Archive for April, 2008

Juventus 3-0 Parma: 3 Goals and 3 Points for the Bianconeri (Serie A Matchday 31 Catch-Up)

Thursday, April 17th, 2008

Serie A“Mission Champions League” is almost completed for Juventus. The Bianconeri, victorious 3-0 in the catch-up match vs. Parma today, have now a lead of 12 points over 5th-ranked Milan & Sampdoria and with 5 matches to go in the Serie A, the deal is pretty much sealed for La Vecchia Signora.

Now, whether the game opener occurred after a doubly irregular play (Camoranesi foul on Zenoni, Trezeguet in offside position) is not too important (although Parma probably won’t see it that way): Juventus will take the 3 points and start planning for next season’s future. One that likely includes the UEFA Champions League and (also likely) Amauri Carvalho de Oliveira

Hasan Salihamidizic, Raffaele Palladino and Tiago Mendes celebrate after the 3-0 goal (Juventus 3-0 Parma, Serie A Matchday 31 catch-up, April 17, 2008)

Serie A Matchday 31 - Juventus 3-0 Parma

Today’s match was a Juve affair right from the first minute: Claudio Ranieri‘s boys had more energy, more ideas, more determination, whereas Parma constantly seemed to be out of breath and really struggled to get anything going. Hector Cuper had fielded a 4-4-1-1 formation with Bernardo Corradi as the lone striker supported by Reginaldo. Juventus David Trezeguet celebrates after scoring the match opener (Juventus 3-0 Parma, Serie A Matchday 31 catch-up, April 17, 2008)on the other hand stuck to their classic 4-4-2, keeping Iaquinta, Legrottaglie & Sissoko at home and Nedved & Tiago on the bench, but fielding Mauro Camoranesi in central midfield to inspire the productive Del Piero-Trezeguet duo. As a result, the Bianconeri domination progressively increased as Juventus continued to maintain possession, create overlaps and scoring chances.

The aforementioned 1-0 tally by David Trezeguet came in minute 16, following a corner-kick by Alex Del Piero and from then on, Juve just kept on going. 15 minutes later, it was vice-Nedved man Raffaele Palladino getting back to action (the player’s been kept on the bench lately for Juve’s past few games) and reminding everyone why he’s Bianconeri material: executing a headed anticipation on Damiano Zenoni to control the ball inside the box, ‘Palladinho’ followed with a one-timer howitzer, directly into the far corner of the goal! Top stuff from the U-21 international, and 2-0 Juventus at the break.

In the second period things went from bad to worse for Parma, because Hector Cuper was forced to take off Bernardo Corradi very early in the half due to an injury, and replace him with Andrea Gasbarroni. ‘Quality substitute’ you might say and you’d be right, but the Gialloblu midfielder’s been sorta keeping in the shadows lately, kinda like the rest of his Raffaele Palladino scores the 2-0 goal with a powerful blast (Juventus 3-0 Parma, Serie A Matchday 31 catch-up, April 17, 2008)teammates: Reginaldo was nowhere to be seen today, and the only one trying to find some way to keep this game interesting, was Kenyan midfielder McDonald Mariga. Unfortunately for Parma, his appeals for a penalty-kick call after a suspicious contact with Chiellini were denied by referee Luca Banti.

On the other end, Ranieri brought in ‘reinforcements’ by sending Tiago and Pavel Nedved into the mix, and the Czech winger picked up things right where he had left off before his injury: top form displays of technique and class, culminating in minute 72′s narrowly wide sho (after a lightning-fast one-two passing exchange with Trezeguet). Probably the play of the night, even though the goal of the night (and I’m being sarcastic) was yet to come. About 15 minutes from the end, Tiago’s attempted aerial pass towards Trezeguet was intercepted by Stefano Morrone: the Gialloblu midfielder’s header was so good in fact, that the ball took an incredible looping trajectory and ended up lobbing Parma keeper Luca Bucci.

