Posts Tagged ‘Edy Reja’

Inter Milan 2-1 Napoli: Nerazzurri Wrap It Up in 30 Minutes (Serie A Matchday 14)

Monday, December 1st, 2008

Based on this week’s evidence, “Serie A” Inter and “Champions League” Inter are clearly two very different teams. Napoli realized this at their own expense Sunday, extending their 14-year long winless streak at San Siro (the Nerazzurri chapter) by one more match. José Mourinho’s made winning by a one-goal difference a habit lately, but the Inter manager also raked in his 6th consecutive home victory in the domestic league.

As for Napoli they battled hard till the end, fighting back through the wild & unstoppable runs of Ezequiel Lavezzi, but paid a steep price for their “disappearance” during the match’s first 30 minutes. Córdoba and Muntari left their mark, leaving Inter with a 6-point advantage on direct rivals Juventus and AC Milan.


Lazio 0-1 Napoli: Lavezzi Doing His Thing Again, Azzurri Grab Leaders Spot (Serie A Matchday 8)

Sunday, October 26th, 2008

There are teams who, when unexpectedly leading their league after a few weeks of play, will eventually crumble under the hype and the rarified atmosphere. After all, oxygen tends to get scarce in the upper floors of Serie A, especially for those who haven’t been living there since the early 90′s.

Napoli isn’t one of those teams.

Nearly two months after the season start, the Edy Reja magic is still working. In fact, the biggest indication of greatness (well, one of the biggest) is achieving victory (and doing so consistently) even when you don’t deserve it. Such was the case in the match against Lazio today, where Azzurri and Biancocelesti competed in a very enjoyable an evenly-matched battle, but where the home team had to concede the win due an unfortunate own goal of their nº1 defender, Sebastiano Siviglia. At the heart of said play for the Napoletani? Who else but Ezequiel “El Pocho” Lavezzi.


Napoli 2-1 Juventus: Can the Hole Get Any Deeper for Juve? (Serie A Matchday 7)

Sunday, October 19th, 2008

Before you answer that question, ponder the following. Your team is tied 1-1, the match is still very much left to play, and you, as a manager, are left with a choice. You can either keep fighting, trying to get the winning goal (as the spirit of the game compels you to do: you win by scoring more goals than your opponent) or, you can take off your only player capable of solving the match in an instant, with a pass, a shot, or a free-kick, to bring on a defensive wing-back. Based on today’s final result vs. Napoli, guess which option Juventus picked.

They say that if you find yourself in a hole, the best thing to do is to stop digging. Somebody please get the shovel out of Claudio Ranieri’s hands.


Napoli 5-0 Vllaznia – Party Time at San Paolo, Azzurri Qualify for the UEFA Cup

Thursday, August 28th, 2008

14 years. Believe or not, that’s how long Napoli supporters had to wait before seeing their team in Europe again. As the French would say, c’est maintenant chose faite (it’s a done deal): after a whopping win over an invisible Vllaznia, the Azzurri have qualified for the UEFA Cup And what better way to celebrate at San Paolo, than to crush your opponents with five unanswered goals?

This almost seems like a “come-back year” doesn’t it? Juventus are back in the UCL after 2 years of purgatory, Fiorentina have been absent for even longer (8 yrs), and now Napoli, returning to European Cup competitions after 14 long seasons. Life seems to be smiling on Serie A clubs lately, let’s hope it lasts.

Of course now, all Neapolitan eyes will be turned towards Monaco, where the next round draw will take place on Friday. The good thing for Reja, is that his team will avoid “home” clashes with AC Milan, Udinese, or Sampdoria. However since Napoli are not seeded, there’s a very real risk of facing teams like Benfica, Sevilla, Valencia, Ajax, or Tottenham.

Fingers crossed…

(From Gazzetta): Returning to Europe playing, in essence, a training match feels good doesn’t it? Yes, because “training match” is exactly the right term to define Napoli’s fixture vs. Vllaznia on Thursday: you can slap as many “UEFA Cup preliminary round” tags on it, it still doesn’t change the fact the match ended with five goals for the home team (much to the delight of the Stadio San Paolo crowd) and could have actually been far worse for the visitors.

Truthfully, the 3-0 away win of August 14 had already placed Napoli in a very comfy spot for this one, but Edy Reja’s boys were determined to provide their supporters with some entertainment. And the main provider of said entertainment was, much to everyone’s surprise, center-back Leandro Rinaudo. Two goals (the first and the third of his team) stemming from set-pieces, cooly finished with an instep shot. A la striker.

Speaking of strikers, the biggest expectations really came from Marcelo Zalayeta, back to his first starting role since his serious Winter knee injury. El Panterón certainly had a point to prove tonight after so many months on the sidelines, and animated the Napoli attack with great determination (alongside Inacio Pià). Zalayeta’s short-range accuracy was still deficient however, much to the contrary of his Brazilian counter-part (scorer of the 2-0 goal).

