-1 with Napoli, who had defender Fabiano Santacroce sent off for a second yellow card in the 54th minute. Alberto Aquilani had nudged the ball home for the hosts just before the half hour, after fellow Italy midfielder Daniele De Rossi had picked him out in the area. Later however, Marek Hamsik exploited the crossbar-rebound of his own header to level for Napoli, shortly after Santacroce’s sending off.

Meanwhile in San Siro Ronaldinho’s debut was spoiled by Francesco Valiano, blasting the ball home from outside the box in the 79th minute for Bologna. Massimo Ambrosini had equalized for AC Milan, cancelling out Marco Di Vaio’s goal in the first half.

AC Milan 1-2 Bologna Match Report (mCalcio)


Inter Milan were held 1-1 at Sampdoria on Saturday in new coach Jose Mourinho’s league debut. Zlatan Ibrahimovic had opened the score for the visitors (a very contested goal tainted by a handball control), but Gennaro Delvecchio drew things level for Samp later in the second half.

Sampdoria 1-1 Inter Milan Match Report (mCalcio)


Juventus kicked off their campaign at fierce rivals Fiorentina in the evening game on Sunday, settling for the draw as Pavel Nedved’s 39th minute opener was cancelled by Alberto Gilardino in the dying minutes.

Fiorentina 1-1 Juventus Match Report (mCalcio)

In Sunday’s other matches, Torino beat Lecce 3-0 in Turin, Lazio came from behind to beat 10-man Cagliari 4-1 in Sardinia, Atalanta and Catania secured 1-0 home wins over Siena and Genoa, and Chievo beat Reggina 2-1 in Verona. Those teams join Bologna and Udinese, who beat Palermo 3-1 in their opening game on Saturday, at the top of Serie A.



Phew! Man did I miss Serie A this summer. I mean sure Euro 2008 was nice (actually, it was not), but it lacked a high enough concentration of really spectacular goals. Thank God for Antonio Di Natale (the “Fall” version… WHY he couldn’t do it in June still eludes me)…


  • Hamsik‘s bicycle-kick (Roma-Napoli)
  • Zarate‘s chipped shot (Cagliari-Lazio)
  • Valiani‘s top-corner ripper (Milan-Bologna)
  • Di Vaio‘s drilling shot after a good collective move (Milan-Bologna)
  • Padoin‘s header after another good collective move (Atalanta-Siena)
  • Aquilani‘s half-bicycle after a good chest control (Roma-Napoli)
  • Di Natale‘s double (no comments necessary) (Udinese-Palermo)
  • Ibrahimovic‘s chested control and finish (Sampdoria-Inter)

This week, the goal-of-the-week award was a tough choice. Francesco Valiani’s match-winner against Milan was a pure beauty, but everyone loves a touch of class. And in cases like this one, class outranks a powerful top-corner drive.

Antonio Di Natale shows us how:


Results Summary


Serie A 2008-09
Matchday 1


Udinese Calcio
US Città di Palermo
UC Sampdoria
FC Internazionale Milano
AC Chievo Verona
Reggina Calcio
Atalanta Bergamasca Calcio
AC Siena
Torino FC
US Lecce
AC Milan
Bologna FC 1909
Calcio Catania
Genoa CFC
Cagliari Calcio
SS Lazio Roma
AS Roma
SSC Napoli
ACF Fiorentina
Juventus FC


Fiorentina 1-1 Juventus: Bianconeri Waste Too Many Chances, Gilardino Says Thank You (Serie A Matchday 1)

Monday, September 1st, 2008

A good Juventus and a very resolute Fiorentina side gave life to an entertaining and exciting contest for fans in attendance at the Artemio Franchi stadium, with the game’s final result never certain until the referee’s final whistle. In the end it finished 1-1, courtesy of goals by Nedved and Gilardino.

Juve, 1-0 up with one minute to go (and one extra man due to a Viola dismissal), were certainly the more disappointed of the two sides, but Ranieri can nonetheless smile with some satisfaction. Indeed, his side created more chances than their opponents and showed solidity, character and determination in a difficult away fixture (especially against a traditionally bitter rival and direct challenger for the Serie A title).

(From Gazzetta dello Sport): Just like last year in the reverse fixture in Turin, the Viola were able to draw themselves level, but could not eventually find the winner: this time around it would have been too much to ask. It’s important to also acknowledge tonight’s scorers: Pavel Nedved, who had left training in a stretcher just last week, but who in this fixture gave a very energetic display as he ran the pitch tirelessly. He’s one of those players who rarely fails to turn up for important games. Then there was Alberto Gilardino, La Viola’s main attacking threat and the man whose goals will (in all likelihood) determine how well the Tuscan side will do this season.

