Posts Tagged ‘Ezequiel 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.


Partita del Cuore: Maradona’s Back on the Football Field

Wednesday, May 14th, 2008

Invited by Francesco Totti and Italian pop singer Eros Ramazzotti, Diego Armando Maradona has picked up his football boots once again. The Partita del Cuore is a yearly humanitarian event in Italy, and what it comes down to is basically a charity match between Italian celebrity figures, plus a selection of professional football players (usually from the golden years).

This year, it was Nazionale Cantanti (Italian Singers national team) vs. Unica, a team composed of players, TV personalities, and actors. The charity they sponsored was Fondazione Parco della Mistica, a foundation dedicated to the restructuring of 82 acres of land outside of Rome. On Monday, both teams stepped onto the grass of the Stadio Olimpico of Rome, and the thousands of fans in the stands had once again the pleasure to see Diego Maradona in action.

Here were the starting line-ups:

Nazionale Italiana Cantanti: Daniele De Rossi (goalkeeper), Mogol (captain), Paolo Belli, Gianni Morandi, Ezequiel Lavezzi, Enrico Ruggeri, Raoul Bova, Luca Barbarossa, Gigi D’Alessio, Diego Armando Maradona, Eros Ramazzotti.

Unica: Andrea Lucchetta (goalkeeper), Marco Carta, Luciano Spalletti, Claudio Amendola, Enrico Fabris, Aldair, Sebastiano Somma, Bruno Conti (captain), Giancarlo Fisichella, Zico, Angelo Peruzzi.

Managers: Francesco Totti and Gianluigi Buffon.

Referee: Stefano Farina.

Yes, I liked the idea of playing De Rossi in goal and Peruzzi as a striker too. :D For the record, the match ended 6-6 with goals by Ramazzotti (4), Antonacci, and Maradona (on a penalty kick) for the singers, and Fisichella (2), Amendola, Dovizioso (the MotoGP pilot), Moelgg (Italian alpine skier) and Fabris (Italian ice skater) for “Unica”.

Here’s a video of the event. Check out the super-goal by Eros Ramazzotti by the way… wow! In pure “à la Del Piero” style, no wonder Ramazzotti’s a staunch Juventus fan, huh? You think ADP’s been giving him lessons? :)

And here’s some more photos of Maradona in action (courtesy of KwSport):