lunedì 16 settembre 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

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