FURIA CECA - The first half was played out at a discrete rhythm with neither side gaining the upper hand, both teams seemingly paying the price for their midweek Champions League excursions. Fiorentina for their part were making good use of both wings, with Mario Santana putting Molinaro in difficulty and Juan Manuel Vargas doing a lot of running on the other side. Juve’s reply on the other end came in the shape of Poulsen’s muscle and by way of some good exchanges between Del Piero and Amauri, the pair looking to find one another fairly frequently.

However there was not much in terms of goal scoring chances. The visitors’ goal finally came in the 39th minute, Zdenek Grygera skipping past a man (in one of the defender’s rare forays down the wing) and crossing in for Pavel Nedved: the Czech midfielder then duly obliged his compatriot’s delivery by connecting with the cross to score in an empty net. 1-0 Juventus.

Fiorentina were suddenly on the back foot, and Juve twice came close to dealing the Viola the knockout punch: first with a header from Amauri, and then through Del Piero (who failed to beat an outrushing Frey). 1-0 at the break.

SECOND HALF - Fiorentina began the second half in a much more aggressive fashion, and were more dangerous going forward thanks in no small part to the introduction of Stevan Jovetic (once again, mark my words: keep this kid under close watch). Vargas also came close with a free-kick and Gilardino carved himself a decent opening when he managed to skip past Mellberg, but then put his shot wide (as a desperate Buffon had come flying out of his goal).

Juve however defended solidly, and took advantage of Camoranesi’s technical mastery (better as the game progressed) and Del Piero’s ball control to hit their opponents on the counter. The Bianconeri captain was providing some useful contributions in the final third and came extremely close to scoring, when his 30m free-kick went just narrowly wide.

The game maintained its entertaining edge right till the very end, highly competitive (too competitive in some instances especially when Felipe Melo was sent off for a bad foul) and rich in tension as both sets of players were showing the strong desire to win. But none as much as Alberto Gilardino, who in the 89th minute (just as the Bianconeri looked set to clinch the victory) showed excellent technique, good timing and a lot of cunning to turn Mellberg and slot the ball past a helpless Buffon. 1-1.

In time added on, Juve tried to claim back the three points that they believed they rightly deserved, but Frey did well to save from an Amauri top-corner howitzer, and Del Piero once again put a free-kick just narrowly wide. The Bianconeri were forced to share the spoils…


 ACF Fiorentina
[Match Highlights]
Juventus F.C.
GOALSCORERS: 39’ Nedved (J), 89’ Gilardino (F).
FIORENTINA (4-3-3): Frey – Zauri, Gamberini, Kroldrup, Vargas – Almirón (54’ Jovetic), Felipe Melo, Donadel (79’ Kuzmanovic) – Santana, Gilardino, Osvaldo (63’ Pazzini). (bench: Storari, Dainelli, Pasqual, Gobbi). Coach: Prandelli.
JUVENTUS (4-4-2): Buffon – Grygera, Legrottaglie, Mellberg, Molinaro (74’ De Ceglie) – Camoranesi (88’ Iaquinta), Marchisio, Poulsen, Nedved – Amauri, Del Piero. (bench: Manninger, Knezevic, Salihamidzic, Tiago, Giovinco). Coach: Ranieri.


AC Milan 1-2 Bologna: Ronaldinho’s Not Enough, San Siro Silenced (Serie A Matchday 1)

Monday, September 1st, 2008

AC Milan silenced at San Siro, the party for the thousands of Rossoneri fans ruined, all gathered to see Ronaldinho in action. There just is something that still isn’t working in Carlo Ancelotti’s team…

The star on the field today was undoubtedly the Brazilian nº80, but in the end Bologna were the real victors, walking away with a deserved 2-1 win and showing an enviable cynicism: four chances, two goals. What better way to celebrate your return to the Serie A?

(From Gazzetta dello Sport): Carlo Ancelotti would have never imagined a season debut like this, after having selected two second strikers in his Brazilian-styled line-up. Clarence Seedorf and Ronaldinho took places behind Filippo Inzaghi, so it was all about combining class and improvisation with an instinct for goal. Especially since Milan had to make do without Kakà, Nesta, Gattuso, Borriello and Senderos, while Bologna manager Daniele Arrigoni selected a flexible formation: 4-2-3-1 in attack, 4-5-1 in defence.

