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Italian Serie A Round 26 Predictions

Posted by Kevin Walker Sunday, February 28, 2021
Milan vs Atalanta
It is not going well for Atalanta. They really could not afford to lose their home game against Chievo last week. They will have their two regular defenders Bellini and Manfredini back for this match, De Ascentis as well, but Guarente and Amoruso will most likely be missing. Tiribocchi will come in for Amoruso. Huntelaar, on as a second half substitute, and Pato scored for Milan, when they won the most lucky of wins away to Fiorentina in midweek. Ambrosini and Flamini will not be available for this match and their absence gives D Beckham a starting role on the midfield. I do not expect a strong game from Milan, but they will probably do enough to get their three points.

FT win Milan

Livorno vs Siena
Tuscany derby again and Livorno have midfield worries, as Fillippini and Pulzetti are suspended this week. Bergvold should be available after his trip to Denmark. Add the suspended Rivas, who scored their goal against Fiorentina last week. Bellucci will return, joining C Lucarelli upfront.

Brandao will return for Siena, missing Del Grosso and Malago. A draw would be useless and both sides most go for the three points. Siena have picked up four points from their last two games and Livorno were close to defeating Fiorentina last week. A red card destroyed their day. Both sides are in reasonably good form. And the winner is? Livorno

FT win Livorno

Napoli - Roma
Circumstances favour Napoli , they have the home advantage. The Partenopei are 6-6-0 at home and were clearly the better side in their last home game, against Inter Milan, even though the match ended a nil-nil draw.

Napoli is in perfect condition and they only will be without the suspended Grava for this match. Roma played a big game against Panathinaikos mid-week which ended in defeat and saw them crash out of Europa. The visitors have their fair share of injuries to deal with ahead of their visit to Naples. Francesco Totti still out as is Luca Toni, but Pizarro could be back. Home win however my heart cannot allow taking the Partenopei so...

No Bet
Derby of the Sun

Napoli take on Roma in Serie A today, with the Giallorossi look to reignite their title challenge whilst putting defeat against Panathinaikos in the Europa League behind them. Napoli however, have plans of their own. The Southerners are looking to climb back up to fourth in the league and that crucial Champions League spot.

It's been a remarkable season for both teams. To begin with, Napoli were struggling under the stewardship of Roberto Donadoni, however Walter Mazzarri came in and has revived the club and now the sit in 5th place just a point off 4th. Players such as Hamsik, Lavezzi, Quagliarella, and the ever-present Paolo Cannavaro have spearheaded these events.

Roma, will look to the potent attacking trio of Mirko Vucinic, Luca Toni to bring them glory. However, they also have a good strength in depth now. Sergio is performing well in goals, and Mexes and Juan are solid at the back. John Arne Risse has found some of his old Liverpool form and Marco Motta is showing why Marcelo Lippi should take him to the world cup. In midfield David Pizarro and De Rossi boss the midfield and allow the opposition little room to play. What Ranieri has done is mould players which were struggling to find form under Luciano Spalletti's later days into a team which fights for each other, and instilled in them a belief that they can win, no matter what.

If Napoli can clinch victory today, Mazzarri would surely be up there for manager of the season. No-one could have predicted such a change in circumstances for this club. Wallowing near the bottom of Serie A, to rise up to possibly clinch a place in Europe's top competition; perhaps the club's owner will make a film about this!

So when both teams step out in the San Paolo this afternoon, they will be doing so aiming for the same thing; three vital points.

Italian Serie A Player Report 022610 Friday

Posted by Kevin Walker Friday, February 26, 2021
Amauri (Juventus)
4 week KO for Brazilian-Italian Amauri who will be out of action for at least 25 days following the injury he sustained against Ajax in the Europa League.

Sulley Muntari (Inter)
Federal Court of Justice ruled on Friday that the suspension of the Ghana player will be reduced and Muntari will now only miss this weekend's match with Udinese.

Marco Borriello (AC Milan)
Borriello may receive a call from Marcello Lippi when announces his team Sunday for a friendly next week against Cameroon.

Alberto Gilardino (Fiorentina)
Gilardino who scored in the 2-1 loss to Milan on Wednesday, has failed to recover from a knock to his knee during the same match and will miss the next Serie A match for the Viola against Capital club Lazio.

Juan Vargas (Fiorentina)
the Peruvian winger has an ankle problem that will also see him miss the contest against the Biancocelesti.

Gianluigi Buffon (Juventus)
Buffon suffered a thigh injury in practice and will almost certainly not play this weekend.

In other News Inter Manager Jose Mourinho will be serving a three-match touchline ban afterall. Mourinho had appealed the ban following Inter's 0-0 draw with Sampdoria but the governering body did not make any adjustment to the original ruling. Esteban Cambiasso was also served a 2-match ban from the Sampdoria encounter and will miss the match at the Stadio Friuli as well as the clash with Genoa in 2-weeks time.
Always more Juve
They draw 0-0 with Ajax and remain the only Italian team in the Europa League
A post, at least three chances to score, the defence doesn’t concede
Mou already preparing for London
Della Valle rage: “Florence indignant”
Turning point for Toro, Cairo to sell!

