Posts Tagged ‘Clarence Seedorf’

Milan 1-0 Cagliari: It’s Another Injury-Fest, Seedorf Saves Rossoneri (Serie A Matchday 25)

Sunday, February 22nd, 2009

AC Milan's Clarence Seedorf celebrates after scoring against Cagliari during their Italian Serie A soccer match at the San Siro stadium in Milan February 22, 2009. (REUTERS)

“Pain & Suffering” seems to be the theme for big clubs this week-end. After Inter, Roma, and Juventus, injury-laden AC Milan was the fourth team having to go through hell and fury to scrape a win against Cagliari on Sunday. A Rossoblu side which, as evidenced by their 7th spot in the league rankings, confirmed once again to be fully deserving of their recent attention.

Indeed, Massimiliano Allegri’s team put up a really fierce display at the San Siro today, having only bad luck (cf. Cossu’s shot off the woodwork plus a couple of wrong offside calls) and one tiny defensive mistake to blame for their loss. Clarence Seedorf’s tally is thus keeping Milan’s slender serie A title hopes alive.


AC Milan 4-1 Lazio: Is “Biancocelesti” Italian for “Miracle Cure”? (Serie A Matchday 3)

Monday, September 22nd, 2008

You know it’s funny: it seems that whenever AC Milan are in trouble, all they need to lift their spirits is a little Lazio “rejuvenation cure”.

Just around the same time last year, the Rossoneri had just played an abysmal UEFA Champions League match against Celtic Glasgow (in which Dida infamously faked being mortally hit by an invading Celtic supporter, remember?) and occupied one of its lowest Serie A rankings in years. On matchday 7, they were travelling to Stadio Olimpico to play Lazio, at which point… a miracle took place. Contrary to every pre-game prediction, Milan won the match 5-1, virtually (temporarily) ending their results crisis and sending them on the way to a FIFA Club World Cup champions title.

I’m beginning to think that playing Lazio when you’re wearing red & black must have therapeutic powers

(From Gazzetta dello Sport): Four very loud trumpet calls sounded at the San Siro Sunday night, just to let the Serie A know AC Milan is very much alive and kicking. No doubt also to convince Carlo Ancelotti, who wanted a clear sign and some impressive football in order to declare the Rossoneri crisis well and truly broken.

A sign of the kind that brought Lazio literally to their knees, with a superlative 4-1 win in a goal-filled, showtime bonanza. Most importantly, the match demonstrated what Milan is truly capable of, albeit with a little help from Lazio (the Biancocelesti forgot to put up barricades for this one, but they kept their heads up and faced the Rossoneri with a brave face). A night for football epicurians let’s say, who were served up Seedorf‘s (lucky) opening shot and Zarate‘s equalizer for starters, then wined and dined by some wizard shots from Zambrotta, Pato and Kaká to bring the banquet to an end.

When you have still yet to score a point in the standings, playing conservative is not an option. Lost ground is regained by taking risks, and that’s just what Ancelotti put on the menu: diamond formation with Gattuso midfield between Ambrosini and Seedorf, Kaká up top behind Alexandre Pato and Marco Borriello (Ronaldinho and Sheva on the bench). Lazio lined up a similar formation, with Stefano Mauri covering the backs of the top-scoring Goran Pandev-Mauro Zarate duo.

Milan got off to a shaky start: on a hazardous Kaladze back-pass to Abbiati (just a few seconds into the game), Mauri almost managed to capitalize and put his team in the lead. This was to be the first in a long series of Kakhaber-blunders, but its was also crucial in making the Rossoneri get a clear idea on Lazio’s intentions: the Biancocelesti had come to San Siro to win.

Milan perked up and started pressing. 6 minutes in, Seedorf and Kaká combined (one of the recurring themes of tonight’s match) to set up Pato inside the box, but the young Brazilian’s backheel did not fool Carrizo. Two minutes later however, breakthrough time: from Pato to Seedorf on the edge of the box, the Dutchman litterally played a wall pass with… Ledesma’s back, to pick up the ball just inside the box apply an easy finish. 1-0 Milan.

