Posts Tagged ‘Scudetto’

Serie A Final Matchday – Week-end & Season Review (2007-08)

Monday, May 19th, 2008

Week-End Reviews

Well, it’s all over: another year of Serie A has come to a close, with Internazionale crowned champions of 2007-08. It was an exciting season but all good things must come to an end, and make way for Euro 20008. :)

Here are the results and summaries for matchday 38. I recommend in particular Italy Offside’s thorough round-up week 38 review

Italian Calcio Blog week 38 review

Italian Calcio Blog

Marco’s Pre-season predictions

For kicks, here’s the final ranking compared to the predictions *I* had made back in August.

Not too bad I’d say… Obviously I was way off on AC Milan and Lazio, but the rest was more or less in the ballpark for the top 10 teams no? :) And I defy anyone to tell me they had predicted Parma’s relegation.

Marco’s Actual
1. Milan Inter Champions League
2. Inter Roma
3. Juve Juve
4. Roma Fiorentina

5. Lazio Milan UEFA Cup
6. Sampdoria Sampdoria
7. Fiorentina Udinese

8. Udinese Napoli
9. Palermo Atalanta
10. Torino Genoa
11. Napoli Palermo
12. Parma Lazio
13. Atalanta Siena
14. Livorno Cagliari
15. Empoli Torino
16. Genoa Reggina
17. Reggina Catania

18. Cagliari Empoli Relegation
19. Catania Parma
20. Siena Livorno


Party Time

No ‘Goals of the week’ this time, but just a video celebrating Inter’s 16th Scudetto. Enjoy.


Results Summary


Serie A – day 38
Sampdoria – Juventus 3 – 3
Atalanta – Genoa 2 - 0
Cagliari – Reggina 2 – 2
Catania – Roma 1 – 1
Empoli – Livorno 2 - 1
Lazio – Napoli 2 - 1
Milan – Udinese 4 - 1
Parma – Inter 0 - 2
Siena – Palermo 2 – 2
Torino – Fiorentina 0 – 1

Parma 0-2 Inter: Saved by Zlatan, Scudetto Goes To Internazionale (Serie A Matchday 38)

Sunday, May 18th, 2008\'s headline: \

Serie AVeni vidi vici indeed. He came (or returned, rather), he saw, he conquered. While there is no doubt that this year’s Scudetto was the result of team effort, the Nerazzurri have but one man to thank for achieving that objective on the last matchday of Serie A… and that man is Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Returning from a lengthy injury and brought on by Mancini 6 minutes into the second half (with the score still tied 0-0), the magnificent Swede grabbed his magic hat and pulled out an extremely vital double: two goals to send Inter to Scudetto-heaven and Parma to Serie B-hell.

To quote Gazzetta:

This time there was no ‘crazy Inter’, but only ‘Inter crazy of joy’. This Scudetto has many fathers, from Moratti to Mancini, from Ibra to Zanetti, but above all it was spawned by suffering. A lot of suffering for Inter, probably too much considering all of the Nerazzurri’s missed chances throughout the year. In the end though the most important thing is winning it, and in that light when all is said and done, victory might feel even sweeter this way“.

I suppose it does, so congratulations to Inter!

(From Gazzetta): As many expected, Sunday’s fixture at the Tardini turned out to be an unavoidably nervous match, and not particularly nice to watch if you were looking for beautiful plays. The rain & very slippery pitch certainly didn’t help, but above all the player’s performance (every single one of the 22 starters) was conditioned by the importance of the score: Inter needed to win for Scudetto glory, Parma needed 3 points to fight relegation.

The initial minutes were somewhat balances, and perhaps even a little bit to the advantage of Parma: the home team came out very energetic, lively, and probably in better physical form. Stefano Morrone in particular was playing ‘Mr. Interdictor’ in midfield, stopping balls in with his head, feet, and any other legal parts of the body at his disposal. As a result: not many opportunities to score for either side, and the most exciting event coming from the first half actually arrived very early. In the 8th minute, news of Mirko Vucinic’s opener vs.  Catania reached Stadio Ennio Tardini, and local fans cheered and clapped: Parma only needed to win to avoid relegation. But above all in the grand scheme of things, this goal meant that Roma was virtually Serie A champion.