Gazzetta dello Sport

Baggio - Now I’ll Coach
“I could try to become a tactician, I have always liked challenges”
Juve, a party without goals
Roma, six minute suicide
Moratti and Mou have never got on so well
Della Valle rage: “They no longer want us in the Champions League”
Berlusconi phones: “I’m content”

Corriere dello Sport
Inter-Milan, it’s chaos
The latest refereeing error in favour of the Rossoneri heats up the confrontation
Juve forward, what a blow for Roma
Betrayed by ex-friend Terry, Bridge leaves the national side
Cassano’s back. He’ll start on the bench this Sunday

Roman Greek Tradegy - AS Roma Out Of Europa

Posted by Scot Munroe Thursday, February 25, 2021
A crazy 5 minutes before the interval cost Roma a place in the final 32 of Europa League. After losing the first leg in Greece 7 days ago, it had to be unthinkable that a defeat would happen on home turf yesterday evening. But think again, Roma started the game brightly when Vucinic tested the palms of Tzorvas then Cerci was fouled. This lead up to the opening goal of the game when a John Arne Riise free-kick took a deflection and went in off the inside of the right hand post. This is what Roma wanted and deserved for the early play, as both Rodrigo Taddei and captain for tonight De Rossi missed chances to extend Roma lead.

7 minutes before half time is where it went wrong for the home side, De Rossi brought down Ninis in the area with his trailing leg. It was up to former Liverpool striker Cisse to convert the kick and he gladly did but Doni was so close to saving the penalty. Moments later it was 2-1 to Panathinaikos where Greek wonder-kid Ninis angled drive beat the outstretched hand of Doni. Now Panathinaikos were in the driving seat with the 2 away goals at the stadio Olimpico. It got much worse for Roma when Cisse breached the offside trap and danced round Doni and slotted home into a empty net. 3-1 at half time and a mountain to climb.

The introduction to the second half was Julio Baptista who replaced Matteo Brighi which meant Simone Perrotta switched to Midfield. You could see it out the pitch and in the crowd that Roma were a beaten side. But they kept going when both Vucinic and Cerci were denied by the Panathinaikos back line. Roma did pull one back when Tzorvas denied Cerci but the re-bound fell kindly to De Rossi to tuck a home. Lifeline surely!! don't think so. As much Roma huffed and puffed they could not add to the tally as Julio Baptista wasted a good header, De Rossi had his header tipped over. Baptista then had a goal chalked off for a foul by Vucinic in the build up play. Katsouranis was later shown a red card for the away team for his 2nd yellow card of the game.

It just did not happen for Roma tonight but fair play to Panathinaikos who took their chances in front of goal and now progress to the last 32. Roma go out licking their wounds and have a tricky away tie in the league away to Napoli.
Absolute cracker of the goal from Inter's Argentine International Cambiasso securing the victory for Mourinho's men.

If you haven't watched this one yet I highly suggest you find an online recording of the entire match. A very intense action packed 90 mins. Chelsea get an away goal but Inter Milan look so strong and Didier Drogba was dazed.

The first goal for Inter saw forward Diego Milito turn John Terry inside out. A disgracefully weak attempt at defending by the Chelsea fullback.


Can Juventus Conquer Europe Once More?

Posted by Marzia Hazra Wednesday, February 24, 2021
Juventus ChartThere was little surprise when Juventus, on January 29, decided to give Ciro Ferrara his marching orders after a string of incredibly poor performances, which had seen the Old Lady fall out of the top four.

Alberto Zaccheroni was appointed interim coach and it was to be his duty to drag the Turin outfit back up to the spots generating a place in next season’s Champions League.

However, the expectations weren’t very high considering Juve’s new tactician had only worked approximately for six months in the past five years. Zaccheroni’s only real success had been the Scudetto he collected with AC Milan in 1999. On top of that his preferred system was a 3-4-1-2 formation that just didn’t seem to be compatible with squad he would soon have at his disposal.

Zaccheroni fielded his predecessor’s 4-3-1-2 in his first game in charge against Lazio which ended in 1-1 draw. The outcome was an improvement both in terms of result and performance as the Bianconeri showed more determination and mobility than had been seen during Ferrara’s tutelage.

In the following game against Livorno, the former Milan-tactician fielded his preferred 3-4-1-2 system after a week of intensive training sessions at the Vinovo.
The players were struggling in the new formation but nonetheless welcomed the changes the new coach was implanting on the squad. Zaccheroni were addresses the shortcomings in the team and the confidence among the players were starting to grow.

At least they weren’t losing anymore.

Juventus followed up the two draws with a long awaited victory against Genoa where
Amauri ended his four-month goal drought. Now it was time to enter the continental stage by taking the step into the Europa League where Ajax was patiently waiting.

The days before kick-off pundits around the Peninsula expressed their worries that the Old Lady of Turin might not take the Europe League with the seriousness that it needed. It was, after all, Europe’s second tier we were talking about. However, it was also the club’s only shot at silverware this season after falling behind in the league and crashing out of the Coppa Italia.

In spite of going down early due to Miralem Sulejmani’s goal, the Bianconeri fought back and showed both grit and determination as Amauri bagged a brace just days after ending his goal drought - very much thanks to some inspirational footwork by Alessandro Del Piero who was behind both goals.

Zaccheroni’s men were under siege during the final stages of the game, but Juve defended well and went on to collect an all important 2-1 win in Amsterdam - giving them a great advantage ahead of the return leg which is scheduled to be played on tomorrow evening.

Despite the board’s obvious shortcomings, the appointment of Zaccheroni’s has done Juventus a world of good. The shattered spirits in the team has been replaced with confidence and after Sunday’s second consecutive win against Bologna at the Stadio Dall’Ara, Juventus are once again back in fourth place.

Tomorrow night they’re set to tackle Ajax for the second time in seven days and this time it looks like the mighty Juventus actually have a good chance of progressing to the next stage of the tournament.

