Udinese Thinking of Playoffs, Sampdoria Thinking of Derby (UEFA Cup Group Stage, Matchday 4)

After AC Milan on Matchday 3, Serie A made two out of three Wednesday by adding yet another name to the UEFA Cup playoffs Round. With only one day left in the Group Stage, only a certain club from Genoa has yet to join the Round of 32 party.

Indeed, Sampdoria must have had their minds elsewhere on Wednesday, because they were (quite unequivocally) beaten by Standard Liège with a whopping score of 3-0. Could the upcoming Derby della Lanterna against Genoa have something to do with it?. Meanwhile, Udinese secured their spot in the playoffs round thanks to a 2-1 win at the hands of Dinamo Zagreb, courtesy of goals by Fabio Quagliarella and Christian Obodo.

Uefa.com reports.

Udinese vs. Dinamo Zagreb


(From Uefa.com): Having watched them lose their last four Serie A outings, Udinese‘s coach Pasquale Marino could only praise his team for sealing their place in the UEFA Cup Round of 32 with a 2-1 home victory against Dinamo Zagreb.

The Friulani have been wildly inconsistent of late, disappointing on the domestic scene but impeccable in Europe. They have now won all three of their Group D games so far and owed their latest triumph to goals from Fabio Quagliarella and Christian Obodo, before Igor Bišćan reduced the deficit. “After some disappointing results, we needed to go the extra mile to start doing well again, and we did it, so I hope this win can help us regain confidence in the league,” said Marino. “It was fundamental to win again because our results in the league had been terrifying lately. And when you don’t win, you can get in a crisis.”

Udinese could not have asked for a better start in the 5th minute, with Quagliarella latching on to Antonio Di Natale’s cross and firing a right-footed shot past goalkeeper Tomislav Butina. The goal inspired the Italian hosts who almost doubled their lead soon after, Butina making an acrobatic save from Obodo’s long-range effort.

The Croatian side, playing their final group match, did threaten ten minutes in when Mihael Mikic forced goalkeeper Samir Handanovic to stretch to clear his powerful strike from distance. An unmarked Di Natale should have made it 2-0 shortly afterwards but failed to beat Butina in a one-on-one, his attempt being parried away by the Croatian nº1.

On the half-hour mark, Dinamo almost pulled level but Mirko Hrgovic’s stinging drive went centimetres wide of the far post, and the same player tried his luck again after the interval to similar effect. However, Simone Pepe set up Obodo to extend Udinese’s advantage, and while Biscan headed a belated reply following confusion in the home area, the die was cast.

Nine points mean that Udinese are sure to qualify, and they will be guaranteed top spot with a draw or better in their final fixture at NEC Nijmegen. Dinamo have completed their Group D programme, but three points could still see them through if NEC and Spartak Moskow lose by substantial margins on Matchday 5.


 Udinese Calcio
[Match Highlights]
GOALSCORERS: 5’ Quagliarella (U), 77’ Obodo (U), 92’ Biscan (D).
UDINESE (3-4-3): Handanovic – Sala, Domizzi, Felipe – Nef (70’ Motta), Inler, Obodo, Lukovic (74’ D’Agostino) – Pepe (80’ Sanchez), Quagliarella, Di Natale. (bench: Belardi, Coda, Tissone, Floro Flores). Coach: Marino.
DINAMO ZAGREB (4-2-3-1): Butina – Etto (63’ Sokota), Drpic, Biscan, Hrgovic – Vrdoljak, Ibanez (46’ Badelj) – Mikic, Sammir, Tomic – Balaban (56’ Tadic). (bench: Kelava, Lovren, Chago, Herceg). Coach: Vlak.


Standard vs. Sampdoria


(From Uefa.com): Standard de Liège ensured their impressive European campaign would continue into 2009 as three first-half goals set up a comfortable win against Sampdoria, sealing their progress from Group C with a game to spare.

László Bölöni’s team already had one foot in the Round of 32 after back-to-back 1-0 victories over Sevilla and Partizan, but left nothing to chance in a powerful first-half performance in Belgium. Headers from Igor De Camargo and Oguchi Onyewu put the hosts firmly in control by the 35-minute mark, and by half-time Milan Jovanović had made it 3-0, rounding off a brilliant counterattack with a tidy finish. There was no way back for Sampdoria, who must now beat Sevilla in a fortnight to guarantee their survival.

However, a draw will suffice for the Italian side should Standard beat Stuttgart in the other Matchday 5 fixture, and given the imperious manner in which they started this contest few would bet against the Belgian champions finishing Group C with a 100% record. De Camargo had headed one good opportunity wide when he broke the deadlock midway through the first half, rising to nod in Jovanović’s pinpoint centre. The Brazilian would return the compliment two minutes before half-time, though only after his corner had been turned home by Onyewu.

With Sampdoria reeling De Camargo helped deliver the killer blow – as Standard broke and the ball found its way to him, the quality of his cross was matched by Jovanović’s finish. Having rung the changes at the beginning of the second half, the visitors almost replied through Marius Stankevičius but the Lithuanian international blazed over. Instead it was Standard who continued to look the more likely scorers, Jovanović and Dieudonné Mbokani wasting presentable openings.


 Standard Liège
[Match Highlights]
 U.C. Sampdoria
GOALSCORERS: 23’ De Camargo (St), 34’ Onyewu (St), 43’ Jovanovic (St).
STANDARD LIEGE (4-3-1-2): Aragon (84’ De Vriendt) – Dante, Sarr, Onyewu, Camozzato – Witsel, Defour, Goreux – De Camargo (74’ Nicaise) – Jovanovic (89’ Mangala), Mbokani. (bench: Toema, Mulerno, Mikulic, Benko) Coach: Boloni.
SAMPDORIA (3-5-2): Castellazzi – Campagnaro (56’ Gastaldello), Lucchini, Bottinelli – Stankevicius (66’ Pieri), Dessena, G.Delvecchio, Franceschini, Ziegler – Bonazzoli, Fornaroli (55’ Cassano). (bench: Fiorillo, Accardi, Bellucci, Sammardo). Coach: Mazzarri.


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Posted in Sampdoria, UEFA Cup, Udinese |

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