Posts Tagged ‘Napoli’

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.

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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.

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Serie A Odds ‘n Ends – A Tribute to Martha

Thursday, October 16th, 2008

Those of you who have been reading the Italy Offside blog longer than 8 months now, know that February 13, 2008, was a sad date for Serie A fans worldwide. On that day, one of the greatest and most entertaining bloggers I’ve ever had the pleasure to read stepped down from her post, leaving hundreds and hundreds of readers (I’m exaggerating… thousands!) in sorrow & despair. I am talking of course about Martha.

With her wit, humor and intelligence, Martha could take any Serie A story and put a funny spin on it. I mean she could really keep us entertained for hours on Alberto Gilardino celebrations… or Christian Vieri transfers… or Luis Figo rumours… or Christian Vieri muggings… or Azzurri match reports… or what Christian Vieri had for breakfast…

Yes, Martha likes Bobo. Some might even say she’s so infatuated with him that were she living in Bergamo at this moment (then again, maybe she is), things could rapidly take the turn of an ugly lawsuit for stalking and all the restraining orders that would go with it. But I digress.

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UEFA Cup First Round, Leg 2 – Benfica End Napoli’s Dream, Milan, Sampdoria, and Udinese Move On

Friday, October 3rd, 2008

One team short. Serie A’s chance to get a “perfect quartet” into the UEFA Cup GS round will have to wait another year.

Indeed, three of Italy’s four UEFA Cup contenders are through to the group stage as AC Milan, Sampdoria and Udinese all won their first-round ties. Udinese needed a penalty shoot-out to thwart an impressive Borussia Dortmund comeback but Napoli are out after they were unable to prevent Benfica overturning a first-leg deficit.

Uefa.com reports.

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UEFA Cup First Round, Leg 1 – Viva Italia: Clean Sweep for Milan, Sampdoria, Napoli, and Udinese

Friday, September 19th, 2008

Italian teams made 4 out of 4 in the UEFA Cup Thursday night. Indeed, in the round just before the Group Stage all four Serie A sides in action recorded first-leg victories, some welcome news after the difficulties Roma and Fiorentina encountered in the Champions League. Uefa.com reports. Partial video highlights here.

Seven-time winners AC Milan are having to adjust to a rare season without UEFA Champions League football (not to mention a terrible start to the Serie A campaign) and they quickly found their feet with a morale-boosting triumph against FC Zürich. Meanwhile Sampdoria were the night’s big winners, hitting five past FBK Kaunas in Genoa, while Napoli held off a spirited Benfica and Udinese impressed in their away win to Borussia Dortmund.

Milan vs. Zürich

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After opening the Serie A season with successive defeats, Milan lifted their spirits with a convincing win against Zürich. Andriy Shevchenko twice went close for the Rossoneri before playing a part in the opening goal a minute into added time at the end of the first half. Zürich goalkeeper Johnny Leoni saved his shot but Marek Jankulovski was on hand to volley in the rebound.

Zürich striker Alexandre Alphonse’s 66th-minute header hit the post and just seconds after that Alexandre Pato doubled Milan’s advantage with a 25-metre free-kick. Substitute Marco Borriello made it three after being teed up by Shevchenko on 74 minutes, though the Rossoneri’s celebrations were tempered by Dušan Djuric‘s 30-metre drive soon after which ensures Zurich return to the Letzigrund with a foothold still in the tie.

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 AC Milan
MILAN-ZURICH
3-1
FC Zürich
GOALSCORERS: 45’ Jankulovski (M), 56’ Pato (M), 73’ Borriello (M), 78’ Djuric (Z).
MILAN (4-3-1-2): Dida – Antonini, Bonera, Kaladze, Jankulovski – Ambrosini (68’ Emerson), Flamini, Seedorf – Kaká – Pato (65’ Borriello), Shevchenko (75’ Ronaldinho). (bench: Kalac, Favalli, Darmian, Gattuso). Coach: Ancelotti.
ZURICH (4-4-1-1): Leoni – Stahel, Tihinen, Barmettler, Stucki – Djuric, Aegerter, Okonkwo, Alphonse – Abdi (88
Mehmedi), Hassli (77’ Nikci). (bench: Guatelli, Lampi, Koch, Buchel, Sconbachler). Coach: Challandes.