But to going back to Parma-Inter, not many chances to speak of as I was saying. In the 12th minute, a Morrone cross from the right wing was deflected by Julio Cesar into corner, and on the opposiing end, a beautiful delivery by Mario Balotelli was narrowly missed by Julio Cruz, allowing goalkeeper Nicola Pavarini to save. Local fans thus cheered referee Stefano Rocchi’s half-time whistle, satisfied with their team’s efforts in the first half, even if the score meant the relegation for Parma. In contrast, Nerazzurri fans in the stadium seemed sad and worried about the virtual status of the Scudetto (painted in Giallorosso at the time), but they rapidly regained their nerve at the sight of Ibrahimovic’s warm-up drills during the break. The Swede needed to bring a ray of hope missing during a very gray first half, just like the sky over Parma: few ideas and even fewer plays for Inter.

IBRA GOES HAYWIRE – Minute 51, Zlatan-time: Ibra is coming on (replacing a disappointing Cesar). The Swede quickly showed his skills on the wing and effectively changed the pace of the match: Inter were now strong in the attack, Parma relying on counters. And alas for Parma fans (already shaken by news of the Empoli lead), their mood would get even worse at the sight of Ibrahimovic’s Scudetto-winning goal. Andrea Gasbarroni lost the ball, allowing Inter to regain possesion and serve Zlatan in the middle: in a drill-bit from outside the box, the Swede slammed a precise daisy-cutter that landed in Pavarini’s bottom-left corner. 1-0 Inter.

The tide was turned: Inter were now virtual Serie A champions and were piling on the pressure. Mario Balotelli and Ibrahimovic again barely missed the goal, but the Parma players certainly weren’t giving up: all attacking with their heads low, and inevitably disorganized. Their counterattacks fell short however, and allowed Inter to seal the deal: a cross by Maicon on the right wing (after a good run) found Ibrahimovic completely unmarked on the opposite post, and the Swede fired a precise instep on the volley that left Pavarini no chance. 2-0 Inter and the Scudetto was on ice.

At about 16:40 CET (85 minutes into the game) Roma surrendered to Catania’s equalizer (after many many chances missed by the Elefanti) thus further guaranteeing Inter’s triumph. The Nerazzurri’s chants (“Ibra-Ibra” and “vinceremo il tricolor”) completely covered the referee’s final whistle and sent the many Inter supporters into delirium: La Beneamata had conquered the 16th Scudetto of their club’s history.


[Match Highlights]
F.C. Internazionale Milano
GOALSCORERS: 62’, 79’ Ibrahimovic (I)
PARMA (4-3-2-1): Pavarini – Coly, Paci, Couto, Castellini – Morrone, Cigarini (64’ C.Lucarelli), Parravicini (88’ Moretti) – Reginaldo (76’ Antonelli), Gasbarroni – Budan. (bench: Bucci, C.Zenoni, Martinez, Corradi). Coach: Manzo.
INTER (4-3-2-1): Julio Cesar – Maicon, Rivas, Materazzi, Maxwell – Vieira, J.Zanetti, Stankovic – Balotelli (76’ Pelé), Cesar (51’ Ibrahimovic) – Cruz. (bench: Toldo, Burdisso, Jiménez, Crespo, Suazo). Coach: R.Mancini.


Inter Milan 2-2 Siena: Nerazzurri Miss The Chance For an Early Celebration, Roma At -1 (Serie A Matchday 37)

Monday, May 12th, 2008

Serie AWell well well… it’s nice to see everything is back in order in Serie A. I was starting to miss matchdays like these: back in the day, amidst all the footy chaos and odd results there was still one fixed constant in the universe, namely Inter’s uncanny ability to shoot themselves in the foot.

If you’ve been following Calcio for longer than 2 years you all know what I’m talking about, right? Ah those days… they sure seemed to be gone after 2006. What, with Inter coming out unscathed of the Calciopoli scandal and creating this super-team of champions (this virtually unstoppable goalscoring machine that should have destroyed everything in its path), one wondered if the average Italian soccer fan would ever find another such perfect team to mock.