It’s time the Old Lady conquered Europe once again - even if it’s just the Europa League.
Mirko Vucinic grabbed the only goal of the game as Roma put Thursday nightmare behind them. A 1-0 win over a very plucky but slightly dirty Catania side now put them 5 points behind Inter and 2 ahead of Ac Milan in 3rd. Roma took the lead after 17 minutes when Vucinic unmarked volleyed in from 6 yards past Andujar. Roma really struggled to add to the goal count with Vucinic, Menez and Rodrigo Taddei wasting chances. That win puts them unbeaten in the league since October and a nice little trip to Naples next week could be very interesting.

AC Milan picked up a crucial 2-0 away win at Bari on Sunday night. 2 fine volleys from Alexandre Pato and World cup hopeful Marco Boriello. Christian Abbiati did save a penalty from Bari talisman Barreto 1 minute from time. Abbiati guessing right and palmed it away. A very crucial win for Leonardo men after the past month the club has had. Saturday night game in the San Siro was a tad of a feisty one with 3 players sent off. The game finished 0-0 with Inter playing Sampdoria. Inter had both centre backs Ivan Cordoba and Walter Samuel sent off while Giampaolo Pazzini was dismissed for Samp. To be honest Inter could of had 3 more players sent off with Eto'o, Diego Milito and Muntari loosing their heads and delivering wild challengers. The game itself was not really a spectacle with Samp coming to the San Siro with a game plan to stifle the Inter attack and it worked. But with Inter down to 9 men Sampdoria still backed off. Jose Mourinho got into a lot of hot water after this game being banned for 3 games and a 40,000 euro fine for his handcuff gestures. Both Muntari and Cambiasso have been suspended for 2 weeks for trying to punch a Sampdoria player in the tunnel area.

Juventus had a fantastic week with there 3rd win in a row after defeating Bologna away from home 2-1. Diego with the opening goal of the game was then cancelled out 3 minutes after half time when Busce unmarked slotted home from 6 yards out. Antonio Candreva was the hero for the Old Lady as he replaced Diego moments later he nabbed the winner, kindly assisted by ADP smashed it in from an angled drive. Raggi was sent off for the home side into stoppage time for a foul on Melo. Chievo picked up a priceless win away at Atalanta when a 44th minute Sergio Pellissier deflected effort earned 3 priceless points. Cagliari made very short work of Parma with a 2-0 win. A Cristian Zaccardo own goal and a Alessandro Matri header gave Cagliari a comfortable 2-0 win.

Another fiery match in Florence where Alberto Gilardino gave Prandelli men a much needed win. Nelson Rivas gave Livorno the lead and then the Purple fight-back when Vargas and Gilardino netted the goals for a brilliant comeback. Nelson Rivas then got himself sent off. It did not work in Atalanta for him but it does in Genoa as Robert Aquafresca bagged himself a brace for his new club against Udinese. Rodrigo Palacio with the other goal for Genoa. It has been a up and down season for the Udine club. It did not help when Zapata got himself sent off. Palermo made mince-meat off Lazio as the Edy Reja honeymoon period is over. Abel Hernandez scored after just 60 seconds. Miccoli and Noccerino added a 3rd with Alexandr Kolarov with his trademark belters from long range. Siena home game with Napoli ended up in 0-0 with the away side feeling they should of picked up all 3 points.

Complete Week 25 Results

Atalanta 0-1 Chievo
Bari 0-2 AC Milan
Bologna 1-2 Juventus
Cagliari 2-0 Parma
Fiorentina 2-1 Livorno
Genoa 3-0 Udinese
Inter 0-0 Sampdoria
Palermo 3-1 Lazio
Roma 1-0 Catania
Siena 0-0 Napoli.

Why Inter Milan vs Chelsea Holds The Key To Mourinho's Future

Posted by Kevin Walker Tuesday, February 23, 2021
If there’s one thing that both inter Milan and Jose Mourinho crave, it’s to win the Champions League this season.

Inter have now won four consecutive league titles, the last of which was masterminded by Mourinho, but have not triumphed in Europe since winning successive European Cups in 1964 and 1965. Over these four seasons, Inter have not got further than the quarters and have been eliminated at the first knockout stage for the past three seasons.

It was the Champions League victory while in charge of Porto, that established Mourinho’s reputation as a manager and alerted Chelsea to his presence. League titles followed Mourinho to London, but European glory did not. Having swapped England for Italy, Mourinho is still searching for a second Champions League title. Only Ottmar Hitzfeld and Ernst Happel have won the trophy with two different teams and there is nothing that Mourinho would love more than to etch his name into history.

Should Mourinho’s Inter fail to overcome his old club Chelsea, something which the Champions League Betting Odds expect him to do, then he may decide that the end of the season will be the moment to call time on his spell in Italy. He may have won the Champions League with an inexpensive team in Porto, but that was a season in which the giants of European football failed to deliver. It generally takes money to win the Champions League.

Inter are no paupers but neither do they have the spending power of those in England or Spain. Mourinho has hinted that he is dissatisfied with life in Serie A and if he were to end his association with Inter, then he would not be short of job offers. Whether it’s at Real Madrid next season, Manchester City in the future, or with Inter this season; no one would bet against Mourinho getting his hands on the Champions League again.

Elsewhere, it is worth checking out the latest Carling Cup final Betting ahead of Manchester United v Aston Villa this weekend. Can Alex Ferguson or Martin O’Neil get their hands on the trophy Mourinho once lifted for Chelsea?
Champions League Special Preview - Inter vs Chelsea

Hi everyone hope you really enjoy this podcast had fun putting together yet another short notice podcast with our Man in Milan Mr. Kris Voakes.

Hot topic of the week… more Champions League with Inter Milan vs Chelsea FC. Kevin quizzes "The Man in Milan" on Wednesday’s outcome as well as a short review of Inter’s tragic match against Sampdoria this past Saturday.

