Archive for March 22nd, 2008

MISN – Winter Lachine 07-08 game 22 (vs. Spartans)

Saturday, March 22nd, 2008

Ricard, unofficial sponsor of MISN Impossible

MISN? What’s this?

Hello MISN,

On Saturday March 22nd we played game nº22 of the Winter 2007-08 Lachine indoor league, vs. Spartans.

Surfing their recent wave of victory, MISN walked into the last game of this Winter regular season with renewed optimism. Fresh from the wins vs. Wood Gundy (5-4), Kelly’s Leg (6-2), and Ericsson (3-0), we now had the opportunity to test our recent progress against the first-ranked team of the Winter league.

Indeed, our opponents for the day were Spartans, a team which walked into game nº22 at 1st spot of the Division 2 standings, with only a one-point advantage over 2nd-ranked Needless to say, a win was capital for them in order to ensure their crown, however we had other plans. Currently 5th-ranked and 2 points away from Ericsson and FC Sorrento, a win would have improved our final rankings situation and potentially given us better odds in the playoff round.

Attendance-wise, much like the previous week we started off with some early very bad news: after Santi‘s ligament injury, it was Kevin‘s turn to walk under a bad spell: our Toronto-native center-back fractured his wrist during a hockey game, and will have to sit out the rest of the season.   :sad:

As for the rest of our gang, well everyone was pretty much nursing some old injuries (Bruno and Tim were having ankle problems, Alex was struggling with his groin, while Marco had simultaneous ankle, knee, and wrist problems), while at the same time Bardia and Imad were organizing an event and uncertain to be able to play. On the side of good news (and bad news at the same time), our keeper’s wife Jana just gave birth their second daughter Gabriella this week (congrats dude!!!), so why bad news? Well, Jan was also uncertain for this game…

Bottom line we were a few people short, but had a nice surprise in seeing last-minute confirmations Nafee and Saber show up to lend a hand. In the end, we started the game with 9 players, 7 starters and 2 substitutes, pretty much like last week, which became 3 substitutes as soon as Jan showed up late in the first half.

1) Absent long-term: /
2) Injured long-term: Tevin, Güven, Santi, Kevin
3) N/A this week: Alex, Saad

Here was our line-up:

Bruno / Jan
Eric / Marco
Nafee / Bruno
Bardia / Can

We immediately obtained one shooting chance through Bardia, as our Iranian playmaker cleared a defender in the center to find some space, but his shot off-balance was over the bar and wide. We started off on the right foot though, occupying our opponents’ half and creating danger close to goal.

However, Spartans broke through and captailized on the first chance they obtained unfortunately. The ball got shifted quickly from their left wing to the right, over to an unmarked striker who went for the shot. Bruno (subbing in goal, till Jan got to the game) tried to get to it but couldn’t; the ball rebounded onto the crossbar, hit the floor, then Bruno’s back and crossed the line. Argh. 0-1.

Spartans man-marking our strikers could not turn around for the shot, but eventually somehow managed to slide the ball sideways to the right (or perhaps it was a deflection), where Saber came on at full speed and slammed the ball home inside the right post. 1-1!

Midway through the half, we eventually went ahead. Bruno (still in goal) made a save, and immediately launched a spinning hand pass towards Can onto the left wing. Our Turkish striker let the ball pass over his head to clear his marker, then hit a powerful strike off the bounce that overpowered the keeper’s guard, and find its way into the top corner. 2-1 MISN!

Nafee had an excellent opportunity on the right wing, as he received the ball wide open following a Saber counter-attack on the left. The keeper came rushing out, Nafee dribbled him and attempted to score into the empty net but one of the Spartans defender deflected the ball into corner.

Minutes later, a good ball over the defense found Can clear on the right wing with just the keeper to beat. Once again the Spartans nº1 rushed out, forcing our Turkish striker to attempt a chipped shot which ended up way over the bar. Following that, we obtained another two very good chances through Bruno (powerful shot deflected onto the crossbar by a defender) and Tim (diving header from short-range parried away by the keeper).

It was merely the prologue to our game-winning goal: exploiting some good passing moves, the ball landed to Can on the left right in front of the goal. The Spartans keeper came out to close down the angle, but this time our Turkish striker took the ball past him and onto his left-foot, arming a ripping strike to the opposite post! Power goal and 3-2 MISN!

In the remaining minutes our defense contained the last Spartans rushes, and some good pressuring by Tim even got one of their defenders sent off, as he took away the legs from our Montreal-born player. 3-2 the final score! …

3-2 final score

Can (2)

Yellow cards:

A great performance to cap the regular season boys. We were facing the nº1-ranked team, and rose up to the challenge. So much in fact, that the concurrent victory of over Ericsson crowned them Division 2 champions (!), but more importantly (for us) made us overtake Ericsson and FC Sorrento in the standings, and get a final ranking of 3rd spot!!

