lunedì 30 settembre 2013

And Roma sails on. Juve and Napoli give chase to Giallorossi

The Wolves devour Bologna. Juve wins local derby. Tevez (offside) gains Pogba's goal. Napoli beat Genoa and Liverani is fired. Iturbe enchants Verona's fans

And Rome sails on. In Sunday night match, Giallorossi won again. At Olimpico Stadium, after 25 minutes Florenzi, Gervinho and Benatia annihilated Bologna (5-0 the final result). Francesco Totti still celebrates his 37th birthday at the top of the table. Statistics say Rome is an invincible fleet (17 Gf, 1 Ga). 18 points, six wins from six. Rudi Garcia planned a well-balanced team. His system of play remembers Zeman's one, but only on paper. His impure 4-3-3 has an impenetrable defense, a powerful midfield and a crackling attack. Next match, Rome will visit Inter at San Siro Stadium. Exams never end. Dino Viola, A. S. Roma's President of second scudetto (1982-1983), usually said: "In Italy, if you win a Scudetto, supporters are never content. They want to win the following season, too. This is the problem". More or less, the happy problem that Rudi Garcia must face match by match.

This match-day planned the third derby of the season. At Olimpico Stadium of Torino, Pirlo sat on the bench but Juventus beat 1-0 Granata and conquered Derby della Mole. Torino FC protested fiercely, because Tevez was offside when struck the crossbar before Paul Pogba scored the winning goal in the second half. Just four days after controversial victory against Chievo, Bianconeri again in a storm center. Antonio Conte said: "Tevez was offside but in the first half, Immobile had to be sent off. What could happen if Torino played without his forward?". We know technical device between two teams is irretrievable and we know Conte's thought: "Hands off Juventus". If The Old Lady shown again its solidity (in these first matches, five wins and just one draw), the Granata Heart keeps on suffering. Torino FC won its last derby 18 years ago.

Bianconeri share second position with Napoli that forgets the bad draw against Sassuolo, beating 2-0 Genoa at Marassi Stadium on Saturday. Benitez changed again the starting team. The return of Behrami, Albiol, Britos and Zúniga gave again stability to the entire team that won the match without anxiety, notwithstanding Hamšík didn't play and Higuaín replaced only in the second half Zapata, who made his debut without leaving a mark. Insigne played a superb match and Goran Pandev scored a double. Now Benitez must plan the next Champions League match against Arsenal. After home defeat Liverani, Grifone's coach, was fired by Enrico Preziosi, Genoa's President. Gian Piero Gasperini is the new coach of Rossoblu. He was already manager of Genoa between 2006 and 2010. In 2009 he took the team to the fifth place.

Inter drew its second match, is still unbeaten and Mazzarri is optimistic about the future. At Nereo Rocco Stadium of Trieste, Cagliari stopped Nerazzurri (1-1). Icardi (Inter) and Nainggolan (Cagliari) scored the two goals. Agazzi, Cagliari's goalkeeper, was the man of the match. Anyway, Sardinians have an efficient and tested style of play. López's team will make life difficult to entire Serie A.

Milan - without Kaká and Balotelli and in a San Siro partially closed after supporters had chanted racist abuse during their match against Napoli - beat on Saturday a weak Sampdoria with minimum effort (1-0). Valter Birsa scored his first goal with Rossoneri.

Denis scored twice against Udinese and Atalanta saw off Friulani 2-0. For El Tanque and The Goddess, the season can start now.

Sassuolo after drawing with Napoli, gets its second point against Lazio that threw away a two-goal lead. The scorers of the match: Dias and Candreva (Lazio), Schelotto and Floro Flores (Sassuolo). Eusebio Di Francesco is attempting to square the circle.

At Bentegodi Stadium, Verona's supporters can admire the left-footed Iturbe. The young Argentinian winger on loan from Porto scored a wonderful goal. Hellas conquered its third victory beating a combattive Livorno 2-1.

Catania got first win against Chievo thanks to Plašil and Castro.

At the moment, Bologna, Sassuolo and Sampdoria didn't yet win a match.