Freak goal for the 3-0 Juventus tally, but the Bianconeri will take it. Champions League qualification will soon be a certainty in Turin…

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Juventus F.C. JUVENTUS-PARMA
3-0
[Match Highlights]
 Parma F.C.
GOALSCORERS: 16’ Trezeguet (J), 30’ Palladino (J), 77’ own goal Morrone (J)
JUVENTUS (4-4-2): Buffon – Grygera, Stendardo, Chiellini, Molinaro – Salihamidzic, Camoranesi (65’ Tiago), Nocerino, Palladino (80’ Marchionni) – Del Piero (65’ Nedved), Trezeguet. (bench: Belardi, Birindelli, Ariaudo, Essabr). Coach: Ranieri.
PARMA (4-4-1-1): Bucci – D.Zenoni, Falcone (75’ M.Rossi), Couto, Castellini – Dessena (87’ Cigarini), Morrone, Mariga, Antonelli – Reginaldo – Corradi (47’ Gasbarroni). (bench: Pavarini, Martinez, Parravicini, Morfeo). Coach: Cuper.

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Felix Magath Makes Cooking Compulsory for Wolfsburg Players

Wednesday, April 16th, 2008

Felix Magath super chef

Here’s a funny story from Germany. He may not be liked in Italy (due to his famous 1983 Champions League final goal vs. Juventus) and he may not be liked in Germany (the players have nicknamed him “the torturer”), but one thing’s for sure: Felix Magath is quite the resourceful man. While still coaching Bayern Munich not so long ago, the ex-Hamburg player once decided to have a 4am training session (yes, 4am!!) right in the middle of the German Winter! The reason he claimed, was that the players needed punishment for their last cup performance vs. Erzgebirge (a second division team): the team had won the match and qualified to the next round, but played poorly.

WolfsburgFortunately this time (Magath has been managing VfL Wolfsburg since the start of the 2007-08 season) his players should have something milder to endure, or if you will, ‘tastier’. Indeed, the entire Wolfsburg roster will be forced to attend… cooking classes until the end of the current season, in order for them to “learn the benefits of eating more healthy, both in everyday life and for their sports professional careersaid Magath to German magazine Sport Bild.

Sven ElverfeldIn particular, the German coach hopes to avoid any future food poisoning incidents: the recent health problems of striker Ashkan Dejagah (who fell ill after ordering Chinese take-out) and defender Alexander Madlung (poisoned from poorly cooked meat in a fast-food joint) have pushed Magath to arrange his buddy Sven Elverfeld (well-known 5-star chef of the Berlin Ritz-Carlton hotel) to teach the players (and wives) his cooking secrets.

In addition to cooking classes, the whole team will be forced to eat a big dinner together twice a week, where lean fish and meat will replace hot dogs, hamburgers, and fries (which currently constitute the unealthy food of choice of many Wolfsburg players). The club is currently 7th in the Bundesliga rankings… I guess that for Wolfsburg, UEFA Cup qualification must start at the table.

Amauri-Juventus, It’s Getting Close…

Wednesday, April 16th, 2008

Amauri-Juventus, We’re Getting Close…

His name is Amauri Carvalho de Oliveira. He’s a target of half the big teams of Serie A, on the shortlist of many more teams in Europe (Lyon, Valencia, and Real Madrid notably), and seemingly very close to heading to Juventus next year.

At least according to Gazzetta dello Sport: the pink newspaper is reporting that Palermo president Maurizio Zamparini confirmed the latest rumours, and indeed met with fellow president Giovanni Cobolli Gigli and the entire Juventus staff, earlier on Tuesday afternoon. “We sat down, talked about many things, and confirmed the Bianconeri interest for Amauri. We looked at the players they have available, and we shall now see” admitted Zamparini. “There will be another meeting next month, at which time general managers Rino Foschi [Palermo] and Alessio Secco [Juve] will work together to find an agreement, and I believe it will be successful“.

The basis of the agreement, Gazzetta speculates, is said to include a €12m transfer fee, plus the exchange of Palermo-interested players such as Marco Marchionni, Paolo De Ceglie, Davide Lanzafame, Sebastian Giovinco, Claudio Marchisio or Antonio Nocerino. As for Raffaele Palladino, given the Juve midfielder/striker’s recent declarations he wasn’t interested to moving to Sicily, Zamparini declared that “he is no longer a club’s target”.

amauri_palermo4.jpg

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A short Amauri biography

Coppa CarnevaleThe Italian history of Amauri began in the year 2000, as the then-18-year-old Brazilian striker participated in the prestigious Viareggio Tournament, with his Brazilian club Santa Caterina. He immediately impressed the Italian scouts, after AC Bellinzonascoring a double in the match vs. Empoli, but either by personal choice or deemed to be unsufficiently prepared for the Italian league, ended up at the Swiss club of AC Bellinzona in order to start his career in Europe slowly.