And while we’re on the subject of strikers, one must make a necessary reference to the “Napoli Argentine club”, Ezequiel Lavezzi in particular. El Pocho was, alongside Rinaudo, the main protagonist of tonight and this despite not even starting the game. His entrance in minute 70 litterally resulted in an explosion of joy for the crowd, which grew even greater after his 4-0 tally (too “easy” almost, after yet another Vllaznia defensive mistake).

To cap up a productive evening, Marek Hamsik put his signature on goal nº5, another easy tap-in well set-up by German Denis. A triumphant 5-0, to say the least. Let’s see now if Reja’s boys can repeat their performance for their Serie A opener, this Sunday against Roma.


[Match Highlights]
KS Vllaznia Shkodër
GOALSCORERS: 41’, 53’ Rinaudo (N), 52’ Pià (N), 79’ Lavezzi (N), 88’ Hamsik (N)
NAPOLI (3-5-2): Gianello – Santacroce, P.Cannavaro, Rinaudo – Montervino, Pazienza, Gargano, Dalla Bona (62’ Hamsik), Grava – Zalayeta (76’ Denis), Pià (68’ Lavezzi). (bench: Iezzo, Bruno, Blasi, Maggio). Coach: Reja.
VLLAZNIA (4-4-2): Grimaj – Beqiri, Smajlaj, Bashiq, Lici – Osja, Belisha (85’ Hoti), Doci, Bohadu (84’ Kaci) – Sinani, Nallbani. (bench: Ndoja, Rrabostha, Shtubina, Mohammed, Balaj). Coach: Canaj.


Trofeo Birra Moretti 2008-09: Juventus, AC Milan, and Napoli Pre-Season Battle, Bianconeri Win on Penalties

Friday, August 22nd, 2008

Completing the Italian “Triangolare” August bonanza, the Trofeo Birra Moretti took place on Thursday evening, featuring past and present Serie A contenders such as Juventus, AC Milan, and Napoli. Following the Trofeo TIM, this was the last “big” pre-season tournament before the beginning (finally!) of Serie A. A reminder for those who haven’t been paying attention: each game consists of one single half of 45 minutes; should the game still be tied it wil go straight to penalty shots; points are attributed with 3 pts. for a win, 2 pts. for a P.K. win, 1 pt. for a P.K. loss, 0 pts. for a loss.

To be noted there were a large number of absentees due to international call-ups (especially for Juve and AC Milan), which I guess somewhat contributed to the fairly low scorelines (only one goal scored in open play), but in contrast this was a good opportunity for the two Serie A giants to further test their Primavera elements, namely the likes of Giovinco, De Ceglie, Pasquato, Darmian, Antonini, etc. The Bianconeri and Rossoneri “babies” ended up playing a very decent game, especially Sebastian Giovinco who partnered up with Amauri in the Juve attack. Despite he could not find the back of the net, the Beijing Azzurrino playmaker was one of the many positive notes of the night for Juve fans (alongside Rossi and Pasquato), and contributed to his team’s double final victory to penalty shots.

Other highlights worth mentioning: Clarence Seedorf proved once again that despite Ronaldinho’s arrival he isn’t going anywhere near the bench (it would be absolute heresy to keep a player so in form on the sidelines), while the battle for AC Milan nº1 is still very much open (Dida is still struggling with confidence, and despite his 5-goal deficit vs. Chelsea Kalac is on the rise). Finally for Napoli, Reja had some good news with the returns from injury of Fabiano Santacroce and Marcelo Zalayeta: no doubt the two players will be very important elements for this year’s Serie A campaign.

Napoli vs. Juventus

S.S.C. NapoliJuventus F.C.

(From Gazzetta): Between injuries and international duty, Claudio Ranieri was dealing with the absence of at least a dozen players, thus forcing the Juve manager to field a very young team (completed by Pavel Nedved and the tireless Nicola Legrottaglie, who not only 24 hours earlier was playing in Nice with Italy).

Five days before the important UCL return leg vs. Artmedia Bratislava, all eyes were on baby-talent Paolo De Ceglie and Sebastian Giovinco. The Juve left-back confirmed he is developing into a very solid player (Molinaro will have serious competition this year), while the ex-Empoli playmaker litterally brought the Stadio San Paolo to their feet with touches of class and a near-goal in the final minutes.

For Napoli, coach Edy Reja had to do without Marek Hamsik, Ezequiel Lavezzi, Daniele Mannini, and Nicolás Navarro, fielding the returning Marcelo Zalayeta (back from his March knee-ligament injury and still not in top form) and Serie A-promotion hero Roberto De Zerbi (probably destined for a lot of bench time this year but still very dangerous on set pieces).

Effectively, the two teams would not try too much in this game, both midfields somewhat struggling to provide adequate support up front. As a result only an Ekdal-Rossi combination for Juve (wide) and a Rinaudo close-range opportunity (stemming from yet another pre-season mistake by Chimenti) were worth of inclusion into the highlights reel. Amauri’s movement in the Juve attack was good but lacked accuracy, so the penalty shoot-out epilogue really surprised no one. De Zerbi made the only mistake from 12 yards, giving the Bianconeri the first P.K. win of the night.


