Posts Tagged ‘Marco Marchionni’

Lazio 2-1 Juventus: Biancocelesti Turn It Around at the Olimpico (Coppa Italia Semi-Finals, First Leg)

Thursday, March 5th, 2009

Coppa Italia 2008-09 - SF L1 - Lazio vs. Juventus

At the end of a day dominated by controversy (post-Inter vs. Roma ripples), legal affairs (president Claudio Lotito being indicted) and managerial complaints (Mourinho’s rant), it was nice to see a bit of footy action at Stadio Olimpico Tuesday. And for our greatest delight Lazio vs. Juventus ended up being a vibrant and entertaining match

For the first leg of Coppa Italia‘s Semi-finals, the result was 2-1 to the Biancocelesti: they came back from Marchionni‘s goal with tallies by Pandev and Rocchi, who in Zarate’s absence (suspended) made a key difference among Lazio ranks. Things are still very much open for the second leg (April 22) and Juve will have the opportunity to turn the result around at that time, hoping to field their first half team (not the one overrun by Lazio in the second half).


Juventus 0-0 Napoli: Bianconeri Through on Penalties, Qualify for Coppa Italia Semis

Thursday, February 5th, 2009

If one thing was certain on Wednesday night’s Coppa Italia match, it was the “do or die” nature of Juventus vs. Napoli. Coming from rather poor moments of form in Serie A (two consecutive losses against Udinese and vs. Cagliari for the Bianconeri, a single point scored in their last four fixtures for the Azzurri) both teams had every intention of turning this Cup encounter into a rejuvenating cure.

What transpired in the end was a rather entertaining match, and this despite the misleading 0-0 score at the end of the 120 minutes of play. A rather bleak first-half performance was followed by an exciting second half, in which Juventus and Napoli played open attacking football and quckly shifted the ball from one end of the field to another. It was only through some great moments of defensive brilliance (Mellberg/Cannavaro) or sheer bad luck (Bogliacino/Trezeguet) that the 0-0 score remained unchanged, and in the end (after another battled & tense 30 minutes of extra time) only penalty kicks were able to break the tie at the Olimpico tonight. Ultimately Juventus prevailed, capitalizing on the Neapolitan errors of Lavezzi, Contini and Gargano, and will advance to the Coppa Italia Semi-Finals where they will play Lazio.

At the end of the day though, it must be said that both teams can be satisfied with their performances tonight. After their rough last couple of weeks, Napoli and Juventus have demonstrated they are very far from being dead & buried.


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.