Don’t panic people, Inter‘s still here! Indeed, believe or not, the Nerazzurri tied 2-2 at home to Siena today. All they needed was a win and the Scudetto was a done deal: in fact, people in Milan had already prepared bottles of Spumante to celebrate Inter’s 16th title. But I guess that will have to wait one more week. Yes, Inter tied, by blowing away a double lead from Vieira (trumped by Maccarone) and Balotelli (trumped by Kharja), and then by missing the chance to make it 3-2 from the spot (bravo Materazzi). No need for hair-pulling just yet Inter fans, all you need to do is win at Parma next week and the Scudetto is yours. Ah, if only Parma weren’t fighting against relegation and in desperate need for a win themselves…

I’m being mean to Inter, so I should stop. Ultimately, Roberto Mancini’s team will (at 99% certainty) wrap this thing up next week with something like a ruthless 3-0 win, and in the end they’ll have the last laugh. But boy, do they deserve to made fun of right now…

The first 45 minutes of today’s match were, to say the least, unexpected. The entire San Siro stadium was decorated in Neroazzurro, displaying early celebratory banners and T-shirts to galvanize their team into victory. Inter responded by immediately shifting into high gear, making siege of Alex Manninger’s goal. The first attempts by Patrick Vieira (wide) and Marco Materazzi (off the crossbar) set the mood, and it seemed as everything was set for a Siena trashing: it only took 11 minutes after kick-off for the home team to pull in front, as Patrick Vieira applied the headed finish to a Luis Jimenez corner-kick. 1-0 Inter and expectedly, plenty more to come.

Plenty? Not quite. In minute 30, Houssine Kharja got free on the right wing, moved to the center and found the right corridor for Massimo Maccarone. The Siena striker got in behind the defense and torpedoed Julio Cesar low on his right. 1-1, and the San Siro suddenly turned silent. The Nerazzurri supporters did feel a little better later, when the big screen TV announced Napoli had scored vs. AC Milan, but they certainly weren’t expecting their team to have to fight for a victory today. Even more stunning, in minute 41 Siena could have actually taken the lead, but Andrea Rossi (through on goal after a counter-attack) inexplicably shot the ball right at Julio Cesar.

Screams of panic thus turned into sighs of relief for Inter supporters, and then into shouts of joy, because just before the break the Nerazzurri went ahead again. Out on the right wing, Maicon sent in a long throw towards the box, and Vieira flicked it over to the second post for a wide open Mario Balotelli: headed finish and 2-1 Inter. Cue 80,000 San Siro supporters in full delirium mode.

In the second half, probably instructed by their coach to put the nail in Siena’s coffin, Mancini’s boys continued to push forward. Julio Cruz had a good opportunity to make it 3-1, but his left-footed finish (after a great fake-shot dribble on his marker) landed wide of Manninger’s right post. Then, the Inter deck of cards progressively started unraveling. In minute 63. Mario Balotelli had to leave the field due to cramps (standing ovation for him, as he was substituted by David Suazo), and 5 minutes later Siena pulled level. Daniele Ficagna crossed the ball from the right, Burdisso only managed a touch and deflected the ball towards Houssine Kharja. The Franco-Moroccan winger armed a precise instep shot that landed into Julio Cesar’s left-bottom corner. 2-2, the entire Giuseppe Meazza stadium silent once again.

With 20 minutes left to play, all tactics flew out the window for Inter. The entire team was pushing forward, litterally putting 11 Siena men under siege: I mean there was no one (and I mean no one, except for Maccarone) for the visitors that wasn’t defending behind the ball line. Even Materazzi was pushing up, doing more damage than good (his back save in offside position on Cruz’s shot was quite… comical). Just a minute later however, Matrix had the chance to redeem himself: having obtained a penalty shot for a (doubtful) shirt tug from Riganò, the Inter center-back decided he was going to be his team’s hero by transforming the spot-kick himself. Manninger had other plans, and skilfully parried away Materazzi’s shot to the bottom right.

As Materazzi’s dreams of glory shifted from “hero” to “zero” (on the touch line, Roberto Mancini wasn’t hiding what he thought of his center-back ), Inter threw their last resources forward to obtain the 3 points. Mancio even brought on Hernan Crespo but it was all to no effect: the ensuing shots by Jimenez and Cruz were wide, Vieira’s appeals for a penalty were turned down, and the match ended in a 2-2 draw. As the home team left under the boos of the crowd, every Interista across Italy stared at the final result in disbelief. The Serie A season’s epilogue will have to be delayed one more week.


F.C. Internazionale Milano INTER-SIENA
[Match Highlights]
AC Siena
GOALSCORERS: 11’ Vieira (I), 30’ Maccarone (S), 45’ Balotelli (I), 69’ Kharja (S)
INTER (4-3-1-2): Julio Cesar – Maicon, Burdisso, Materazzi, Maxwell (81’ Crespo) – Vieira, Cambiasso (85’ Pelé), J.Zanetti – Jiménez – Cruz, Balotelli (63’ Suazo).(bench: Toldo, Rivas, Maniche, Cesar). Coach: R.Mancini.
SIENA (4-3-2-1): Manninger – Ficagna, Portanova, Loria, A.Rossi – Vergassola, Codrea (46’ Alberto), Galloppa (65’ Riganò) – Locatelli (46’ Coppola), Kharja – Maccarone (bench: Elefhteropoulos, Rossettini, De Ceglie, Frick). Coach: Beretta.


