Archive for November 11th, 2007

Serie A: Tragedy strikes Italian Soccer once again

Sunday, November 11th, 2007


This morning at around 9.00 local time, a group of Lazio Ultras and Juventus supporters got involved into a fistfight at a motorway service station in Badia al Pino, Arezzo. A passing police car intervened to break up the ensuing melee and a shot was fired, killing one of the Lazio fans. Reconstruction of the events is still being carried out, but from first witnesses there were apparently two shots fired by the police, the first in the air to break up the fight, and the second shot, believed to go off by accident. The supporter group is of a different opinion, claiming that the police deliberately aimed at their car.

The victim has been named as 26-year-old Gabriele Sandri, a famous DJ in the Rome area who was also well known to members of the Lazio squad and staff.

Just when you thought things couldn’t get any worse… :cry:

For a live update on the events, check

Serie A Matchday 12 – Juventus come back from a 2-goal deficit and tie Parma at Ennio Tardini

Sunday, November 11th, 2007

Serie A

With the tragic death of yet another soccer supporter (more on that coming up) this week-end, things that happened on the fields of Serie A on Sunday will take a very different perspective, but it must be mentioned that once again the saying “La Juve non molla mai” (Juve never lets go) took its full meaning today at Stadio Ennio Tardini. Outplayed and outscored (Andrea Gasbarroni) for 45 minutes in the 1st half, the Bianconeri suffered an even bigger smack to their morale by conceding goal nº2 (Andrea Pisanu) early in the 2nd. However, a few key changes by manager Claudio Ranieri brought back vigor in the ‘Old Lady’, and Juventus managed to climb back from a 0-2 scoreline to the final 2-2, thanks to goals by Nicola Legrottaglie and Vincenzo Iaquinta. The ex-Udinese striker even saw the winning goal for Juventus disallowed in stoppage time, due to a very doubtful offensive foul.

Serie A Matchday 12 - Parma 2-2 Juventus

Tactically, Parma manager Cesare Prandelli opted for a classical 4-4-2 line-up, a formation which was “standard” only on paper: with players such as Pisanu and Gasbarroni (ex-Juve Primavera) operating on the wings and the finishing power of Reginaldo and Bernardo Corradi, danger could be lurking from anywhere. On the other side, ex-Gialloblu manager Ranieri fielded his usual 4-4-2 as well, with Domenico Criscito replacing Cristian Molinaro as left-back, and Mauro Camoranesi in the right winger position right from the start. The striking force was left in the expert hands of David Trezeguet and recent birthday-boy Alessandro Del Piero.

The first period of this match, no point in hiding it, was all Parma. Gasbarroni and Pisanu were being devastating on the wings, sending the Juve wing-backs in shambles on many repeated occasions. This in turn forced Camoranesi and Palladino to an uncustomary covering work, vastly inappropriate for their skills and severely detrimental to Juve’s offensive efforts. No surprises therefore that Del Piero and Trezeguet didn’t get very many playable passes during the half, also due to Cristiano Zanetti and Antonio Nocerino’s inability to provide the playmaking power for the Bianconeri in the middle.

The Parma players celebrate the 1-0 leadParadoxically, the Gialloblu obtained very few scoring opportunities despite their asphyxiating domination in ball possession. A few worth the mention: a close-range header by Pisanu (over the bar) following a good right-wing cross by Reginaldo, then minutes later the ex-Viola striker obtained a chance of his own, deflecting a low cross by Corradi and forcing Buffon to an instinctive save from point-blank range.

A few minutes before the break, Parma went ahead. Inside the Juve box, Reginaldo attempted the dribble between Criscito and Zanetti, and lost his balance due to a slight touch by the ex-Inter player. For referee Gava this meant penalty, but replays showed that contact was anything but clear. In any case, Gasbarroni did the honours to transform the generous call, and put Parma ahead 1-0. Looking at the way the half had been played, it was a deserved lead.

Stefano Morrone (on the right) tries to contain David TrezeguetIn the 2nd half, Ranieri took off Alessandro Del Piero to insert Vincenzo Iaquinta, thereby giving his offensive options a little bit more weight and velocity. The Bianconeri pushed hard in the initial minutes trying to obtain the equalizer, but on the other end Gasbarroni was just on fire. Giving his marker vertigo on the right wing, the Parma midfielder faked the cross a few times before going deep to the goal line and delivering a perfect cross for Pisanu on the 2nd post. Grygera missed the interception, the Parma player’s chested set-up for himself was perfect, and there was little Buffon could do to stop goal nº2.

A big blow for the Bianconeri, who were putting their heart out on the field but sensibly lacked in organizational play. At this point, the Juve coach decided to insert Tiago and Hasan Salihamidzic (on for Nocerino and Grygera), two moves which would later prove to be decisive. The wing attacks of Juventus considerably gained in weight as a result, also because Chiellini and Criscito switched their positions so that the former could help Palladino, and provide his offensive input down the left. It worked. From a left-wing free kick taken by Tiago, Nicola Legrottaglie found the winning header to put the ball past Luca Bucci, and Juventus were back in the game!

Iaquinta-goal: Juve have just tied the game!With less than 15 minutes to play, the match redoubled in intensity. Perhaps too much. Giorgio Chiellini and Domenico Morfeo (who had just come on as a substitute) were both sent off for unsportsmanlike conduct, leaving the match to be played 10 vs. 10. In the end with momentum going their way, this benefit Juve more than it did Parma, and in the 81st the Bianconeri found the tying goal: Salihamidzic made a deep run down the right wing, and crossed the ball for Trezeguet. The Frenchman couldn’t direct his header towards the target, but instead found the foot of Vincenzo Iaquinta lurking on the 2nd post, and the ex-Udinese striker didn’t fail the winning tap-in. 2-2!

Juve could have even stolen the victory in the dying minutes of the game, following a free-kick given for a (very severe) red-card to Ferdinand Coly (definite yellow, not red). Tiago’s cross found the noggin of Iaquinta who applied the finish for the 3-2 tally, but the goal was called off due to a very dubious offensive foul by the Juve player. One has to wonder if the referee, realizing his mistake in the preceding Coly red card, didn’t want to make the check too sour for Parma. 2-2 the final score in a very entertaining, tense game.

 Parma F.C.
(YouTube Highlights coming soon)
Juventus F.C.
GOALSCORERS: 43′ Gasbarroni (P), 57′ Pisanu (P), 75′ Legrottaglie (J), 81′ Iaquinta (J)
PARMA (4-4-2): Bucci – Coly, Falcone, Rossi, Castellini – Gasbarroni (69’ Dessena), Cigarini, Morrone, Pisanu (77’ Morfeo) – Reginaldo (88’ Matteini), Corradi. (bench: Pavarini, D.Zenoni, Parravicini, Paponi) Coach: Prandelli.
JUVENTUS (4-4-2): Buffon – Grygera (63’ Salihamidzic), Legrottaglie, Chiellini, Criscito – Camoranesi, Nocerino (58’ Tiago), C.Zanetti, Palladino – Del Piero (46’ Iaquinta), Trezeguet. (bench: Belardi, Birindelli, Zebina, Almirón). Coach: Ranieri.