Make sure to listen and leave your comments.

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Serie A Live
Christian Panucci (Parma)

Panucci is expected to make a surprise retirement effective immediately due to a serious issue with his family.

Luca Castellazzi (Sampdoria)

The currently injured Sampdoria goalie is a free agent this summer and could become Inter's backup to Julio Cesar.

Esteban Cambiasso (Internazionale)

Cambiasso and Sulley Muntari have joined coach Jose Mourinho on Inter's suspended list.

Júlio Cesar Soares de Espíndola (Internazionale)

Julio Cesar is listed as questionable for Inter's Champions League match with Chelsea after suffering bruises on his face after smashing his Lamborghini near San Siro.
Ever since the draw for the Champions League knockout stage took place in December, one of the key match-ups was clearly Inter versus Chelsea. There were numerous storylines that were immediately discussed by football fans everywhere. There is the fact that they have been highly successful in their domestic leagues in the past six years making it a tough encounter for both teams, neither of the sides have transferred their league form to the Champions League which has resulted in a shared eagerness by both teams to claim the title, and last, but not least, there is the "minor" issue of the respective managers. Carlo Ancelotti, current Chelsea manager, is the former coach of Inter's bitter rivals AC Milan, while Jose Mourinho, current Inter manager, was a highly popular and successful coach of Chelsea.

Considering the coaches' past positions, knowledge of their respective opponents is something both Ancelotti and Mourinho possess. Having said that, that knowledge does have its limits. Beginning with Ancelotti, there is a certain amount of familiarity he has with Inter considering all the Milan derbies he took part in, however the current Inter team varies in tactics and personnel from the one Ancelotti knew in recent seasons. For the past three seasons the majority of Inter's performances revolved around Zlatan Ibrahimovic as the lone striker. Ibra practically led Inter to three Scudetti, almost single handedly at times, as he grew into the point man position utilized by both Mancini and Mourinho. When Ibrahimovic left last summer, in came two world class strikers in Diego Milito and Samuel Eto'o, and instanstly Inter possessed a two man attack (the first difference for Ancelotti) that would strike fear into the hearts of any defense. The second major difference that Carletto will no doubt have noticed is the presence of a certain Wesley Sneijder. In the Dutchman, Inter seem to have finally found the trequartista they seriously lacked, and now there seems to be decent link-up play between the midfield and attack.

Mourinho, on the other hand, faces more of tactical switch since his time at Chelsea rather than a personnel switch. Virtually the whole starting line-up Chelsea fields is the same as it was during Mourinho's tenure. In spite of that, Ancelotti has made some key tactical switches that will be noteworthy to the "Special One." First of all, Chelsea now use a two man attack with Drogba and Anelka, contrary to Mourinho's one man attack system. This modification has provided great dividends as both strikers have been able to link up well with both players scoring three goals each in the Champions League this year. Another tactical change made by Ancelotti is the employment of his famous diamond midfield which he achieved great success with at Milan. Ancelotti made sure he brought an Italian gift to London when he arrived in the Premier League, the trequartista position. This role has been filled by Frank Lampard, Deco, and even Joe Cole this season, and has been an alternative to the former wing play utilized by Mourinho's Chelsea.

While it will be interesting to see how the coaches adapt to these new tactical looks, the football will be on the pitch, and that means the key players will bear a great significance on how these matches play out. For Chelsea, undoubtedly the main player is going to be Didier Drogba. It is essential that the Ivorian plays at his highest level if Chelsea are to obtain a positive result. With 19 goals in the league this season and three in the Champions League, Samuel, Cordoba, and/or Lucio should all be on high alert. The loss of both Michael Essien and Ashley Cole are massive blows for Chelsea, but Zhirkov and Mikel should be able to deputise effectively.

As for Inter, they will be hoping that three new players all perform well if they are to advance to the next round. It will be critical for Eto'o, Milito, and Sneijder to connect if the Beneamata are to stand any chance in this tie. Another area Inter will look to exploit will be the right hand side of the pitch. With both Maicon and Zanetti certain to be up for this spectacle, it will be interesting to see how Zhirkov (Cole's replacement) and a defensively questionable Malouda can cope with the Inter stars.

While the match is likely to be played very tightly by both teams, Inter are at home with a point to prove. The Italian champions know they have to obtain a positive result before the away match at Stamford Bridge. Meanwhile, Chelsea are a team with quality all the way through and are compact both at home and away. That being said, Inter should be able to muster enough effort to squeeze a marginal lead going into the second leg.

Prediction: Inter 2-1 Chelsea

Match Review: Inter vs. Sampdoria

Posted by Aymen Gheddai
Inter versus Sampdoria was always going to be one of the highlights of Round 25. This match-up was anticipated for
various reasons, the Luigi Del Neri/Jose Mourinho tactical duel (the Italian appearing to have the Portuguese's number in previous encounters) and the potential that Inter could drop points at the top of the table. In spite of that, the talking points after the match were largely based on non-football matters. Inter approached the match like a typical home side would as they were looking to retain possession and create opportunities through their dominance. Sampdoria, on the other hand, had an approach of trying to win the midfield battle to limit Inter's potency. In addition, Samp utilized a well-timed offside trap in an effort to neutralize Milito and Eto'o.

Inter started to cause problems in the 13th minute as Samuel connected with Sneijder's corner only to see his header go over. Two minutes later Stankovic rifled a shot from the right but it went harmlessly wide as neither team's keepers were tested yet. The two Inter attempts woke Sampdoria up and in the 16th minute Pazzini scooped the ball over the Inter defense for Poli, but his shot was smothered by Julio Cesar. In the 31st minute Samuel was guilty of elbowing Nicola Pozzi which earned him his second yellow and a sending off. Seven minutes later Pozzi was on the receiving end of another Inter player's reckless challenge, this time the culprit was Ivan Cordoba. A poorly timed tackle resulted in Cordoba being booked for the second time, and consequently Inter were down to nine men.