Serie A: T Minus 180 Minutes – Scudetto, CL, UEFA, and Relegation Battles Are On

Saturday, May 10th, 2008

As we gradually approach this year’s big Summer event (a certain Euro cup), leagues all across Europe are sequentially coming to a close. There are two matches left to play in the Serie A, and there’s still plenty to be decided in the remaining 180 minutes. The Scudetto race is still on (somewhat), the battle for 4th spot hasn’t said its last word, and the UEFA Cup and relegation zones haven’t found permanent residents just yet. Truly, it’s been a while since we saw such an open-ended contest in the Italian league.

Let’s take a look.



Less than a week ago, Inter seemed to have this thing all wrapped up. However, the loss vs. AC Milan in the Derby della Madonnina and the simultaneous victory of Roma away to Sampdoria has kept the suspense alive, but for how much longer? Only one thing separates the Nerazzurri (81 pts.) from the tricolore, and that is obtaining just one more win. Indeed, a victory against Siena on Sunday would mathematically assure Inter their championship title, regardless of Roma‘s (78 pts.) result vs. Atalanta. Just to remind you: in case of a draw in the final league standings, head-to-head records will be used as tie breakers, and Inter are slightly favored over the Giallorossi in that respect.

If (by some miracle) Roma were to win Sunday and Inter were not, the Scudetto will be played out on the last matchday of the season, where the Giallorossi will be playing Catania (away) and the Nerazzurri will be travelling to Parma. Call me crazy, but somehow I don’t see that happening…

Fourth Spot

Champions League

After a season-long pursuit which had left many Rossoneri fans cringing their teeth and biting their nails, AC Milan (61 pts.) managed to overtake Fiorentina (60) in the 4th position and obtain full control of their Champions League destiny next year. The calendar it must be said, isn’t exactly favoring the Rossoneri though: Napoli (away) and Udinese (home) are the remaining matches of Carlo Ancelotti & Co., a bit more difficult than what La Viola will be faced with (Parma at home, and Torino away).

Still in mathematical contention is Udinese (57 pts.), who will be facing Cagliari (at home) on Sunday but more importantly, will play out their final card vs. AC Milan on matchday 38, i.e. the last day of the season.

“Zona” UEFA


Inter and Roma have qualified for the Coppa Italia final, thereby freeing up another spot for UEFA Cup qualification. If the league were to finish right now, the teams qualifying for Europe’s “consolation cup” (that’s how I call it) would be Fiorentina (60 pts.), Udinese (57), and Sampdoria (56), respectively 5th, 6th, and 7th. With Genoa in 8th position and 48 points, the previous three teams are at least guaranteed to be playing in Europe next season.

“Zona Salvezza”: Relegation Battle


Down at the bottom, nothing’s decided just yet either. Siena (42 pts.) managed to pull themselves to safety last week, and are now mathematically assured of avoiding the drop. The same cannot be said for the 7 teams right below them, and with several direct encounters in the last two matchdays, the battle against relegation promises to be even more exciting than the Scudetto.

Livorno (30 pts.) is currently dead-last in the standings, and will be left facing Torino (home) then Empoli (away). Speaking of Empoli (33), the club lead by Alberto Malesani isn’t exactly comfortable either: second-to-last in the Serie, they will be travelling to Calabria to face Reggina (and then as mentioned, will host Livorno on the last day).

Those with the toughest calendar however are Parma (34) and Catania (35): the Gialloblu will have to battle Fiorentina (away) and Inter (home), while the Elefanti will travel to Juventus before hosting Roma at Stadio Angelo Massimino. Brutal.

As for Reggina (36), the Calabrians have their destiny into their own hands (Empoli at home and Cagliari away), much like Torino (37), who will only need a victory vs. Livorno to be mathematically safe before matchday 38 (Fiorentina at home).

Finally, after a very long and tough season spent at last spot, Cagliari (38) are this close to their “salvezza” miracle. They will only find Udinese (away) and Reggina (home) to stand in their way.