It was an unfortunate goal for Lazio, but the Biancocelesti were not demoralized. Playing a razor-sharp, well-balanced game with no hesitation of moving forward, Delio Rossi’s man launched themselves into the Milan box. Mauri forced Abbiati down with a ground shot in minute 18, shortly followed by Zarate (well-served by Pandev). During this phase of play, it became evident that Lazio maneuvering variety was superior to Milan’s, and that Pandev can be a playmaker of the highest level at times. It was precisely through the Macedonian player’s assist that Zarate took control of the ball, burned Kaladze on the run, and put an accurate effort past Abbiati’s first post. 1-1.

Milan responded immediately. Pato (great dribble followed by a low shot on Carrizo) and Kaká (double dribble on Lichtsteiner and shot wide) tried their luck a few times, but it was through Gianluca Zambrotta’s scorcher (in minute 35) that Milan took their lead back. Similar to Maicon’s shot in the Torino vs. Inter game, the Rossoneri right-back unleashed a marvelous strike from 30 yards that ended its course straight into the top-left corner. 2-1 Milan.

The goal really got Milan’s motors going, driving them harder and faster to claim the game as their own. Pato was feeling inspired, Borriello a bit less (although his pass for Kaká’s header in minute 42 was worthy of note), while Lazio patiently waited in their own half, hoping to hit the Rossoneri on the counter (especially through Kaladze’s turf, whose lack of confidence put the entire backline on thin ice).

In the second period Lazio came back out strong, with Zarate showing he was no flash in the pan. While half of Milan’s defence (often forced to foul on the edge of the box) tried to stop the Argentine striker, the Rossoneri attacking line was lurking. In fact as soon as Milan stepped up the tempo again, it was goal nº3 for the Ancelotti’s boys: Jankulovski darted off on the left and served a perfect ball to Alexandre Pato, setting him up for an unstoppable short-range diving header. 3-1 Milan.

Milan was finally calling the shots, almost oozing in confidence as Kaká continued his vintage show of ball control & technique. The Brazilian playmaker first tried his luck from 15 yards (receiving a pass from Borriello) but was denied by the Lazio keeper. Carrizo could however do very little three minutes later, as Kaká did… well what Kaká does best, sending a great long-range inswinging curler straight into the top corner. Lots of top-corner goals this week-end, and 4-1 Milan.

It was the coup de grâce for Lazio, guilty perhaps of having underestimated their opponents’ crisis-recovery abilities. In the final minutes, even Ronaldinho (on for Pato) got some playing time, immediately setting Borriello up for a fifth goal (blocked by Carrizo) and sending the ball onto the crossbar. Lazio were spared further humiliation, as Ancelotti grabbed the first points of this Serie A season… Phew! Huh Carlo?


 AC Milan
[Match Highlights]
S.S. Lazio
GOALSCORERS: 8’ Seedorf (M), 26’ Zarate (L), 35’ Zambrotta (M), 59’ Pato (M), 60’ Kakà (M).
MILAN (4-3-2-1): Abbiati – Zambrotta, Kaladze, Maldini, Jankulovski – Ambrosini, Gattuso (79’ Emerson), Seedorf (64’ Flamini) – Kaká; Pato (71’ Ronaldinho), Borriello. (bench: Dida, Bonera, Favalli, Shevchenko). Coach: Ancelotti.
LAZIO (4-3-1-2): Carrizo – Lichtsteiner, Siviglia, Rozehnal, Kolarov – Brocchi (79’ De Silvestri), C.Ledesma, Matuzalem (68’ Meghni) – Mauri (63’ Foggia) – Pandev, Zarate. (bench: Muslera, Cribari, C.Manfredini, Makinwa). Coach: D.Rossi.


Trofeo TIM 2008-09: Juventus, AC Milan, and Inter Milan Pre-Season Showdown Favors the Rossoneri

Saturday, August 2nd, 2008

You just gotta love the month of August in Italy, and the regular occurrence of triple-team tournaments. The “Triangolare” format (as they call it down in the Old Boot) seems to be an Italian specialty because I have yet to see it appear regularly elsewhere in Europe (feel free to prove me wrong in the comments). With prestigious tourneys such as the Trofeo TIM and Trofeo Birra Moretti, these series of friendlies provide Serie A fans with interesting pre-season insights on their favorite teams.