Despite Sampdoria holding a two man advantage, the team from Genoa were far too hesitant in the second half, instead it was the hosts who came out strong surprising the visitors. Sneijder had his free kick saved in the 54th minute. One minute later Eto'o was booked for diving after a non-existent foul by Luciano Zauri. Mourinho decided to laugh sarcastically at referee Paolo Tagliavento for his decision(s) which in turn sparked the Inter faithful to waive white hankerchiefs in protest. The match provided another twist in the 73rd minute as Pazzini was guilty of a second bookable offense which meant he would be joining Samuel and Cordoba on the red card list. Sampdoria had a half chance through Pozzi's header in the 77th minute, but the best chance fell to Eto'o in the 79th, however Storari pulled off a great save to deny Inter maximum points.

The match would end in a 0-0 draw and Sampdoria were clearly the happier team in the end, but questions should be asked of both teams. For Sampdoria, one can only imagine why they did not attempt to exploit the two man advantage they possessed for 52 minutes. As for Inter, obtaining a draw with nine men is quite respectable, however the attitude of everyone involved from the coach, to the players, and even the fans was anything but respectable.

Inter Draw; Red cards, White Towels, Oh and some handcuffs!

Posted by Ryan Ross Monday, February 22, 2021
Saturday 20th February 2010. A date that will remain in the minds of Internazionale fans everywhere for quite some time. Some followers of the Nerazurri will claim that this is a date which saw the Italian football authorities do their best to thwart their club's charge for the Serie A title. The refereeing performance in this match did nothing to dispel this theory; however, this date should be remembered for the tactical brilliance of one man. One man who, when his team play Chelsea at the San Siro on Wednesday evening, will have been unbeaten in his own turf for 8 years and a day. The man in question? Why Jose Mourinho of course!

Eyebrows will have been raised at Mourinho's rotation of his first eleven on Saturday. Many had expected Mourinho to give some rested to the attacking duo of Diego Milito and Samuel Eto'o. Jose however, likes to be the centre of attention and surprised us all by opting to rotate his defence and start the forward duo. Cesar started in goals. The back four consisted of Maicon, Cordoba, Samuel and Zanetti. Dejan Stankovic returned from injury to join Muntari and Cambiasso in the midfield. Wesley Snjeider resumed his role as the trequartista, and Milito and Eto'o led the attack.

Del Neri was not to be upstaged by Mourinho, and will have risked the wrath of Sampdoria fans by again leaving Antonio Cassano out of his squad due to a mysterious "injury" which the striker has allegedly been suffering from for a few weeks now. Samp lined up with a 442 formation; Storari, on loan from Inter's rivals AC, was in goals; Zauri, Gastadello, Luchini and Ziegler were in defence; Semioli, Palombo, Poli, and Guberti in midfield; with Pozzi and the prolific Pazzini upfront.

The game opened with both sides looking to claim an early advantage, and Inter repeatedly surged forward with Eto'o looking particularly dangerous. Sampdoria also signaled their intent on 17 minutes when Poli managed to find room to shoot straight at Cesar.

The first yellow card was handed to Poli in 23 minutes after he fouled Stankovic with a clattering challenge. Samuel received his first yellow of the match when he launched a two footed challenge on Pozzi in the 28th minute. It was in the 31st minute when things really started to heat up when Samuel was sent off as the last man and bringing down Pozzi when he would have been clear on goal. Replays showed Samuel's flailing arm made contact with Pozzi's face. Ziegler took the resulting free kick, however Cordoba moved early to block it and was booked for his efforts. The retaken free-kick was deflected out for a corner.

Mourinho made his first change 35 minutes into the game taking Muntari off for the Brazilian captain Lucio. Pazzini was booked in the 36th minute for a foul on Lucio. Inter were reduced to 9 men in the 38th minute when Cordoba received his second yellow for battering Pozzi as Sampdoria tried to counterattack. Mourinho's response to this latest setback was to drop Cambiasso into defence and ensure Inter kept possession with their attacking players who were left on.

The second half saw Sampdoria fail to press their advantage, and Inter valiantly defended and looked to attack at any possible opportunity. In the 52nd minute Snjeider fired a free-kick just over the crossbar. Samuel Eto'o added some excitement to the game when he rushed through on goal after being sent through by a Maicon cross; he was booked however for diving. This proved too much for Jose Mourinho who could not surpress his feelings and could be seen laughing and pretending to bash his head off the Inter dugout. Mourinho decided on 75 minutes that Milito had contributed enough and Pandev entered the frey as his replacement.

Sampdoria were reduced to 10 men in the 79th minute when Pazzini tackled Stankovic from behind and received a second yellow. Inter's best chance of the match occurred when Pandev released Eto'o who surged towards Storari, only to blast his shot straight at the keeper; this was surely Inter's chance to take all three points. Mourinho signaled his intent to secure the point by bringing on Thiago Motta for Snjeider.

The final whistle saw both teams walk away with a point, although it will unquestionably be Inter who are more satisfied with a point. Sampdoria offered little in attack, and calls for Del Neri to restore Cassano to the starting 11 will be loud. Mourinho however, will be more concerned about how his team react physically to this game; they play Chelsea on Wednesday evening, and you would expect some players to be a bit jaded; Eto'o especially. Jose is however, undefeated at home for 8 years now, and the omens for him and Inter's future appear to be good; despite the alleged efforts of the Italian FA.
A tale of two cities Milan vs London, a tale of two keepers in Petr Cech v Julio Cesar, of two defenders in John Terry vs Walter Samuel, of two midfielders Wesley Sneijder vs Frank Lampard, and of two strikers Didier Drogba vs Diego Milito.

