Posts Tagged ‘Marek Hamsik’

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.


Napoli 2-2 Udinese: 45 Minutes of Brilliance, 45 Minutes of Boredom (Serie A Matchday 22)

Sunday, February 1st, 2009

…and Fabio Quagliarella. At the end of the day the main story of Napoli vs. Udinese, without a doubt, will be the Udinese striker’s fantastic 2-2 tally. The kind that Quagliarella has been known to do, the kind that has made us fall in love with this great player: side volley from outside the box, no chance for the opposing keeper.

And as much as Fab Quagl’s goal wonderfully capped the end of an exciting 45 minutes, Napoli vs. Udinese ended at half-time. The score did not change further in the second period and sealed the draw (more or less satisfactorily) for the two teams: Napoli halted their 3-game losing streak while Udinese, after their great mid-week performance vs. Juve, confirmed to be back in the driver’s seat.


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.


Serie A Matchday 1 – Week-end Review + GOALS of the Week (2008-09)

Monday, September 1st, 2008

Week-End Reviews

Serie A is back!! :) Another season of Italian awesomess just kicked off this week-end, and here are the results and summaries for matchday 1. Full Video Highlights here.

Italian Calcio Blog week 1 review

Italian Calcio Blog 2008-09

Gazzetta in English week 1 review

Gazzetta dello Sport

It was a surprising day 1 in the Italian league.

At the Stadio Olimpico, last year’s second place AS Roma drew 1-1 with Napoli, who had defender Fabiano Santacroce sent off for a second yellow card in the 54th minute. Alberto Aquilani had nudged the ball home for the hosts just before the half hour, after fellow Italy midfielder Daniele De Rossi had picked him out in the area. Later however, Marek Hamsik exploited the crossbar-rebound of his own header to level for Napoli, shortly after Santacroce’s sending off.

Meanwhile in San Siro Ronaldinho’s debut was spoiled by Francesco Valiano, blasting the ball home from outside the box in the 79th minute for Bologna. Massimo Ambrosini had equalized for AC Milan, cancelling out Marco Di Vaio’s goal in the first half.

AC Milan 1-2 Bologna Match Report (mCalcio)


Inter Milan were held 1-1 at Sampdoria on Saturday in new coach Jose Mourinho’s league debut. Zlatan Ibrahimovic had opened the score for the visitors (a very contested goal tainted by a handball control), but Gennaro Delvecchio drew things level for Samp later in the second half.

Sampdoria 1-1 Inter Milan Match Report (mCalcio)


Juventus kicked off their campaign at fierce rivals Fiorentina in the evening game on Sunday, settling for the draw as Pavel Nedved’s 39th minute opener was cancelled by Alberto Gilardino in the dying minutes.

Fiorentina 1-1 Juventus Match Report (mCalcio)

In Sunday’s other matches, Torino beat Lecce 3-0 in Turin, Lazio came from behind to beat 10-man Cagliari 4-1 in Sardinia, Atalanta and Catania secured 1-0 home wins over Siena and Genoa, and Chievo beat Reggina 2-1 in Verona. Those teams join Bologna and Udinese, who beat Palermo 3-1 in their opening game on Saturday, at the top of Serie A.



Phew! Man did I miss Serie A this summer. I mean sure Euro 2008 was nice (actually, it was not), but it lacked a high enough concentration of really spectacular goals. Thank God for Antonio Di Natale (the “Fall” version… WHY he couldn’t do it in June still eludes me)…


  • Hamsik‘s bicycle-kick (Roma-Napoli)
  • Zarate‘s chipped shot (Cagliari-Lazio)
  • Valiani‘s top-corner ripper (Milan-Bologna)
  • Di Vaio‘s drilling shot after a good collective move (Milan-Bologna)
  • Padoin‘s header after another good collective move (Atalanta-Siena)
  • Aquilani‘s half-bicycle after a good chest control (Roma-Napoli)
  • Di Natale‘s double (no comments necessary) (Udinese-Palermo)
  • Ibrahimovic‘s chested control and finish (Sampdoria-Inter)

This week, the goal-of-the-week award was a tough choice. Francesco Valiani’s match-winner against Milan was a pure beauty, but everyone loves a touch of class. And in cases like this one, class outranks a powerful top-corner drive.

Antonio Di Natale shows us how:


Results Summary


Serie A 2008-09
Matchday 1


Udinese Calcio
US Città di Palermo
UC Sampdoria
FC Internazionale Milano
AC Chievo Verona
Reggina Calcio
Atalanta Bergamasca Calcio
AC Siena
Torino FC
US Lecce
AC Milan
Bologna FC 1909
Calcio Catania
Genoa CFC
Cagliari Calcio
SS Lazio Roma
AS Roma
SSC Napoli
ACF Fiorentina
Juventus FC


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.