Posts Tagged ‘Philippe Mexès’

Lazio 4-2 Roma: Everything You Desire from a Derby della Capitale (Serie A Matchday 31)

Sunday, April 12th, 2009

Lazio's Mauro Zarate (L) celebrates after scoring as AS Roma's Julio Baptista reacts during their Serie A soccer match at the Olympic stadium in Rome April 11, 2009. (REUTERS)

These are dire days in Italy, as an entire nation mourns the losses from the Abruzzo earthquake earlier this week. Hundreds of casualties and thousands of homeless people in central Italy, but as they say in sporting terms, “the show must go on”.

And what a show it was today at the Stadio Olimpico of Rome, really everything you could desire from a tense, heart-felt Roman derby: goals, drama, and the inevitable yellow/red cards. Yes, we can all hide under a politically-correct façade and claim “no one wants to see those in soccer” but the truth is, sending off offences are a testimony to how much a derby victory represents for these teams. In particular two teams who, let’s be honest, can safely call the 2008-09 season a failure.

Lazio can be doubly satisfied with their victory today. Not only did they reacquire a bit of pride after three consecutive league losses, but they triumphed over their arch-nemesis, Roma, increasing their positive “home” trend in the Derby della Capitale to three (after the 3-0 and 3-2 victories in 2007 and 2008) and effectively nullifying the Giallorossi’s Champions League hopes for next season. Just the right kind of victory Delio Rossi needed to keep his job.

It’ll be a very happy easter in the Biancocelesti manager’s home, no doubt.

Note: Once again, I find myself in the position of having to apologize for the lack of recent updates. I’ve been having a rough time this week on a personal level, and to make matters worse I sustained a sprained ankle Wednesday (playing soccer, what else) which will keep me sidelined for a few weeks. My heart & mind’s just not been “in it”. Hopefully things will get better soon, so thank you for your fidelity and your patience.


Arsenal vs. Roma: The PLAYERS

Wednesday, March 11th, 2009


Continuing to surf on La Gazzetta‘s “Serie A vs. EPL” wave, here are ALL THE PLAYERS from UEFA Champions League’s Arsenal vs. Roma.


Napoli 0-3 Roma: Giallorossi Enjoying Neapolitan Hospitality (Serie A Matchday 20)

Sunday, January 25th, 2009

Without a doubt one of the main stadiums that contributed (and continue to contribute) to Italian football’s great history is Stadio San Paolo, and without a doubt the hospitality it continues to show for AS Roma will make Spalletti & Co. glad to return here next year.

It just seems that Napoli‘s home form, as good as it might be (the Azzurri had raked up 18 consecutive home matches without a loss), can’t help but break its teeth when it’s dealing with the Giallorossi. Who have now increased their Napoli-Roma victories streak to three (four if you add 2005′s Coppa Italia) and this without conceding a single goal. Scary. And unproductive (for Napoli that is), because Reja’s team now find themselves level with Roma in the standings, and the prospects of Champions League football (howevery illusory they might have been) slowly slipping away.

The only catch (and excuse for Napoli)? Roma’s first goal by Philippe Mexès was blatantly offside.


Roma 2-1 Inter: Giallorossi’s Bittersweet Revenge, the Cup Goes to Rome (Coppa Italia FINAL)

Sunday, May 25th, 2008


Coppa Italia Tim Cup 2007-08In an exciting Roma-Inter Coppa Italia final (reaching its 4th match-up in consecutive years), the Giallorossi grabbed their season consolation prize. I say “bittersweet” in the title and that deserves some explanation. Sweet firstly, because beating one’s big rivals is always great, especially after a season-long head-to-head race in the Serie A and especially if those rivals are Inter. And bitter because… well there’s only so much a Coppa Italia win can compensate. As every Serie A fan will testify, winning the Scudetto’s a whole other ballpark and for Roma, that will have to wait another year.


Saturday’s evening began with the national anthem, in honour of Italy’s president Giorgio Napolitano who was present in the stands. The notes of the “Inno di Mameli” could hardly be heard however, as the Stadio Olimpico cauldron (Roma’s Curva Sud especially, timidly imitated by the few Nerazzurri supporters) roamed with Giallorossi cheers. 