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Sampdoria vs. Kaunas

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Emiliano Bonazzoli and Antonio Cassano both scored twice as Sampdoria put one foot in the group stage with a crushing victory against the Lithuanian champions. Bonazzoli broke the deadlock when he headed in Angelo Palombo’s corner (14) and added a second eight minutes later. Cassano got in on the act before the break and scored again 12 minutes into the second half with a fine curling free-kick.

A dire night for Kaunas was compounded when Vytautas Lukša was sent off for a second yellow card with three minutes to play before substitute Bruno Fornaroli headed another in the final minute.

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 U.C. Sampdoria
SAMPDORIA-KAUNAS
5-0
FBK Kaunas
GOALSCORERS: 14’, 21’ Bonazzoli (S), 35’, 57’ Cassano (S), 90’ Fornaroli (S).
SAMPDORIA (3-5-2): Mirante – Lucchini, Gastaldello, Bottinelli – Stankevicius, Delvecchio, Palombo (79’ Dessena), Sammarco, Pieri (46’ Ziegler) – Cassano (59’ Fornaroli), Bonazzoli. (bench: Castellazzi, Franceschini, Mustacchio, Marilungo). Coach: Mazzarri.
KAUNAS (4-5-1): Dreer – Radzius, Baguzis (46’ Rikmevicius), Kancelskis, Manchkhava – Zubavicius, Ivaskevicius (79’ Arouri), Mendy, Zelmikas, Luksa – Ledesma. (bench: Vertelis, Valskis, Fridikas, Cinikas, Mamic). Coach: Couceiro.

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Napoli vs. Benfica

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Napoli prevailed in a five-goal thriller at the Stadio San Paolo, but Luisão’s 59th-minute strike to reduce the arrears leaves Benfica well placed for the return. The Portuguese side had appeared in good stead in Italy when David Suazo (16) headed them in front, yet within three minutes goals from Luigi Vitale and German Denis had turned the match on its head.

Both owed much to good fortune and there was more than a hint of luck in Napoli’s third goal ten minutes after half-time too as Léo diverted Christian Maggio‘s cross past Quim. Luisão quickly responded, however, to leave the tie in the balance.

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 S.S.C. Napoli
NAPOLI-BENFICA
3-2
S.L. Benfica
GOALSCORERS: 16′ Suazo (B), 18′ Vitale (N), 20′ Denis, 55’ Maggio (N), 60’ Luisão (B).
NAPOLI (3-5-2): Navarro – Santacroce, P.Cannavaro, Contini – Maggio, Blasi (46’ Pazienza), Gargano, Hamsik (76’ Pià), Vitale; Denis (66’ Zalayeta), Lavezzi. (bench: Gianello, Rinaudo, Aronica, Montervino). Coach: Reja.
BENFICA (4-4-2): Quim – Maxi Pereira, Luisão, Sidnei – Urreta (46’ Balboa), C.Martins (56’ Katsouranis), Yebda, Reyes – Di María (63’ Nuno Gomes), Suazo. (bench: Moreira, Amorim, Jorge Ribeiro, Vitor). Coach: Quique Flores.

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Dortmund vs. Udinese

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First-half goals from Antonio Floro Flores and Gokhan Inler put Udinese in the driving seat at the Westfalenstadion as the Italian side made the most of some sloppy Dortmund defending to take control of the tie. Floro Flores struck on the break 8 minutes in before Swiss international Inler doubled the advantage when he turned in Simone Pepe’s cross with 34 minutes played.

A young Dortmund side regrouped after the interval but were fortunate not to fall further behind as they pressed for a way back into the tie.

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BV Borussia Dortmund
DORTMUND-UDINESE
0-2
 Udinese Calcio
GOALSCORERS: 8′ Floro Flores (U), 34′ Inler (U).
BORUSSIA DORTMUND (4-4-2): Weidenfeller – Rukavina, Subotic, Hummels (23′ Santana), Lee – Blaszczykowski, Hajnal (63’ Frei), Kehl, Kringe – Valdez, Zidan (9’ Tinga). (bench: Ziegler, Federico, Klimowicz, Schmelzer). Coach: Klopp.
UDINESE (4-3-3): Handanovic – Ferronetti (83’ Motta), Coda, Domizzi, Lukovic – Inler, D’Agostino, Isla – Pepe, Floro Flores (78’ Quagliarella), Sanchez (68’ Di Natale). (bench: Belardi, Sala, Pasquale, Tissone). Coach: Marino.

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