The sixth match-day will close tonight. Fiorentina will face Parma. Will Giuseppe Rossi score again?

giovedì 26 settembre 2013

Serie A's fourth round: Roma and Napoli don't stop anymore

Napoli beats a bad Milan at San Siro after 27 years. Roma wins the Derby against Lazio. Inter, Juventus and Fiorentina share second position

The story of this fourth round starts from these frames. While Milan's striker Mario Balotelli is bare-chested and Luca Banti issues him the red card, Napoli's supporters are exulting. The match finished just a second ago. Azzurri - after beating Borussia Dortmund in Champions League - storm San Siro after 27 years (1-2, Britos, Higuaín) and can still and again share the top of the table with Roma. Milan loses the second match of the season. Allegri is afflicted. A furious Super Mario is discussing with the referee after the final whistle. Without a doubt, he is the pleasure and pain of this Milan. He played a personal match against Pepe Reina, scored a wonderful consolation goal only at 91', but at 61' the perfect shooter missed the first penalty in his career. Reina is the first goalkeeper who hypnotized him.

In the afternoon, Roma-Lazio's Derby was more than a football match. Giallorossi won its fourth consecutive match beating Lazio 2-0 (Balzaretti, Ljajić) and could revenge the defeat in Coppa Italia Final of the last May (1-0 for Biancocelesti). Balzaretti burst into tears after scoring the first goal and Ljajić converted a penalty in injury time. Rudi Garcia annotated with a French proverb: "We put the church back in the center of town". Now, Giallorossi can pray with easy conscience.

Fiorentina, Juventus and Inter are in second position with 10 points. Viola - without Gomez and Cuadrado - won an away game against Atalanta (2-0). Pepito Rossi scored his fourth goal. Tevez and Llorente gave Juventus the third victory of the season. If Hellas Verona was a tough not for Bianconeri (2-1), Sassuolo shown all its vulnerability against Inter. Nerazzurri won 7-0 in the lunch-match. Welcome back after seven months to Diego Milito who scored two goals at Mapei Stadium. Now Mazzarri can count on El Principe too.

Catania and Parma got a colorless draw (0-0). Torino won at Bologna (2-1) and reinforce this good first month. It seems that Cerci - Torino's winger - studies Robben's movements and dreams of next Fifa World Cup.

On Saturday, Chievo defeated Udinese (2-1), Genoa-Livorno equalized (0-0), and Cagliari-Sampdoria had a pyrotechnical final with two goals in the add time (2-2).


lunedì 16 settembre 2013

Serie A's third round: Napoli enjoys the first place... waiting for Roma

Welcome back to Acerbi who debuted with Sassuolo after a cancer surgery. Genoa won Derby of the Lantern. Lazio defeated Chievo after 10 years. Bad news for Fiorentina

The best news of this Sunday comes from Verona but it has the Black and greens Colors of Sassuolo. Francesco Acerbi - 24 years old, Sassuolo's central back - debuted in this season 60 days after a cancer surgery. His team has still 0 point in the table - H. Verona won the match 2-0 (Martinho, Romulo) -  but today, these dates are not so important.

The last act of this third round will be Monday night match Parma-Roma. Antonio Cassano will face Francesco Totti.  If Giallorossi will conquer the third consecutive victory, Napoli will share the first position with Rudi Garcia's team. At the moment Azzurri are the only team that won these first three matches. They didn't yet face a top team, they played twice at San Paolo but they shown strength and personality. Bologna, Chievo and Atalanta are not sparring partners. Next match, Napoli will visit Milan at San Siro Stadium for the first test bed of the season.

On Saturday, the Italian derby between Inter and Juve, finished in a tame 1-1 draw, whereas Torino could not celebrate a prestigious victory against Milan (2-2 owing to a controversial penalty by Mario Balotelli in the last seconds).

In Sunday lunch-match, Fiorentina got a dull draw against Cagliari - Borja Valero (F), Pinilla (C). Mario Gomez picked up a knee injury and Juan Cuadrado dislocated his shoulder. Montella - Viola's coach - cant' smile at all.

In the afternoon, Lazio welcomed back the coffin of Giorgio Chinaglia - Lazio football legend died in USA  last year - defeating Chievo 3-0 (Candreva, Cavanda, Lulić). Biancocelesti  didn't defeat Chievo since ten years. Next Sunday, at Olimpico Stadium, Lazio vs Roma. It's derby's time for the city.