So, while we wait for the “Birra Moretti” (August 25, featuring Juve, Milan, Napoli), last week was the turn of the Trofeo TIM and the first chance to see Juventus, AC Milan, and Inter Milan face off against one another, albeit with different levels of preparation and in matches of reduced length. The game format is the following: each game consists of one single half of 45 minutes; should the game still be tied at the end of regulation time, it wil go straight to penalty shots. Points are attributed as follows: 3 pts. for a win, 2 pts. for a P.K. win, 1 pt. for a P.K. loss, 0 pts. for a loss.

In front of the 20,000 spectactors of Stadio Olimpico di Torino, let’s see how it all went down.

Juventus vs. AC Milan

Juventus F.C.A.C. Milan

(From Gazzetta): In the first 45 minutes, Juve manager Claudio Ranieri picked his classic 4-4-2 formation; Buffon in net, Grygera-Chiellini-Mellberg-Molinaro at the back, Marchionni and Nedved on the wings and Sissoko-Tiago in the center (with the former operating as defensive mid and the former in a playmaking role), and Trezeguet-Iaquinta up front. As for AC Milan, many players were unavailable for Carlo Ancelotti (Maldini and Inzaghi still recovering from injuries, Ronaldinho and Pato away with the Brazilian olympic team, and Mathieu Flamini unable to join the party due to a muscular problem) so the Milan manager also stuck with the “classics”, namely Milan’s patented Xmas tree formation: Kalac – Zambrotta, Bonera, Kaladze, Jankulovski – Brocchi, Pirlo, Ambrosini – Seedorf, Kakà – Paloschi.

It didn’t take very long for the match to pick up pace: in minute 2 Massimo Ambrosini already had to chance to shoot on target (deflected by Tiago), while one minute later it was Alberto Paloschi’s turn to fire one at Buffon. In other words, the Rossoneri seemed keen on proving that despite the many absentees this team “wanted some”. As indeed did Clarence Seedorf, who in the last month seemed to elicit interest just because he was “the guy with the nº10 shirt”, till Ronaldinho finally picked 80. Indeed, the Dutch international donned his “super-goal” shoes and slammed a wonderful 25m-strike straight into Buffon’s top-right corner. 1-0 Milan.

Just 60 seconds later, Juve made it 1-1: a Grygera cross was tackled into the net by David Trezeguet, via Kalac’s wide open legs. While Milan certainly was showing touches of class, the Bianconeri’s determination (even in friendly matches) needed to further introduction, and the fact Giorgio Chiellini was being the usual rock in center defense (damn were the Azzurri lucky to have him at Euro 2008!) could not hurt either. In fact, in minute 11 Ranieri’s boys actually took the lead through Marco Marchionni, exploiting yet another Grygera cross (deflected by the Milan defense) to beat Kalac with a precise header. 2-1 Juventus and looking strong.

Back on the other end, Kakha Kaladze fell short of redeeming his defensive mistakes by incredibly missing an easy finish (minute 16), while five minutes later a Marek Jankulovski howitzer was deflected wide by Buffon. Signs that AC Milan were still alive & kickin’. But so was Juve: in minute 40 the Bianconeri could have made it 3-1 as Pavel Nedved (yes, Furia Ceca is still around for one more season) narrowly missed the post from the edge of the box.

However this clearly was Clarence Seedorf‘s night, as the Dutch midfielder seemed to make a point in proving that Ronaldinho or no Ronaldinho, he’s still the guy with the starting spot at AC Milan. In minute 42, picking up a loose corner-kick clearance by Sissoko, Seedorf put his super-boots to work one more time and pierced Buffon’s top-right corner again. Boo-ya! 2-2 the final score, time for penalties. With the misses of Trezeguet (don’t let him shoot penalties anymore!!) and Tiago for Juve, the 2-point P.K. win went to AC Milan.


