Archive for November, 2008

Zenit 0-0 Juventus: One Point Closer to First Spot… (UEFA Champions League 2008-09)

Tuesday, November 25th, 2008

Claudio Ranieri had warned Zenit he wasn’t planning to fold today and that Champions League matches are never considered “friendly”, with or without the mathematical certainty of qualification. And that is why Juve’s manager sent his boys to play offensive football in Russia, keeping squad rotation to a minimum and concentration at its fullest.

If Wednesday’s match was to prove Juventus had “digested” (Ranieri’s words) their 1-0 loss to Inter this week-end, I’d say “mission accomplished”. Only partly however, because the Bianconeri were also determined to put the first place of Group H on ice, something which after their 0-0 draw today (and Real Madrid’s concurrent win vs. Bate Borisov) will unfortunately have to wait until matchday 6.

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Serie A Matchday 13 – Week-End Review + GOALS of the Week (2008-09)

Tuesday, November 25th, 2008

Week-End Reviews

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Torino 2-2 Milan: Rossoneri “Hand” Granata a Draw… (Serie A Matchday 13)

Monday, November 24th, 2008

What is a handball? What is not a handball? How to define intention? These are just a few of the questions to be raised, once again, after a doubtful night of refereeing in the Serie A. Torino vs. Milan serves as a good example that even an experienced ref like Stefano Farina can sometimes reduce the difference between a good and a bad call to a very thin line.

Was Pratali’s handball on Ronaldinho’s cross a penalty? Was Kaladze’s handball unintentional? The two offenses were probably of equal entity, yet what could have been a nail-in-the-coffin in favor of the Rossoneri rapidly transformed into an equalizing spot-kick for the Granata. All in all, based on both team’s performances tonight, the 2-2 draw was not a scandalous result. Although Khaka Kaladze won’t quite see it the same way…

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Inter Milan 1-0 Juventus: Convincing Performance and Lucky Goal, Mourinho’s Winning Ingredients (Serie A Matchday 13)

Sunday, November 23rd, 2008

The Jose Mourinho stamp on this Inter Milan team is set. Now more than ever. Strong & well-organized tactics, a determined athletic performance from all players, and a winning mentality: the psychological drive necessary to come out as victors in the ever-difficult Derby d’Italia fixture.

And too bad if the match-winning goal came through a fortunate tap-in by Muntari (receiving an Ibrahimovic pass which, all evidence suggests, was in fact a shot): that is what great teams do. They rake in the wins, and all goals count. Fortuitous or not.

Juventus lost today, but must not be faulted. True, there are now 6 points separating them from their Nerazzurri rivals, but the Bianconeri’s performance had many positive notes (Chiellini and Sissoko above all), and was considerably handicapped by the immediate injury sustained by Tiago in the 2nd minute of play.

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Fiorentina 4-2 Udinese: Come-back Kings Wearing Violet on Saturday (Serie A Matchday 13)

Sunday, November 23rd, 2008

The perfect example of “a match of two halves”, Saturday’s Fiorentina vs. Udinese also delighted Serie A fans with a big deluge of goals, courtesy of some often shaky defending (on both sides) but more so of the great prideful reaction by Cesare Prandelli’s boys. One goal down early in the game, La Viola looked over the precipice, reacted and came back as only a great fighter would.

In particular, today’s lasting image was the big “fu** you” message (figuratively speaking) sent by Riccardo Montolivo to all his critics, after his uninspiring mid-week performance for Italy. The Viola midfielder literally took his team by the reins, providing the playmaking and the scoring, and capping a great performance with two nicely taken goals.

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