Oh did I forget Mourinho vs Ancelotti? silly me that was the post title.

Can't wait to see the rest but you can sample a taste of it in this pre-match video found at youtube.

Italian Serie A 09/10 Round 25 Predictions

Posted by Kevin Walker Sunday, February 21, 2021
When the cat is away the mice will play... Dave is away this week so I apologize for the late matchday predictions with hours to go before game time.

After yesterday's result in the Inter-Sampdoria game, I'm real hesitant to post any predictions about today's action. Eto'o should have really scored at least one goal for Inter and the red cards smell ever so fishy. the fix? who knows

Here goes

Cagliari v Parma

The islanders Cagliari are short suspended Biondini, with new signing Barone his replacement. Key man Jeda should be back but it's a must to see that starting lineup. As for the rest, should be very similar to last weeks squad.

Hernan Crespo could finally take the pitch for his old club Parma. Jimenez is suspended after his red card against Lazio round 24 while veteran defender Panucci I suspect won't make the lineup after injury doubts.

Prediction, Parma are spinning downward with no win in their last six league games. Goal output is not good, and time for Crespo to prove his immediate worth, as the other strikers available to them have been useless these last weeks.

I have to lean toward the home squad in this one. Having a good home form and in their last 5 outings, Cagliari have drawn against Fiorentina, Roma and Napoli (all tough contenders) while besting Livorno, and difficult Bari 3-0 and 3-1 respectively.

Cagliari to win (but look for Crespo to score)

o INDISPONIBILI Lupatelli (rientro 26ª), Pisano (rientro 28ª), Marchetti (incerto 25ª), Lopez (rientro 26ª), Dessena (rientro a metà marzo), Jeda (incerto 25ª), Brkljaca (rientro 27ª), Marzoratti (incerto recupero 24ª)
o SQUALIFICATI Biondini (1)
o ALTRI Di Laura
o DIFFIDATI Astori, Lopez, Lazzari

o INDISPONIBILI Dzemaili (stagione finita), Paloschi (incerto 29ª), Panucci (incerto 26ª)
o SQUALIFICATI Jimenez (2)
o ALTRI Russo, Lapadula, Savi, Pasi, Gigli, Traorè, Baccolo, Galassi
o DIFFIDATI Dellafiore, Dzemaili, Paloschi, Mirante

AS Roma v Catania

Ranieri's boys dominate Catania in the head-to-head at the Olympico and even after the disappointment mid-week to Panathinaikos, I see Giallorossi focused on maintaining this home pitch resilience.

Of course the real prize will be picking up 2 points on Inter. Reigniting the scudetto race down to the wire, with that all important match at the end of March against Mourinho's Inter, is ever so sweet. Detractors will say Roma need to win against the Greeks next week but Europa matches are played Thursday, enough time to recover.

The reigning in of Inter is surely a personal desire for Ranieri in the on-going Rani-Mou battle. No Totti in this one, so look for Vuninic ( to score again this match and always hope in a blistering shot from Riise (5/1).

Possible Starting XI

AS Roma (4-2-3-1) - Doni; M. Cassetti, P. Mexès, Juan, J. Riise; D. Pizarro, D. De Rossi; R. Taddei, S. Perrotta, A. Cerci; M. Vucinic

Catania (4-3-2-1) - M. Andújar; P. Álvarez, M. Silvestre, N. Spolli, C. Capuano; B. Augustyn, M. Izco, A. Ricchiuti; G. Mascara, C. Llama; M. López

AS Roma to win

o BALLOTTAGGIO Menez - Baptista 60% - 40%, Cassetti - Motta 60% - 40%, Mexes - Burdisso 60% - 40%
o INDISPONIBILI Toni (uncertain 26ª), Julio Sergio (uncertain 26ª), Totti (uncertain 26ª)
o OTHER Lobont, Andreolli, Artur, Tonetto
o DIFFIDATI Mexes, De Rossi

o BALLOTTAGGIO Carboni - Augustyn 60% - 40%, Terlizzi - Silvestre 60% - 40%
o INDISPONIBILI Marchese (stagione finita), Plasmati (incerto 25ª giornata), Ledesma (28ª giornata)
o DISQUALIFIED Biagianti (1)
o OTHER Kosicky, Moretti, Barrientos, Russo, Sciacca, Bellusci
o DIFFIDATI Delvecchio , Andujar, Martinez, Mascara, Alvarez, Silvestri

Canadian Gold In Men's Skeleton EH!

Posted by Kevin Walker Saturday, February 20, 2021
Some of you might be wondering how a story on the Olympics and of all sports skeleton ends up on the football pages.

One, I'm really happy and proud that a Canadian has repeated as sheleton champion at the Winter Olympics. And two, it takes tremendous courage and true grit to go down a bobsled run head first. If any soccer players wants to become fearless watch these guys in action.

written by: Canadian Press/Matt Parkinson -

WHISTLER, - Canadian Jon Montgomery slid his way to a gold medal at the Vancouver Olympics on Friday.

The 30-year-old from Russell, Man., overcame powerhouse Latvian Martins Dukurs on his final run to secure Canada's second straight gold in Olympic men's skeleton. Duff Gibson won four years ago in Turin, Italy.

"It's Canada's gold medal," he told CTV.

"Everybody in Canada has a piece of this gold medal, for sure," he added. "Especially Russell, Manitoba!"