Paulinho - Brazilian striker - was the hero in Livorno-Catania, scoring two goals (2-0). Catania is still in the last position of the table with Sassuolo, whereas Amaranto conquered already 6 points.

At Friuli Stadium, Udinese and Bologna equalized 1-1. Diamanti (B) and Di Natale (U) shown their best qualities to entire Serie A.

The last match of the day was the Derby of the Lantern. Genoa won the match 3-0. Antonini, Calaiò and Lodi (wonderful free kick) gave an unforgettable night to Grifone's supporters. Genoa - that turned 120 years last 7 September - celebrated its prestigious birthday. Liverani can't sleep with peace of mind. Doriani are being consumed with rage and the coach Rossi apologized to Blucerchiati people.

ANDREA MECCIA - Monday, September 16 th, 2013

Welcome to the "Derby of the Lantern"

We are only at the third round of this season but for both teams there's too much at stake. The Blucerchiati and The Rossoblu have known very dark nights in these years. That's why they honor always this match.

We are in the city of Christopher Columbus, the man who discovered America. We are in a city gold medal for the Resistance during the Second World War. We are in a big industrial city, fatherland of great singers. We are in northern Italy but here, in the Old Town's streets, if you want, you can find a Latin soul. Welcome to Genoa, the city of Genoa Football Cricket Club (the oldest Italian football team) and Sampdoria UC. This Sunday will be a thrilling day for Genoese people. The Derby of the Lantern is knocking on city's doors and an odd spy-story monopolized the atmosphere in the last hours.

"LIKE RAMBO UNDER A TREE" - Luca Del Pra, a youth team Genoa's coach, was found hiding in a bush at Sampdoria's training. He was hiding "like Rambo under a tree", Sampdoria said in a statement. Genoa clarified: "No director or member of the coaching staff sent Luca Del Pra to watch the training session at Bogliasco. It was a personal initiative. This has never been done before and is not part of the club's modus operandi. The club makes it known that Del Pra has been suspended with immediate effect pending further explanations".

NOBODY CAN FAIL - We are only at the third round of this season but for Sampdoria UC and Genoa CFC there's too much at stake. The supporters of both teams are afraid of a hard season again and derby can change psychologically the destiny of the season. Until now, Sampdoria lost to Juventus at Marassi (0-1) and drew with Bologna (2-2) and Delio Rossi - Blucerchiati's coach since 2012 who trained Lazio in previous years - knows well derbies' atmosphere. Genoa CFC turned 120 years last 7 September, but in these first two matches didn't yet celebrate its prestigious birthday. Il Grifone lost to Inter (2-0) and to Fiorentina (2-5). Genoa's manager Liverani is not as experienced as Rossi. He is for first time on a Serie A's bench and the third consecutive defeats could mean immediate exemption. Italian football - on the other hand - is used to impulsive moves of Enrico Preziosi, the President of Rossoblu.

RECENT HISTORY - Some years ago - in the last part of 1980s and in the early 1990s - Sampdoria-Genoa was a real big match. In that period Vujadin Boskov - Yugoslav eccentric coach - was the condottiere of a wonderful group - we remember Gianluca Pagliuca, Pietro Vierchowod, Attilio Lombardo, Toninho Cerezo and the Gemelli del gol Gianluca Vialli and Roberto Mancini - that won twice Italian Cups and played two consecutive finals of Uefa Cup Winner's Cup. In the first one they were defeated by Barcelona (1989), but following year they won the Cup against Anderlecht (1990). Two years later, they lost - again to Barcellona - a final of European Cup Wembley Stadium (1992). In 1991, Sampdoria won its first and only Scudetto, but supporters doriani celebrated with a bitter state in their mouth. In the first derby, Genoa defeated Sampdoria 2-1 in a legendary match. It was a rainy Sunday and the winning free kick by Branco - Brazilian left back - is a museum piece. In that season Osvaldo Bagnoli - Genoa's coach - took Rossoblu at fourth position and they qualified for Uefa Cup. In quarter finals, Genoa was the first Italian team that won at Anfield Road against Liverpool but lost to Ajax in semi-final matches. The fans of Grifone won't never forget the strikers Carlos Aguilera and Tomáš Skuhravý and the captain Gianluca Signorini (dead in 2002 after an illness).