After two seasons in Switzerland (during which, because of a knee injury, he ended up playing only 5 matches and scoring 1 goal) Amauri was signed by Parma and immediately loaned to Napoli in January 2001, making his Serie A debut on April 14 in a league match against Bari. The match ended 1-0 for the Neapolitans (despite Amauri having a perfectly valid goal disallowed) and was the occasion for the Brazilian striker to get his first real taste of top flight Italian football. Amauri’s experience in Southern Italy was brief but positive, and would also be the opportunity for him to score the first Serie A goal in his career (Napoli-Verona 2-0).

At the end of the 2000/01 season, Napoli were relegated in Serie B and the poor financial situation of the club prevented them from signing Amauri on a permanent basis. The young Brazilian thus successively transferred to Piacenza (Serie A, 2001/02), then to Messina (Serie B, 2002/03) where Amauri began to regain his goalscoring confidence, until he virtually exploded at Chievo Verona from 2003 to 2006.

Amauri at Chievo VeronaIn the 2005/06 season Amauri showed most of his potential, becoming one of the key players for his team and leading the club to their first ever qualification to the preliminary phase of UEFA Champions League (also favored by the Calciopoli scandal, which removed the main ‘big clubs’ from the top of the Serie A standings). Amauri was sold to Palermo on August 31, 2006 (the last day of the 2006 summer market) for a sum nearing €8m, soon after scoring 2 goals in the return match of the third qualifying round against PFC Levski Sofia.

Immediately from his debut with Palermo in the 2006/07 season, Amauri rapidly became a fan-favourite and a key player for the Rosanero, Amauri presented with Palermo shirtscoring 8 goals in 18 league matches and convincing everyone to be the ideal substitute for striker Luca Toni (who had meanwhile transferred to Fiorentina). In December 2006 however, a serious knee injury in the match against Siena forced Amauri to a 7-month stop, keeping the Brazilian star on the sidelines for the rest of the season.

Amauri recovered right in time for the start of the 2007/08 season, being immediately featured in the regular lineup for the Palermo debut match (against AS Roma) and scoring his first season goal in the next (a 4-2 away win to Livorno).

So far, Amauri has played in 31 Serie A games with Palermo this season and scored 13 goals. The commitment, energy, and quality goals of the Palermo striker have earned him much attention from European clubs, as well as Italian national team coach Roberto Donadoni. Indeed, having never appeared at the international level for the Brazilian team, (and being eligible to acquire an Italian passport, having lived and played in Italy for 5 years) Amauri is considered a likely future call-up to the Azzurri squad, being technically and physically the ideal substitute for Italian forward Luca Toni.

Biography info from the English and Italian Amauri Wikipedia pages

Italian Players Around the World (14/04)

Monday, April 14th, 2008

Continuing my weekly article inspired by Gazzetta dello Sport, here are the performances of all Italian soccer players operating in foreign European leagues.

Luca Toni scores his second goal vs. Borussia Dortmund

Based on Gazzetta’s info, there are currently 22 Italians playing in first divisions abroad, and 11 of them stepped on the field this week-end.

The table below includes the team the player belongs to, their opponents for the week, the number of minutes they played, their contribution (goal, assist), and the final score of the game.
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ENGLAND
Player Team Opp.
mins.
Contrib.
Score
Carlo Cudicini Chelsea Wigan
(injd.)
/
1-1
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SCOTLAND
Massimo Donati Celtic @Motherwell
(N/A)
/
4-1
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GERMANY
Luca Toni Bayern M. B.Dortmund
90
2 goals
5-0
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SPAIN
Fabio Cannavaro Real Madrid Murcia
(rest)
/
1-0
Giuseppe Rossi Villareal @Almeria
18
/
0-1
Christian Abbiati Atl. Madrid @Valladolid
(bench)
/
1-1
Gianluca Zambrotta Barcelona @Recreativo
90
/
2-2
Enzo Maresca Sevilla @Mallorca
(susp.)
/
3-2
Morgan De Sanctis Sevilla @Mallorca
(bench)
/
3-2
Emiliano Moretti Valencia Racing
90
/
1-2
Stefano Sorrentino Recreativo Barcelona
90
/
2-2
Damiano Tommasi Levante @Betis
(injd.)
/
1-0
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FRANCE
Fabio Grosso Lyon Rennes
90
/
1-1
Flavio Roma Monaco Toulouse
90
/
0-2
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HOLLAND
Graziano Pellè AZ Alkmaar @Excelsior
45
/
1-1
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BELGIUM
Roberto Mirri Mons Roeselare
90
/
1-1
Alessandro Pistone Mons Roeselare
90
/
1-1
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SWITZERLAND
Stefano Razzetti St. Gallen Young Boys
(bench)
/
2-0
Andrea Guatelli FC Zürich Aarau
(bench)
/
0-0
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POLAND
Stefano Napoleoni Widzew Łódź @LKS Lodz
90
/
0-2
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RUSSIA
Ivan Pelizzoli Lok. Moscow Terek Grozny
(stands)
/
2-0