2-2 (4-6 p.s.o.)
A.C. Milan
GOALSCORERS: 8’ Seedorf (M), 9’ Trezeguet (J), 12’ Marchionni (J), 43’ Seedorf (M).
PENALTY SHOOTOUT: Trezeguet (J) wide, Kakà (M) goal, Iaquinta (J) goal, Pirlo (M) goal, Chiellini (J) goal, Jankulovski (M) goal, Tiago (J) saved, Paloschi (M) goal.
JUVENTUS (4-4-2): Buffon – Grygera, Mellberg, Chiellini, Molinaro – Marchionni, Sissoko, Tiago, Nedved – Iaquinta, Trezeguet. Coach: Ranieri.
MILAN (4-3-2-1): Kalac – Zambrotta, Bonera, Kaladze, Jankulovski – Brocchi, Pirlo, Ambrosini – Seedorf, Kakà – Paloschi. Coach: Ancelotti.


Juventus vs. Inter Milan

Juventus F.C.F.C. Internazionale Milano

For Juventus to tame an evidently still unfit & unprepared Internazionale, a Vincenzo Iaquinta goal was clearly sufficient. For their second match Claudio Ranieri operated a whole line of changes, keeping only Buffon, Molinaro, and Sissoko compared to the original team. Thus the Bianconeri stepped back onto the field with Buffon – Zebina, Knezevic, Legrottaglie, Molinaro – Camoranesi, Sissoko, Ekdal, F.Rossi – Amauri, Del Piero. As for Inter’s first appearance tonight, José Mourinho fielded his favorite 4-3-3 formation with Julio Cesar – Maicon, Burdisso, Materazzi, Maxwell – J.Zanetti, Vieira, Cambiasso – Balotelli, Adriano, Mançini.

Unlike the sparkling start of Juve-AC Milan, the night’s second fixture took a little while to become interesting, both teams evidently taking a bit longer to study each other’s movements. With good reason too, because unlike last year when the Bianconeri were just coming out of a season in Serie B, this year Ranieri’s team is claiming a definite role in the Scudetto race. Interisti, you have been warned! In minute 6, Adriano (yup, he’s back and José’s counting on him this season) received a good ball inside the box, but the Brazilian’s first touch betrayed him as he allowed the Juve defense to clear. One minute later, bad news for Mourinho as Marco Materazzi was forced off due to a muscular strain, and with Samuel, Córdoba and Chivu still unavailable, Inter was left facing a real Center-D problem. On came Dejan Stankovic (greeted with a plethora of boos) thus forcing Esteban Cambiasso to backtrack to the backline.

In minute 11, Alessandro Del Piero came close to opening the score (his powerful instep finish was deflected wide by Maxwell), shortly imitated by Adriano on the other end (Knezevic doing the deflection job here). Alas for Juve (and neutral spectators looking for goals), twelve minutes after Materazzi it was Amauri’s turn to leave the field injured (head-to-head collision with Vieira), forcing Ranieri to put Vincenzo Iaquinta back in. This actually turned out to be a good move for Juve though, because the Calabria-born striker exploited a perfectly-timed long ball to get behind the Inter defense, control the ball on the edge of the box, and beat Julio Cesar with a powerful shot low on the left side of the goal. 1-0 Juventus.

Overall and based on the level of play seen so far, the Bianconeri certainly deserved their lead: Inter’s passing was leaving something to be desired, their striking trio still lacking teamwork, and the team as whole severely lacking fitness. The Nerazzurri it must be said, had the excuse of beginning their pre-season training later than Juve (who will be playing the preliminary round of the UEFA Champions League qualifiers), but still one was perhaps expecting something more from the Serie A title holders. The positive note of the evening for Mourinho though was the good form of Adriano, back to Italy after his loan spell at Sao Paulo and capable in minute 43 to force Buffon (still the world’s best) to his only real “save” of the night.

Before the match ended, there was still time for Christian Poulsen and Giorgio Chiellini (on for Sissoko and Molinaro) and Luis Figo and Hernan Crespo (on for Stankovic and Balotelli) to make an appearance, and for Del Piero to showcase his still lethal (but not tonight) set pieces skills (double post on a great 25m free kick, leaving Julio Cesar to watch). The match ended 1-0 for Juve.