0-0 (4-5 p.s.o.)
[Match Highlights]
 Juventus F.C.
PENALTY SHOOTOUT: De Zerbi (N) saved, S.Esposito (J) goal, Zalayeta (N) goal, Nedved (J) goal, Blasi (N) goal, Giovinco (J) goal, Vitale (N) goal, Salihamidzic (J) goal, P.Cannavaro (N) goal, Amauri (J) goal.
NAPOLI (3-5-2): Iezzo – Santacroce, P.Cannavaro, Rinaudo – Montervino, Pazienza, Blasi, Amodio, Vitale – De Zerbi, Zalayeta. (Coach: Reja).
JUVENTUS (4-4-2): Chimenti – Salihamidzic, Legrottaglie, Ariaudo, De Ceglie – F.Rossi (23′ S.Esposito), Sissoko, Ekdal, Nedved – Giovinco, Amauri. (Coach: Ranieri)


Napoli vs. AC Milan

S.S.C. NapoliA.C. Milan

Alberto Paloschi finally got some satisfaction on Thursday, as he scored his first pre-season goal for AC Milan this year (and this despite the many matches played as a starter, due to the current Rossoneri strikers drought). The final 1-0 Milan scoreline makes sense, because Carlo Ancelotti’s team played with more determination and desire to score, lead by youngn’s Darmian, Albertazzi, Viudez and Cardacio, and complemented by the evergreen Seedorf and Inzaghi.

Speaking of Super Pippo, the Milan striker had to leave the field due to injury midway through the game (nothing serious, but apparently the same thigh which has been persecuting him for a while now), but not before he came very close to the match opener (shortly imitated by Seedorf). As for Napoli they never even got close to Dida, who despite this fact still managed to give Rossoneri supporters some scares (such as on a Russotto cross-shot in minute 17 and a stumble over Favalli a few minutes later).

With the playing rhythm remaining low, it was hard for both coaches to determine who was playing well and who wasn’t. Reja however could be satisfied with the performances of Luigi Vitale (explosive on the left wing) and Fabiano Santacroce, even sending striker German Denis (another international-duty survivor) in for a few minutes.

In the end, AC Milan pushed forward just a little more and obtained the aforementioned Paloschi-goal, the result of a good pass by Viudez and an involuntary deflection of Paolo Cannavaro. 1-0 Milan the final score.


[Match Highlights]
A.C. Milan
GOALSCORERS: 44’ Paloschi (M)
MILAN (4-3-1-2): Dida – Antonini, Darmian, Favalli, Albertazzi – Cardacio, Ambrosini, Brocchi – Seedorf – Paloschi, F.Inzaghi (23′ Viudez). (Coach: Ancelotti).
NAPOLI (3-5-2): Gianello – Santacroce, Rinaudo (23′ P.Cannavaro), Grava – Maggio, Montervino (32′ Denis), Blasi (23′ Pazienza), Amodio, Vitale (23′ Lacrimini) – Russotto, Pià. (Coach: Reja).


Juventus vs. AC Milan

Juventus F.C.A.C. Milan

Compared to their anti-Napoli formations, Ancelotti replaced Dida and Inzaghi with Kalac and Viudez, while Ranieri introduced Molinaro, Tiago and Pasquato for De Ceglie, Sissoko, and Giovinco. Not many changes therefore, and not many goals either… but plenty of chances to spare.

Very early on actually Kalac gave comforting signs to the AC Milan faithful, flying in style to parry a good short-range Amauri header. In minute 12, an excellent combination between Nedved, Rossi and Pasquato (already a big protagonist during the Trofeo Berlusconi a few days ago) put the young Juve striker in great position to score, but a loss of balance resulted in a shot miles over the bar.

To say the least, Juventus were playing better during these 45 minutes, but once again lacked in the finishing department. Penalty shots were thus once again necessary to determine a winner, with the mistakes of Amauri, Ambrosini, and Favalli proving decisive for the final Bianconeri victory.


0-0 (5-4 p.s.o.)
[Match Highlights]
A.C. Milan
PENALTY SHOOTOUT: Seedorf (M) goal, Ariaudo (N) goal, Brocchi (M) goal, Chimenti (J) goal, Paloschi (M) goal, Legrottaglie (J) goal, Osuji (M) goal, Pasquato (J) goal, Ambrosini (M) wide, Amauri (J) saved, Favalli (M) saved, Molinaro (J) goal.
JUVENTUS (4-4-2): Chimenti – Salihamidzic (35′ Duravia), Legrottaglie, Ariaudo, Molinaro – F.Rossi, Tiago, Ekdal, Nedved (36′ Castiglia) – Pasquato, Amauri. (Coach: Ranieri).
MILAN (4-3-1-2): Kalac – Antonini, Darmian, Favalli, Albertazzi – Cardacio (23′ Strasser), Brocchi (23′ Pasini), Ambrosini – Seedorf – Paloschi, Viudez (34′ Osuji). (Coach: Ancelotti).