Attention then shifted to the pitch, with Roma showing their winning intentions straight away. Simone Perrotta forced Nicolas Burdisso to clear the ball off the line (though there was a clear offside call), then tried a fierce shot on the volley (saved). He was shortly imitated by Mirko Vucinic, who just failed to clear the wall from a free-kick: all in the first 6 minutes. Inter reacted according to the script: they made every effort to slow down the pace, working hard and trying long balls towards David Suazo and Mario Balotelli, the Nerazzurri “speed tandem” in absence of Zlatan Ibrahimovic (once again injured). The pair managed to get a few shots on goal, and was supported in their efforts by Maxwell, who forced Doni into a low save in minute 13.

As for Roma, Spalletti’s men were also forced (surprisingly) to abandon their usual playing style at times, resorting to long balls towards lone target man Vucinic. Despite this tactical change chances for the Giallorossi flourished, as in the 15th minute mark when Ludovic Giuly shot high over the bar from an excellent position inside the area. As the minutes passed, Inter defended well, with Burdisso in great form, and slowly they managed to gain ground. Mid-way through the first half came a good header from Balotelli which grazed the crossbar, then Maxwell’s great shot that Doni was forced to deflect into corner.

At this point, though, Roma woke up again: partly because these two chances had rung the alarm bell, and partly because Inter were now more open and the Giallorossi were able to play their more attractive game (rapid counterattacks coupled with short passing on the ground). New chances thus developed for Vucinic and Perrotta, peaking with Philippe Mexes‘s goal in minute 35: the French center-back burst forward like a true striker to meet David Pizarro’s corner, and knocked the ball in with a powerful right-footed volley. 1-0 Roma

After conceding their goal, the Inter defense disintegrated: no longer impeccable as it had been at the start (partly thanks to the movement of Vucinic and Perrotta who often swapped positions, supported by the effective Pizarro-Aquilani axis), the Nerazzurri risked going down by two as Mexès once again came close to net with a narrowly wide header. The half ended with the Giallorossi deservedly ahead by one goal.

In the second period, Roma picked up where they had left off: attacking forward. Perrotta tried his luck by foot and by header, followed by Vucinic (shooting wide with Aquilani free in space). On the other side, Inter coach Roberto Mancini decided to insert Pelé on in place of Dejan Stankovic (seemingly very edgy). The substitution didn’t exactly have the desired effect: Vucinic immediately made amends for his missed pass to Aquilani, and exchanged passes with Simone Perrotta on the edge of the Inter box, allowing the Roma midfielder to tap into the empty net 8 minutes after the restart. 2-0 Roma.

Just 6 minutes later however, Pelé got to work. The Nerazzurro prodigy showed what he was made of, and executed a spectacular shot from outside the area that left Roma keeper Doni rooted to the spot. 2-1.

Now Inter believed. Mancini pumped up the quality of his team by inserting Luis Jimenez, and Burdisso – doing no less than Mexès – showed off with a diving header that only the woodwork denied (Doni was beatedn). For Roma the game had changed: Spalletti’s men could no longer simply enjoy themselves: it was time to produce hard work and endurance.

The remaining 20 minutes were all nerves, yellow cards, cramps and injuries: football in its spectacular sense vanished. Injury time extended to 6 minutes, a while during which Burdisso once again grabbed the spotlight, with a dangerous volley on the turn (wide). The fact that shooting tasks always seemed to fall to him was however quite indicative: Inter forwards were no longer in the game. Eventually, the referee called full time thus allowing the Coppa Italia to stay in Rome. Passion and hard work was the succesful recipe for the Giallorossi on Saturday, something that Roma’s nº10 (a certain Francesco Totti, who came out onto the pitch to celebrate and hoist the cup) is no stranger to.


[Match Highlights]
F.C. Internazionale Milano
GOALSCORERS: 35’ Mexès (R), 53’ Perrotta (R), 59’ Pelé (I)
ROMA (4-2-3-1): Doni – Cassetti, Juan, Mexès, Tonetto – De Rossi, D.Pizarro – Giuly (65’ Cicinho), Aquilani (91’ Panucci), Perrotta (74’ Brighi) – Vucinic. (bench: Curci, Antunes, M.Esposito, Mançini). Coach: Spalletti.
INTER (4-1-4-1): Toldo – Maicon, Burdisso, Chivu, Maxwell – J.Zanetti (89’ Crespo) – Balotelli, Vieira, Cesar (61’ Jiménez), Stankovic (46’ Pelé) – Suazo. (bench: Julio Cesar, Solari, Maniche, Fatic). Coach: R.Mancini.