Winter Lachine 07-08 Division 2 final rankings

This means that in the April 12 QUARTER-FINALS, we will be paired with Kelly’s Leg! Our two previous encounters this season saw us defeated 1-0 in the first leg, then victorious 6-2 in the second leg (a game during which we went down two goals, and came back from behind in stunning fashion).

Playoffs will be a whole other ballgame however, and our opponents will come at us with a lot more determination. However, if there’s one thing that the last few games of regular season have shown, is that if we play our best we can beat any team in this league! Saturday will be time to prove that!



Inter Milan vs. Juventus Preview – Derby d’Italia Kicks Off Saturday Night, San Siro Stadium Gets Ready For Another Epic Showdown

Saturday, March 22nd, 2008

Derby d’Italia - Inter vs. Juventus

To quote Guardian blogger Paolo Baldini, this fixture represents a match between “the Proud and the Usurpers; the Honest against the Defrauded; the Champions against the… eh… actual Champions. Don’t let those pretenders from AC Milan or Roma tell you otherwise – from the moment Juventus sealed promotion back to the top flight [...] Italy has been counting down towards one game, and one game only“.

After the first round last November, which ended 1-1 draw at the Stadio Olimpico of Turin, the Derby d’Italia between Juventus and Internazionale is back. Saturday, the Stadio Giuseppe Meazza of Milan will be the host to one of the most intense derby matches in Italy. Two teams not from the same city but who are very much bitter rivals, and also have the highest goals total in Serie A history.

Inter Milan vs. Juventus (Serie A)

Derby History

This game, Baldini says, is about much more than just league standings:

Journalist Gianni Brera coined the term Derby d’Italia in 1967 to describe a fixture, between Italy’s two most successful sides at the time (in terms of domestic titles), which was characterised by at least as much passion and animosity as any cross-city derby.

The history of the tie is thick with intrigue and bad blood. After a pitch invasion in 1961, the league initially awarded one such derby to Inter, only for an appeal board to overturn the decision and order a replay. Inter sent out a youth team in protest, which was duly thrashed 9-1, much to the chagrin of Sampdoria striker Sergio Brighenti. He would have been capocannoniere (top scorer) for the season had it not been for the six Juve’s Omar Sívori scored that day. He would also have been Italy’s entrant for the 1961 Ballon D’or, which Sívori subsequently won.

Far-right National Alliance member Domenico Gramazio has to be restrained in the Italian parlament, after coming to blows with Massimo Mauro, a deputy of the ruling Democrats of the Left and a former player with JuventusMore recently Italy’s parliament had to be suspended in April 1998 when two deputies came to blows over Juventus’s (effectively title-deciding) 1-0 win at the Stadio delle Alpi, where referee Piero Ceccarini denied Inter a penalty for Mark Iuliano’s block on Ronaldo before awarding one to Juve seconds later. Back on the pitch, Paolo Montero punched Luigi Di Biagio in the face in December 2000, while Zlatan Ibrahimovic, then playing for Juventus, took a swing at Iván Córdoba and headbutted Sinisa Mihajlovic in 2005.

And then, of course, we have Calciopoli. Inter stand accused by many Bianconeri fans of stealing both their titles and their players, despite the fact Juventus were desperate to cut their wage bill after relegation and actually received quite fair prices for Ibrahimovic (£16.7m) and Patrick Vieira (£6.5m). Conspiracy theorists, meanwhile, have pointed to the fact Telecom Italia – the company who caught out Luciano Moggi – were at the time run by Marco Tronchetti Provera, president of Inter’s sponsor Pirelli.

A view shared by’s Carlo Garganese, who maintains “Inter and Juve have developed into the bitterest of enemies since the Calciopoli crisis in 2006 [guaranteeing] that there will be an explosive atmosphere at San Siro Saturday night“.

InternazionaleInter are continuing to stutter as we enter the final quarter of the Serie A season. On Wednesday night they could only manage a 1-1 draw at Genoa, having been forced to play more than half of the game with 10 men, following Pelé’s sending off. As it happened however, the draw turned out to be a positive result, as Roma lost 3-2 to Lazio in the capital derby, thus enabling Inter to extend their lead at the top of the table to 7 points.

With just 9 games of the season remaining this advantage should be enough for Inter to retain the Scudetto, however their poor recent performances suggest that it will not be a walk in the park. Inter arguably have a much harder run-in than Roma, as they still have to play Milan, Fiorentina, Lazio away, as well as Juventus this weekend.

JuventusAs for Juventus, they are virtually guaranteed of a place in next season’s Champions League (with just 9 games remaining they hold a 9-point cushion over 5th-placed Milan), and have recently recovered from a recent poor run (when they picked up just 1 point in 3 games) by obtaining 7 points in their next 3 clashes. However, like Inter, Juve have been far from impressive recently. Last Sunday they required an 88th minute winner from substitute Vincenzo Iaquinta to overcome Napoli 1-0, while they also looked bereft of ideas in midweek as they drew 0-0 at second-from-bottom Empoli.