F.C. Internazionale Milano
GOALSCORERS: 27’ Iaquinta (J)
JUVENTUS (4-4-2): Buffon – Zebina, Legrottaglie, Knezevic, Molinaro (40’ Chiellini) – Camoranesi, Sissoko (26’ Poulsen), Ekdal, F.Rossi – Del Piero, Amauri (20’ Iaquinta). Coach: Ranieri
INTER (4-3-3): Julio Cesar – Maicon, Burdisso, Materazzi (8’ Stankovic, 35’ Crespo), Maxwell – Vieira, Cambiasso, J.Zanetti – Mançini, Adriano, Balotelli (35’ Figo). Coach: Mourinho.


AC Milan vs. Inter Milan

A.C. MilanF.C. Internazionale Milano

Unlike Juventus, Milan manager Ancelotti decided to include his goalkeepers in the substitution rounds. Indeed, it looks like Christian Abbiati and Zeljko Kalac are roughly at equal chances of starting this season (with Dida set to remain in the stands, refusing the termination of his contract). The Rossoneri thus operated six changes compared to their match vs. Juve, fielding Abbiati – Oddo, Simic, Digao, Favalli – Gattuso, Pirlo, Ambrosini – Seedorf – Kakà, Paloschi. As for Inter, there were many changes for the Mourinho boys as well, including the appearance of newest recruit Sulley Muntari: Toldo – Maicon, Burdisso, Maxwell, Cambiasso – Dacourt, J.Zanetti, Muntari – Figo, Crespo, Mançini.

Now, tonight’s first match (Juve-Milan) had been an exciting goal-laden spectacle while the second one (Juve-Inter) dropped the intensity level somewhat. Continuing on this decreasing trend alas, the third game proved to be a total dud (or almost), a great example that “leaving the best for last” isn’t always true. Indeed, the only player attempting some kind of percussion forward in the initial minutes was Kakà for AC Milan, and even then his shots were easily saved by Toldo (min. 4) or wide (min. 9). In fact, after 15 minutes it was already time for Inter to make their first changes, as Luis Jimenez and Mario Balotelli stepped on for Maxwell and Mancini.

Five minutes later, it was Milan’s turn as Ambrosini and Seedorf left their place to Antonini and Brocchi, and the newcomers immediately got to work to re-ignite the play (shots in minute 20 and 21 deflected into corner). Inter in all of this? First real chance in minute 24 (scramble inside the box, last touch by Dacourt and great save by Abbiati), shortly followed by Muntari’s howitzer in minute 26 (parried again).

More changes followed for both teams (Primavera’s Chinoye & Strasser for Paloschi & Pirlo in AC Milan, Suazo & Adriano for Crespo & Balotelli in Inter) but without major changes in the scoreline. Balotelli did have a few good opportunities before leaving the field, but the Italo-Ghanaian youngster (who will soon get full Italian nationality on his 18th birthday) was obviously not in a good night of form. The match thus ended 0-0 after regulation, proceeding to penalty shots (again) where the errors of Figo, Jiménez, and Muntari proved decisive (or rather, decisive were the excellent saves of Abbiati on the aforementioned shots). 4-3 AC Milan the final score, making the Rossoneri Trofeo TIM winners.


0-0 (4-3 p.s.o.)
F.C. Internazionale Milano
PENALTY SHOOTOUT: Kakà (M) goal, Adriano (I) goal, Oddo (M) saved, Figo (I) saved, Jankulovski (M) goal, Suazo (I) goal, Favalli (M) wide, Jiménez (I) saved, Brocchi (M) goal, Santon (I) goal, Digao (M) goal, Muntari (I) saved.
MILAN (4-3-1-2): Abbiati – Oddo, Digao, Simic (47’ Jankulovski), Favalli – Gattuso, Pirlo (42’ Strasser), Ambrosini (16’ Antonini) – Seedorf (21’ Brocchi) – Kakà, Paloschi (27’ Osuji). Coach: Ancelotti.
INTER (4-3-3): Toldo – Maicon, Burdisso, Cambiasso (42’ Santon), Maxwell (16’ Jiménez) – J.Zanetti, Dacourt, Muntari – Figo, Crespo (30’ Suazo), Mançini (16’ Balotelli, 43’ Adriano). Coach: Mourinho.


