11 yellow cards and 58 fouls committed. Derbies can be a hard-fought affair, but one has to wonder after how many fouls a game stops being a soccer match and turns into a boxing competition.
The 99th edition of the Derby della Lanterna, opposing the two main teams from Liguria and one which had been eluding the Rossoblu for 7 years, went to Genoa on Sunday. It was set to be a battle between Diego Milito and Antonio Cassano, the two ex-Liga players and the real protagonists of their respective teams so far this season. Talentino put all his heart into it, but in the end El Principe prevailed.
In the fifth minute of the second half, Genoa took a free kick on the right side of the pitch, and centered the ball towards the penalty box. On the receiving end, Diego Milito sent the Genoa supporters into ecstasy, a fantastic header ending right into Castellazzi’s top corner. And while Genoa triumphed, Sampdoria can have many regrets on the two disallowed goals for their side (in particular Fornaroli’s).
Tactically, there weren’t any surprises for Sampdoria: Mazzarri fielded his usual 3-5-2 formation, with Bellucci and Cassano as the main strikers. On the other end, Gasperini modified his customary three-man attacking line-up, reverting to a 3-4-1-2 with Criscito as left midfielder, Milanetto-Juric in the center, and Sculli-Milito up top.
Right from the beginning, this match was not exactly a spectacle of free-flowing footy. I already mentioned the dozen yellow cards and near-60 fouls given in my introductory paragraph, but just to reinforce these figures further the first half alone bore witness to extremely aggressive behaviour in midfield, with 6 yellow cards (4 to Genoa -Biava, Milanetto, Thiago Motta and Sculli, and 2 to the Blucerchiati -Delvecchio and Franceschini) being handed out by referee Stefano Farina (all in all, keeping the match under a tight disciplinary leash). As a result of this, the goalkeepers saw very few dangerous shots on goal, even though Genoa (who overall managed to work the ball better) had a slight upper hand in the matter.
Naturally, the one player getting involved in those could only be Diego Milito. The Rossoblu striker armed his shots twice in the initial 45, the first after 3 minutes of play (he wriggled free of his defender on the left and sent a shot over the bar), and then later at the 17’ minute mark, winning a free-kick just outside the penalty area (the ensuing shot was blocked by the defensive wall). For Sampdoria, the only player showing any flashes of brilliance was Cassano, but he was poorly supported by his team-mates.
In the second half, the Rossoblu stepped back onto the field with a dominating intent, and made a definitive statement towards that end with Milito’s stunning header, just five minutes after the restart. 1-0 Genoa.
Sampdoria’s pride spurred them to react, but their playmakers’ inspiration was running on dry mode. Mazzarri’s men did manage to equalize through Campagnaro, but the goal was disallowed for offside. It was a correct decision, but the Blucerchiati didn’t see it that way and followed with a rash of fouls (Milito left the pitch injured) and more yellow cards. The “fighting spirit” approach didn’t do Sampdoria too much good however, and Cassano (their only player really trying to do something), Delvecchio and Franceschini’s efforts were constantly repelled by the Rossoblu backline.
At the 37th minute mark, Sampdoria’s continuous crossing into the Genoa box (hoping for a winning redirect) seemed to finally pay dividends, as Bruno Fornaroli sent his effort past Rubinho into the back of net. The linesman raised his flag however, signaling for an offside position which, in all honesty, was very dubious to say the least. It the was the last highlight in a match punctuated by fouls and Diego Milito’s brilliance. Genoa were the victors, and at 25 points in the standing can now smell UEFA Champions League for the first time.
|GOALSCORERS: 50’ D.Milito (G).
| SAMPDORIA (3-5-2): Castellazzi – Campagnaro (80’ Fornaroli), Gastaldello, Accardi – Ma.Padalino (84’ Stankevicius), G.Delvecchio, Sammarco, Franceschini, Pieri – Bellucci, Cassano. (bench: Mirante, Ziegler, Lucchini, Bottinelli, Dessena). Coach: Mazzarri.
| GENOA (4-3-1-2): Rubinho – Bocchetti, Biava, Ferrari, Criscito – M.Rossi (40′ Sokratis), Milanetto, Juric – T.Motta – Sculli (65’ Vanden Borre), D.Milito (75’ Palladino). (bench: Scarpi, Olivera, Sokratis, Jankovic, Modesto). Coach: Gasperini.