Posts Tagged ‘Napoli’

The Greatest Exports of the Italian Game (Part 1): Gianfranco Zola

Friday, April 3rd, 2009

Gianfranco Zola, Italy and Chelsea Legend

Italy has given the world so much: Peroni lager, pizza, garlic bread, pasta… Yes, my knowledge on the matter is solely restricted to gastronomical contributions, but the list could be as long as you like. In football however, much like in the English and Spanish game, the talent tends to stay at home rather than take itself to new places. This is probably due to the strength of each respective league: why leave when you already speak the language and already play the top football in Europe? There are a few shining examples however who have taken their Serie A principles, packed them in a suitcase, and spread them across the globe. This is the first in my three-part installment of the best exports of the Italian game, in no particular order, I’ve decided to start with one of my favourite Italian footballers – Gianfranco Zola.


Napoli 0-0 Milan: Donado-napoli Takes Its First Step, Rossoneri Shut Out (Serie A Matchday 29)

Tuesday, March 24th, 2009

Napoli's coach Roberto Donadoni (L) shouts orders at his team beside AC Milan's David Beckham during their Italian Serie A soccer match at the San Paolo stadium in Naples, March 22, 2009. (REUTERS)

In pure Neapolitan style, Azzurri supporters greeted the San Paolo appearance of their new manager with the following banner: “Donadoni, sbruoglia sta matassa“. That’s dialect for “Donadoni, clear this mess up”.

Well… mission accomplished? Not quite, but Napoli are on the right path, and the way in which Donadoni achieved this 0-0 draw shows some reassuring signs of improvement. If you’re not convinced, a clean sheet against a team which had scored in 29 consecutive matches (Milan‘s last goal-less fixture was in October against Cagliari) speaks fairly clearly; the Azzurri’s stellar pre-Winter performances are still very far away, but at least on the motivational side Donadoni’s done his job.

And to be perfectly honest, Napoli had indeed scored a valid goal (Marek Hamsik) which really shouldn’t have been called off.


Juventus 1-0 Napoli: “Claudio Marchisio” Wipes Stamford Bridge Tears Away (Serie A Matchday 26)

Monday, March 2nd, 2009

Juventus midfielder Claudio Marchisio, right, celebrates after scoring during the Italian Serie A soccer match between Juventus and Napoli, at the Olympic Stadium in Turin, Italy, Saturday, Feb. 28, 2009.  (AP Photo)

It may not be champagne football, but Juventus know just what to do to pick themselves up. I wouldn’t say the “Stamford Bridge scar is healing” (Gazzetta‘s words, personally I wouldn’t even call it a scar – things are still very open for the second leg) but Saturday the Bianconeri demonstrated once again maximum efficiency with minimum effort: very few shots on target, one goal in the first half, preservation of the lead in the second.

As for Napoli, yesterday marked the 8th consecutive away loss for the Azzurri, a team which in their last 8 matches has been able to score only two points. And while Edy Reja’s boys at least tried to muster some kind of a pride reaction in the second half, it looks like the Neapolitan manager’s tenure at the club is hanging by a very thin thread indeed.


Serie A: The Battle for Champions League Qualification

Friday, February 20th, 2009

Serie A: The Battle for Champions League

In a league with its fair share of last-day title deciders, Serie A has still plenty to say with 14 league matches left on the calendar. Even though Inter Milan‘s victory over cousins AC Milan last week may have strongly nudged this season’s Scudetto towards the Nerazzurri, Juventus could still catch Internazionale and at a push the Rossoneri still have an outside shot and a glimmer of hope. With both sides having relatively old squads however, I just can’t see them picking up enough points to topple Mourinho’s men.


Napoli 1-1 Bologna: The Azzurri’s Dark Tunnel Continues (Serie A Matchday 24)

Sunday, February 15th, 2009

Napoli's Christian Maggio, on ground, is pressed by Bologna defender Salvatore Lanna, right, and Vangelis Moras during the Italian Serie A soccer match between Napoli and Bologna, in Naples' San Paolo stadium, southen Italy Saturday, Feb. 14, 2009. (AP Photo by FRANCESCO CASTANO')

Saturday’s Napoli vs. Bologna was a match telling two tales. The first is that Mihajlovic seems to like 1-1 draws an awful lot: since he took over the team, Bologna has finished six matches out of twelve with that scoreline. That’s six valuable points in the fight against relegation which may prove decisive later on (you know what they say about pennies…).

The second thing is that Napoli aren’t in a slump anymore, they’ve turned just plain mediocre. I don’t know what it is, but this is a team who is now incapable of winning: they’ve raked 4 losses and 2 draws in their last 6 matches, something which sounds almost unreal compared to the 8 wins & 1 draw in their first 9 of the season. That was back in September/October. So who’s to blame? The manager? The players? Hard to say, but one thing’s for sure: presidents don’t generally fire their players…