Serie A Matchday 35 – Week-end Review + GOALS of the Week (2007-08)

Monday, April 28th, 2008

Week-End Reviews

Here are the results and summaries for matchday 35. Full Video Highlights here. I apologize for the lack of full match reports this week-end but… I was otherwise occupied and hung over, I’m sure you’ll all understand. ;)

Italian Calcio Blog week 35 review

Italian Calcio Blog

Gazzetta in English week 35 review

Gazzetta dello Sport

MILAN, 27 April 2008 – Inter are now just a step away from the Scudetto. At three games from the end of the season, the Nerazzurri have still 6 points over Roma thanks to their 2-1 win against Cagliari, courtesy of Julio Cruz and Marco Materazzi (the Sardinian side could only reply through Davide Biondini’s consolation goal). Not very useful for Roma and their 4-1 win over Torino, where Gianni De Biasi picked up his second defeat as manager of the Granata. David Pizarro opened the score, Mirko Vucinic and Amantino Mancini (2 goals) completed the job before Nicola Ventola had a chance to score in the second half for Torino. Roma finished the game with ten players after Juan was sent off.

JUVE IN CHAMPIONS LEAGUE – However, Roma hold strong over Juventus. The latter have secured today a spot in the Champions League with their 5-2 win over Lazio. Giorgio Chiellini opened the score for the bianconeri after 33 minutes of play, followed by Mauro Camoranesi, Alessandro Del Piero, David Trezeguet and another goal by Chiellini. Lazio came out more energised in the second half, as shown by Rolando Bianchi’s and Sebastiano Siviglia’s goals, but it was too little too late for the Biancocelesti who had to finish the game with 10 men, after Siviglia picked up his second yellow for a foul on Pavel Nedved.

MILAN CLOSE – The race for 4th place is getting closer and closer as we approach the end of the season: four teams are within a margin of 6 points. Fiorentina‘s match against Sampdoria ended in a draw, with Bobo Vieri and Adrian Mutu scoring to neutralise in just six minutes (33′ and 39′ of the second half) the initial advantage achieved by Christian Maggio for the Blucerchiati. Fortunately for Sampdoria, Daniele Gastaldello’s header in stoppage time gave the visitors a valuable point from the draw.

Fiorentina’s tie was a beneficial result for AC Milan, victorious 4-1 today in Livorno with an inspired Filippo Inzaghi scoring three goals: Super Pippo now has a record goal average, with 8 goals in the last 4 games. Clarence Seedorf also contributed to the rossoneri score and Dario Knezevic is the author of Livorno’s only goal today.

Antonio Di Natale and Fabio Quagliarella scored for Udinese and Juan Manuel Vargas’s goal wasn’t enough for Catania today. But the fight for a place in European competitions is not the only one in the standings: at the bottom, a few teams are still fighting for survival in Serie A.

AT THE BOTTOM – Livorno is alone at the bottom of the standings, while Reggina moved ahead of Parma – now second last – after this week’s game. Luca Cigarini opened the score for Parma but in the second half, Massimo Paci was sent off for the Gialloblu and Francesco Cozza led his team-mates to victory with his two goals. A breath of fresh air for Empoli, who only needed a great play by Ignazio Abate to take over the “Marassi”, defeating a Genoa side that finished the game with 10 players due to Marco Di Vaio’s expulsion. But the Tuscan are still far from their final goal: the last 7 teams are within a margin of 5 points. This week-end’s goalless games were Palermo-Atalanta and Napoli-Siena.



Great strikes aplenty once again… and 4 of them come from the same match! What are the odds of that…

This week, the goal-of-the-week award goes to Alessandro Del Piero. I’m throwing objectivity right out the window this time, and siding with La Domenica Sportiva. The Juve captain’s run, dribble, and left-footed finish against Lazio is the culmination of an absolutely stunning season by Del Piero, one that a certain Azzurri manager can no longer ignore.


Results Summary


Serie A – day 35
Fiorentina – Sampdoria 2 – 2
Genoa – Empoli 0 – 1
Inter – Cagliari 2 – 1
Juventus – Lazio 5 – 2
Livorno – Milan 1 – 4
Napoli – Siena 0 – 0
Palermo – Atalanta 0 – 0
Reggina – Parma 2 – 1
Roma – Torino 4 – 1
Udinese – Catania 2 – 1