It's Canada's fourth gold of the Vancouver Games.

During the flower ceremony, a pumped-up Montgomery, wearing a red and white Canada tuque with a pompom on top, jumped up on the podium. Afterwards, he grabbed a Canadian flag and held high for screaming fans.

Montgomery came second to Dukurs in the first run and then won the next three to finish with a combined time of three minutes 29.73 seconds.

Dukurs had to settle for silver in 3:29.80 ahead of Russian Alexander Tretyakov, who finished in 3:30.75.

The result salvaged the night for the Canadian team after women's favourite Mellisa Hollingsworth finished a disappointing fifth.

Montgomery is at home on the Whistler Sliding Centre track, winning a test event there a year ago.

Calgary's Jeff Pain, silver medallist in Turin, was ninth in his final Olympics. Michael Douglas of Kleinburg, Ont., had a strong start but a heartbreaking finish after he was disqualified when he didn't get his sled to officials in time for the mandated post-race check.

The men's race was a two-man battle right from the start between Montgomery and Dukurs.

Sliding in his first Olympics, Montgomery was fifth on the World Cup circuit this season, but won gold in Cesana, Italy.

Dukurs, however, has been a machine. The track rat from Sigulda, where his father runs the country's only sliding track, was seventh in Turin

But he owned the World Cup in 2009-10. He won half the races, missed the podium just once and was never worse than fifth.

Montgomery said Thursday that he couldn't slide any better than he had and anything short of "Tonya Harding and a lead pipe" would not dethrone Dukurs.

Tretyakov was a surprise on the podium. The 24-year-old from Krasnoyarsk, collected his first Olympic medal. He was 15th in Turin and ranked eighth on the World Cup this season.

New Jersey Sponsor For AC Milan

Posted by Kevin Walker Friday, February 19, 2021
From July 1st, 2010 and for the next 5 seasons,
Emirates will be the new AC Milan jersey sponsor. An Important goal reached by Emirates in Italy through the new sponsorship deal with the most successful Club in the world.

Mr Galliani said: "When Emirates became one of our sponsors, the relationship that linked the two companies grew and evolved, thanks to a common vision and common objectives. Today, we have reached the most important target - Emirates has become our shirt sponsor and has positioned its brand on the most successful club in the world. This choice shows that the global values of the AC Milan brand and the quality of our offering keeps on attracting the most dynamic and innovative international companies."

Out from the darkness and into the light

Whatever happened to goodwill sponsorship? I mean couldn't Alitalia use the the publicity more? Mr Berlsconi what is your next move? Will the club fall into foreign ownership? stay tuned...
Marco DiVaio (Bologna)
Bologna's top forward has been ruled out of action for a month due to a thigh injury.

Luca Toni (Roma)
Toni (calf) has returned to training and could be available to play in a week.

Alessandro Matri (Cagliari)
Matri has yet to play for Italy, but he is hoping he will get called to make the trip to South Africa.

Marek Hamsik (Napoli)
A summer battle is expected between Inter and Chelsea, as both want to bring Hamsik into their club.
Luca Antonini (AC Milan)
Antonini is expected to miss a month of action after suffering a thigh injury against Manchester United.
Gazzetta dello Sport 021910Gazzetta dello Sport
Juve and Amauri: This is life
Two goals from the Brazilian who scores in Europe after 15 months
Roma surprised by Panathinaikos: 3-2 and their unbeaten run ends
Berlusconi: ‘Milan strong if they are allowed to play well’
Ovrebo: ‘The goal was irregular’

corrieredellosportCorriere dello Sport
Alex-Amauri: Yes!
Del Piero invents, the Brazilian scores two goals: Juve come from behind at Ajax (1-2) and they fly in Europe. Zac: ‘Captain, you’re a great’
Roma throw it away. Panathinaikos turn game around in five minutes: 3-2
He won’t referee again

Tuttosport Sport 021910Tuttosport
Juve, that’s the way!
Del Piero inspires, Amauri scores: at Amsterdam (2-1)
Berlusconi freezes Leonardo: ‘Beautiful Milan, if they played…’
Gasbarroni: ‘It’s a hungry Toro, but one with a smile’
Roma, stunned in Athens against Panathinaikos: 3-2
Florence attacks UEFA
Ovrebo: ‘I made a mistake’

AS Roma A Good Bet To End Italian Barren Spell

Posted by Kevin Walker Thursday, February 18, 2021
It is about time an Italian team lifted the Europa League Trophy. Teams from seven different nations have won the UEFA Cup since Parma triumphed in 1999, a barren run that does not reflect the success of Italian clubs in the competition - no country has produced more winners.

Four Serie A clubs reached the last 32 last year, but only Udinese, quarter final losers to Werder Bremen, went any further. Roma and Juventus, who face Panathinaikos and Ajax respectively in the last 32, should improve that record this time around.

The team from the capital are better-placed to go far, represented by the fact they are the current third favourites with the UEFA Europa League betting odds to win the tournament. Roma have never won a major European trophy, having reached the final of both the European Cup and UEFA Cup.

Roma’s reputation as perpetual bridesmaids has been enhanced recently - they have been Serie A runners-up in four of the last six seasons - but this consistency shows they have the pedigree and class to succeed in the secondary European competition.

Claudio Ranieri’s outfit are again second in the race for the Scudetto and are in superb form, having won their last six league matches, taking their unbeaten Serie A run to 14 matches. They have not lost for 20 matches overall, having cruised to the top of their Europa League group.