In 2010-2011 season, the Derby of the Lantern was a dramatic moment for Sampdoria. Genoa won the match at the last second, when the Argentinean Boselli scored at 97' (2-1 the final result). The following Sunday Sampdoria was relegated to Serie B. The decline of these last decades - Genoa played also in Serie C1, the third Italian League - didn't never run down the importance of this match.
IN THE NAME OF THE LANTERN - Everybody knows Sampdoria and Genoa won't fight for Scudetto or Champions League zone not even this season, but warm supporters will welcome the clubs celebrating their glorious histories. A beautiful exhibition - year after year more exciting - will be organized on the terraces again. The Blucerchiati and The Rossoblu have known very dark nights in these years and the Lantern was often the only light they saw. That's why they honor always this match. Because it is dedicated to the symbol of this city. And the symbols will never die.

ANDREA MECCIA - Sunday, September 15 th, 2013

mercoledì 11 settembre 2013

Looking for Allende...

Quattro anni fa andai in cerca di Salvador e della democrazia perduta per le vie di Santiago. Era il luglio del 2009. Avrei voluto incontrare il regista Patricio Guzmán, autore della monumentale "Batalla de Chile", per chiacchierare con lui. Gli scrissi una mail che lui definì "larga y fundamentada". La cosa mi inorgoglì parecchio. Mi rispose che viveva a Parigi e che il Cile forse aveva riconquistato la democrazia ma aveva qualche problema con la memoria. Mi domando ancora oggi se sia possibile vivere nell'una privi dell'altra anche nel nostro Paese. Vidi il Palazzo de La Moneda solo dal di fuori. In quei giorni non era visitabile. Nella sede del Comune di Santiago mi ricevette un vecchio militante socialista e la sera andai a cena con lui e la moglie tedesca. Si erano conosciuti in Europa durante gli anni dell'esilio. Mi raccontò molte cose della politica di Allende, della dittatura, del ritorno della democrazia. Aveva un linguaggio politico forte, robusto e affascinante. Un linguaggio che non ho mai più avuto il privilegio di ascoltare dal vivo. Nelle sua voce le parole 'decmocracia' e 'libertad' vibravano con forza e intensità a me sconosciute. Non ricordo bene quello che mi disse. In me rimangono le sensazioni positive di chi mi parlava del passato come materia ardente, spingendomi a guardare verso il futuro. Complice, sicuramente, fu anche il periodo elettorale imminente. Al governo c'era Michelle Bachelet, la 'presidenta' socialista. Lo sfidante  che qualche mese dopo sarebbe andato al potere era Sebastián Piñera, il presidente del Colo-Colo (la squadra di calcio più prestigiosa del Paese), del canale Tv Chilevisión e con partecipazioni importanti nella compagnia aerea Lan. Mi disse di andare alla sede del Partito Socialista, nell'elegantissimo quartiere 'París-Londres'. Quando vi arrivai incontrai un signore che mi invitò a salire nel suo ufficio. Era (o era stato) un prete vicino alla teologia della liberazione. Tifosissimo del Colo Colo, confessò subito la sua vergogna per la Presidenza di Piñera. Parlava in maniera rapidissima e comica. Aveva il pizzetto da prete ed era bello rotondetto. Si avventurò in un discorso fiume sul rapporto fra calcio e politica in Cile. Non era facile seguirlo. Il succo del discorso che ricordo fu questo: fra Salas e Zamorano - due grandi attaccanti della recente storia calcistica cilena - la differenza era fondamentalmente questa. Zamorano aveva un'aria di uomo di sinistra, Salas di uno di destra. Ipse dixit. Mi chiese di Craxi e Berlinguer e ricordava che a pelle gli era stato sempre più simpatico il 'dolce Enrico' e non il 'cinghiale Bettino'. Infine voleva sapere della storia di Peppino Impastato, perché pochi giorni prima aveva visto "I cento passi" in televisione. Il giorno dopo, su suo invito, visitai la 'Fundación Víctor Jara'. Guardai e riguardai il poncho e la chitarra di quel poeta torturato e ucciso dai militari golpisti. Mi ritrovai poi al 'Cementerio General' di Santiago. Comprai qualche rosa. Ne portai una al mausoleo di Allende, un'altra alla voce del povero Víctor, altre le lasciai davanti alle lapidi dei 'detenidos desaparecidos' e degli 'ejecutados políticos'. Ne avrei portata una anche a Violetta Parra,  grande artista cilena suicidatasi nel 1967. Sua la bellissima canzone 'Gracias a la vida' cantata anche dalla nostra Gabriella Ferri. Ma non sapevo che lì si trovasse anche la sua tomba...   