It was an effective strategy from the Rossoblu, who came out onto the pitch with little respect for famous names and closed up Milan’s spaces effectively, although somewhat helped their opponents’ lack of mobility (especially on the wings, since Milan insisted too much on central plays). Ronaldinho’s moves (albeit spectacular) weren’t enough. He wanted to show the world that he was still the magician of yore, the one we all learned to love and applaud in Barcelona, however we only got to see a few minor examples of his amazing talent. Bologna played better, building their game intelligently and relying on basic but effective moves. In the 18th minute, taking advantage of a rusty Milan set-up, the visitors opened the score: it was a quick play by Adailton, C.Zenoni, C.Amoroso and Marco Di Vaio, finalized with a diagonal shot by the ex-Juve and Genoa striker. Christian Abbiati (preferred over Dida and Kalac) could do very little. 1-0 Bologna.

The shock of the goal awoke Milan, who eventually finally got out of their slumber and unleashed Gianluca Zambrotta. The Azzurri right-back started his usual pinpoint crossing delivery, including a great assist for Ronaldinho that the Brazilian playmaker put slightly off the mark (heading’s not exactly his specialty). Meanwhile, Dinho was raising the stakes, increasing the pace and putting himself at the service of the team. His fantastic through ball for Inzaghi, was chipped over the keeper by Pippo (like in the Champions League finals in Athens) but found its way wide past the goal line.

Milan were really putting up a fight, but given the trouble they were having in the middle they tried their luck with a few long-rangers. First Zambrotta, then Flamini, but Francesco Antonioli did nothing short of a miracle against the Frenchman. Hats off to him! A goal was in the air however, and after a potential 2-0 killer blow missed by Di Vaio (upon his umpteenth breakaway), Ronaldinho pulled out of the hat a perfect assist for Massimo Ambrosini, who headed it in past Antonioli. 1-1.

The second half began with the return of the prodigal son, Andriy Shevchenko. Jankulovski left the pitch and Ancelotti changed everything, moving Zambrotta to the left, Flamini to the right and launching a ruthless and explosive attack (Seedorf slightly further back compared to the first half). The strategy highlighted Ronaldinho’s talent, and permitted him to showcase the full extent of his moves: a public danger for a Bologna defense unable to contain him, Dinho dribbled in small spaces and started to provide assists left and right. In particular to Sheva who, in a one-on-one with Antonioli, missed a great opportunity for Milan to pull ahead.

Bologna did not give up, and applied Arrigoni’s strategy to the best of their abilities. Adailton and Christian Amoroso were replaced with Gaby Mudingayi and Massimo Marazzina. The excitement came always from breakaways, such as the one in the 21st minute when Di Vaio’s shot barely missed the goal. The clock was ticking and Ancelotti refreshed the offensive line: Inzaghi left the pitch and was replaced by Alexandre Pato.

Bologna were still alive and kicking however, and took advantage with cynicism of all the chances they had. Inspired by his illustrious Brazilian opponent, Francesco Valiani summoned the best Ronaldinho in him and drilled the ball into Abbiati’s top-right corner. It was minute 79. 2-1 Bologna.

Milan were llackluster and out of juice, but attempted a final rush forward in order to equalize. Not enough to worry the Rossoblu, who controlled the ball with confidence… Ambrosini’s substitution by Emerson was also futile, in part because confusion and lack of determination reigned amongst the Rossoneri on the pitch. In the end, it was a well-deserved victory for Bologna, which should make Ancelotti understand that (as Arrigoni said) apart from talent, one also needs hard-working players.


 AC Milan
[Match Highlights]
Bologna F.C. 1909
GOALSCORERS: 18’ Di Vaio (B), 42’ Ambrosini (M), 79’ Valiani (B).
MILAN (4-3-2-1): Abbiati – Zambrotta, Maldini, Kaladze, Jankulovski (46’ Shevchenko) – Flamini, Pirlo, Ambrosini (85’ Emerson) – Seedorf, Ronaldinho – Inzaghi (69’ Pato). (bench: Dida, Antonini, Favalli, Cardacio). Coach: Ancelotti.
BOLOGNA (4-2-3-1): Antonioli – Zenoni, Moras, Terzi, Bombardini (90‘ Castellini) – Mingazzini, Volpi – Adailton (60’ Marazzina), C.Amoroso (60’ Mudingayi), Valiani – Di Vaio. (bench: Colombo, Britos, Bernacci, Coelho). Coach: Arrigoni.