 

Heroes of the week

Luca Toni, age 30Well, it didn’t take very long for Luca Toni to return into the spotlight. Midweek: two goals vs. Getafe in the UEFA Cup (and how important were those goals… Bayern was losing 1-3 in extra time before Toni scored his double), and this week-end: two goals vs. Dortmund. Plus a major contribution to Bayern’s 5-0 final scoreline. Toni-gol is back, bentornato Luca!

Serie A Matchday 33 – Week-end Review + GOALS of the Week (2007-08)

Monday, April 14th, 2008

Week-End Reviews

Here are the results and summaries for matchday 33. Full Video Highlights here.

Italian Calcio Blog week 33 review

Italian Calcio Blog

Gazzetta in English week 33 review

Gazzetta dello Sport

MILAN, 13 April, 2008 – Inter Milan stayed four points clear in the Serie A with a 2-0 win over Fiorentina on Sunday, while chasing AS Roma scored three second-half goals to rally for a 3-1 victory at Udinese. Esteban Cambiasso knocked in an easy shot in the 55th for Inter after Patrick Vieira dribbled around a Fiorentina defender in the area and then passed the ball after having fallen. Mario Balotelli made it 2-0 in the 62nd, his second goal in Serie A after scoring his first last week. Balotelli got his second straight start as Zlatan Ibrahimovic continues to be sidelined with an injury.

Earlier in the day, Stadio Friuli was home to an excellent game with great plays displayed by both Udinese and Roma. The winning goals came in the second half: the Bianconeri opened the score with a goal by Di Natale (7′), but Roma sealed the fate of the game with goals by Vucinic (19′), Taddei (25′) and Giuly (45′).

Sampdoria are out of the race for a spot in the Champions after breaking their winning streak and losing against Reggina. Things are heating up at the bottom of the standings. Livorno is now last after losing 2-1 to Cagliari, Empoli and Parma drew (1-1), and Torino should now be concerned after losing 3-0 to Genoa.

Finally, on Saturday Palermo won the Sicilian derby by beating Catania 1-0 thanks to a goal by Fabrizio Miccoli, while Juventus defeated AC Milan 3-2 in the big match at Stadio Olimpico di Torino, goals by Pippo Inzaghi (2), Alessandro Del Piero and Hasan Salihamidzic (2).

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GOALS of the WEEKGOALS of the WEEK

Not many quality strikes this week, so the selection is quite easy for once. Here’s our top 5 selection for ya:

This week, the goal-of-the-week award goes to Alessandro Del Piero. Juventus vs. AC Milan was the big match of the week-end, and who else to win this week than the Bianconeri’s emphatic captain? For this one, Del Piero receives a perfect through ball from Camoranesi on the run, and with a very difficult angle manages to roll the ball past Zeljko Kalac, onto the far post.

If Del Piero keeps this up, he will make Roberto Donadoni’s picks for the Azzurri Euro 2008 team very difficult. And the Italian press agrees.


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Results Summary

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Serie A – day 33
Palermo – Catania
1 - 0
Juventus – Milan
3 – 2
Empoli – Parma
1 - 1
Genoa – Torino
3 – 0
Lazio – Siena
1 - 1
Livorno – Cagliari
1 - 2
Napoli – Atalanta
2 – 0
Reggina – Sampdoria
1 – 0
Udinese – Roma
1 - 3
Inter – Fiorentina
2 - 0