Nevertheless form will count for nothing coming into this game, and Juve will be pumped up to the maximum to gain revenge over the team that most Juventini blame for Calciopoli. When the two sides drew 1-1 in Turin in November it was a feisty, and at times violent game. Luis Figo broke his leg following a challenge from Pavel Nedved, while Giorgio Chiellini dished out some real rough treatment to ex-Bianconero Zlatan Ibrahimovic.


Lega CalcioA Game of Numbers

On top of being one of the most anticipated derbies of the Serie A season, Internazionale vs. Juventus also currently holds the record for being played the highest number of times in Italian league history: Saturday will see the fixture reach an historic 150th match milestone. So far, history seems to favor the Bianconeri who have won the fixture 70 times, against only 42 times for Inter and 37 draws. These numbers are (expectedly) very different of course, if one considers solely the 74 matches played at the San Siro stadium, Inter home soil: in that category, the Nerazzurri lead with 32 wins, 24 draws and 18 defeats.

Statistics: Inter-Juventus
(as of January 30, 2008)
Total nº of games
Juve Wins
Inter Wins
Juve Goals
Inter Goals
Serie A
Camp. Federale
Camp. di Guerra
Coppa Italia
Supercoppa Ita.

Staying on the subject of numbers, this match will also be very special for the two team captains, Javier Zanetti and Alessandro Del Piero.

Javier Zanetti, age 34The Inter skipper will be capping his 418th Serie A match (excluding playoff games) with the Nerazzurri jersey, thus surpassing Sandro Mazzola at nº3 in the all-time caps records with Inter Milan (Giuseppe Bergomi still leads that ranking with 519 matches, followed by Giacinto Facchetti, 475).

Alessandro Del Piero, age 33As for the Juventus captain, Del Piero would reach Gaetano Scirea at the top of the all-time all-competitions leadership of most-capped players in Juventus history. Indeed, Saturday’s match against Inter would make this Del Piero’s 552th match with the Bianconeri and 360th in Serie A (his other matches include 35 caps in Serie B, 45 in Coppa Italia, 6 in Supercoppa Italiana and 106 in international competitions).

Tactical Showdown gives us the ins & outs of who should step on the field Saturday night.

Inter are without the injured Olivier Dacourt, Walter Samuel, Ivan Cordoba, Cesar and Dejan Stankovic, while Pelé is suspended following his red card against Genoa. Juventus will have to make do without long-term injury victims Jorge Andrade and Marco Marchionni, while Cristiano Zanetti is also sidelined.

Inter’s predicted line-up for Inter-Juventus (March 22, 2008)In addition, Inter coach Roberto Mancini will probably have to do without Brazilian winger Maxwell (who picked up an ankle injury in the Friday training session). The 4-3-1-2 formation predicted by La Gazzetta dello Sport should feature Dejan Stankovic, Patrick Vieira, and Javier Zanetti as the first midfield line, right behind playmaker Luis Jimenez and striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Julio Cruz.

Juventus’ predicted line-up for Inter-Juventus (March 22, 2008)As for Juve coach Claudio Ranieri, his doubts should mostly be regarding his midfield: one possible solution being Mauro Camoranesi in a central role (and Hasan Salihamidzic on the right wing), and the alternative the insertion of Antonio Nocerino (thus reverting Camoranesi to the wing). In either case, Momo Sissoko will feature in the starting eleven, behind what should be strikers Alessandro Del Piero and David Trezeguet.


Form Guide
Inter Milan
(Serie A)
(Serie A)
(Champions League)
(Serie A)
(Serie A)
(Serie A)
(Serie A)
(Serie A)
(Serie A)
(Serie A)


Duels to Watch

Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Inter) vs. Giorgio Chiellini (Juve)

Zlatan Ibrahimovic vs. Giorgio Chiellini stareOne of the main spectacles of the match will be Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s duel with his former Juventus colleague Giorgio Chiellini. When the pair faced each other in Turin in November they repeatedly clashed off-the-ball, with Chiellini clearly winning the battle both on a physical and footballing level. Ibrahimovic will be keen for revenge, while also attempting to prove that he can perform against the big sides.

Julio Cesar (Inter) vs. Gianluigi Buffon (Juve)

Julio Cesar vs. Gianluigi BuffonMore of a “long-range” duel if you will, but one nonetheless to consider. At the moment, these two gloved superheroes can safely be tagged as the best two goalkeepers the Serie A has to offer (with Sebastien Frey a very close third). It will be very interesting to see who will make the difference on Saturday, at keeping their team’s net safe from the hungry hungry strikers.

Kick-off is on Saturday March 22, 20:30 CET. Que le meilleur gagne!