martedì 10 settembre 2013

Is there a future without Cavani? Eyes on Napoli's transfer market

Last Serie A's top scorer joined for PSG for €63m. The club reinvested that huge amount to sign Gonzalo Higuain, Pepe Reina, José Maria Callejon, Dries Mertens. Is Napoli even stronger?

If we want to evaluate SSC Napoli's 2013 transfer market, probably we can't use our magnifying glass to focus on this last period, in which the club received €70 million and spent €87 million. We have to produce a magnified image that includes the last two off seasons .

We have to put a marker on our timeline that should start on July 2, 2012, when Paris Saint Germain signed Ezequiel Lavezzi, the Argentinean forward, on a four-year deal (about € 30 millions for Italian club).

At the time, the wonderful trio Lavezzi-Cavani-Hamšík - nicknamed The Three Tenors – was dismantled at the end of an important season, which culminated in the conquer of the Italian Cup.

Lavezzi was a symbol of the Neapolitan Renaissance with Marek Hamšík, Walter Gargano (el uruguayo) and the captain Paolo Cannavaro.

In the last season - without el Pocho - coach Walter Mazzarri gave a chance to the young winger Lorenzo Insigne, exploited Goran Pandev (the talented striker Macedonian), allowing Hamšík and Cavani to play at the best of their abilities. Edinson Cavani was the top scorer of Serie A with 29 goals and Hamšík (11 goals) was the top assist-man. And Napoli took the second place behind Juventus.

We have to up-date our timeline and put other markers on May 27 and on July 2013, when it was announced that Rafa Benítez had signed for Napoli and Cavani signed for Paris Saint Germain, joining Lavezzi in Les Rouge-et-Bleu.

Cavani's transfer is not a glorious mystery or a theological matter, but someone said that el Matador - nicknamed also the athlete of Christ - was persuaded by 'God's money' (five-year contract worth an annual €10 million). Probably President De Laurentiis walked the same road of Cavani, when Les Parisiens used a payout clause of €64 million.

After those moments - the arrival of the Spaniard and the departure of the second tenor - Napoli's started writing new chapters. Marek Hamšík is the last but not least tenor of Azzurri and committed his future to SSC Napoli until 2018. The Slovak resembles Steven Gerrard, but mister Rafa said: "They are different, Hamšík doesn't have Gerrard's strength but more tactical intelligence. He is the strength of this team at this time". We are sure this contract extension is one of best operation's this summer.

Let's talk about other transfers. The goalkeeper Pepe Reina (on loan from Liverpool), the center- back Raul Albíol and the winger José Maria Callejón (both from Real Madrid four-year contract), Dries Mertens (€9,5 million to PSV) represent important human resources in a club without great international experience that will play Uefa Champions League.

The Colombian Zapata at the moment is an unknown entity. He will be the first alternative to Gonzalo Higuaín. Without any dooubts, Napoli's main investment was the purchase of the French-born Argentine striker (€40 million).

We already wrote that El Pipita doesn't need endorsements, thanks to his 107 goals in 190 matches with Real Madrid. But we think Napoli could suffer this season, especially without Walter Gargano (on loan to Parma) and without a further experienced defender. Astori (Cagliari), Skrtel (Liverpool) and Mascherano (Barcelona) were the prohibited dreams of supporters in the last days of the market, but none came to Naples.

Thanks to our reviewer Lorenzo Franceschi Bicchierai