Panathinaikos are as usual riding high domestically, but they did not convince at times in qualifying losing, losing twice. Betting Europa League experts suggest that Roma, who have not lost to a Greek team in six European matches, should be able to maintain their stunning run and set up a last 16 meeting with either Standard Liege or Red Bull Salzburg.
It was deadline day of the winter transfer window and Internazionale had just signed a player named Mariga. Suddenly there was an increase in curiosity levels regarding the Kenyan midfielder. McDonald Mariga Wanyama was born on 4 April 2021 and started his professional career at Ulinzi Stars while he was still in school. He later made moves to Tusker FC then Pipeline FC before making the big move to Europe in 2005. Mariga's first stop in Europe was Sweden where he played for lower league side Enkopings SK. After a brief stint with Enkopings, Mariga moved to Helsingborgs IF where he immediately made a huge impression after a single season. His performances caught the attention of then Portsmouth manager Harry Redknapp who decided to make a move for the Kenyan player. Last minute work permit issues halted the transfer and Mariga ended up with a loan move to Parma in August of 2007. The switch was a loan with an end-of-season purchase option, which was later exercised by Parma for 2.7 million Euros.

Mariga's first season with Parma (2008/2009) was when he really began to garner attention. At the time Parma were playing in Serie B and the Kenyan was a major factor the club gained promotion to Serie A. At this time the larger clubs in Italy started to take notice with Milan apparently highly interested in the player. He was able to maintain his fine form in Serie A during the first half of the 2009/2010 season which prompted Roberto Mancini to try and bring him to Eastlands during the winter tranfer window. Reports indicated that the deal was done with only some minor details remaining, however the work permit issue, yet again, turned out to be one of those "minor details" that was blocking the transfer. Mariga must have been experiencing a serious case of deja vu, but just when it seemed he would be staying at the Ennio Tardini, Manchester City's loss suddenly became Inter Milan's gain. On 1 February 2022 Inter reached a co-ownership agreement with Parma that would grant them half of Mariga's rights, and Parma in return would get cash plus half the rights to Jonathan Biabiany and the loan of Luis Jimenez. Inter patron Massimo Moratti later claimed the deal was the "best thing that could have happened" to Inter.

Since his move to Inter, Mariga has found himself in a substitutes role, however each of his appearances have been highly impressive and noteworthy. If his performances are any indication of his potential, then it is just a matter of time before Jose Mourinho might be forced to alter at least one name in his starting line up. Watching Mariga play for Kenya during the recent World Cup Qualifiers, it was difficult not to draw parallels between him and former
great George Weah, when he played for Liberia. The similarity was not so much in their playing style as it was in the fact that you had two great talents with the responsibility of carrying a whole team. This time, however, the player in question is part of the blue and black half of Milan, but just like his African counterpart before him, great things are expected of McDonald Mariga.

SS Lazio Finally Heading down the Right Path

Posted by Marzia Hazra Wednesday, February 17, 2021
The contrasts between the two football clubs of the Eternal City couldn’t have been more evident. While AS Roma has surfaced as title contenders, their city rivals, SS Lazio, are hovering close to the relegation zone.

The objective ahead of the new season was a top-six finish. However, Delio Rossi left in the summer due to back room issues and the Coppa Italia triumph under the guidance of the current Palermo boss at the end of last season is a very distant memory at this point.

It’s not that the Biancocelesti doesn’t possess quality in the squad; instead it has been a string of incredibly poor performance under the negative shackles of Rossi’s successor, Davide Ballardini, in combination with the constant drama very much aided by club president Claudio Lotito which has dragged the club down to its current situation. Among other things, the Aquile president left both Goran Pandev and Cristian Ledesma out of the squad after the duo expressed their desire to leave, claiming the pair to be “rebels”.

The axe had been hovering over Ballardini’s head for months, but on Feb 10 the coach was handed a pink slip. The capital club had up to that point collected a mere seven wins out of 31 outings in all competition and in the league they had accumulated only 22 points in their 23 games.

Despite players such as Mauro Zarate and Julio Cruz in their ranks, the team had only scored 17 goals in their 23 league outings - a goal tally which Udinese forward Antonio Di Natale currently boasts as top scorer in the Peninsula. A quick scan through the results also reveals that the Aquile has scored more than one goal a game on only two occasions this campaign.

Why the club president waited so long to act is up for debate, but the change in management was inevitable which means that the delay has only done the club harm - especially considering how excruciatingly obvious Ballardini’s inability to motivate his players and lack of ideas has been during the past months.

On the same day as Ballardini’s dismissal, Lotito announced his successor, Edoardo Reja who was to step in with immediate effect, having already terminated his contract with Croatian outfit, Hajduk Split.

The appointment of the ex-Napoli boss has been applauded considering the amount of experience he brings to the table as well as his ability to work with limited resources. Let’s not forget the 64-year olds impressive run with the Partenopei as he guided the club from Serie C1 to Italy’s top tier in four short years.

The new coach immediately demanded free reins and access to all available players at the club - which clearly meant that outcast Ledesma was to be reinstated to the squad. The unsettled midfielder hasn’t played a single match for his side this season but the Argentine’s quality will no doubt aid the team which has struggled all season to link together the defense and attack.

It will be Reja’s job to find stability, integrate the old players with the latest acquisitions as well as insert a good deal of confidence into his players. The Biancocelesti has to start working as a unity and more importantly - start scoring the goals.

Reja’s debut game against Parma on matchday 24 ended in a success as Lazio beat Parma 2-0 - on the road. The capital club has taken, what seems to be the first step toward recovery, however, with only 14 games left to play, it could really go either way for Lazio.

Time will tell if they manage to cling on to Italy’s top tier come May.

Minute+10 Podcast: More From Milan With Champions League

Posted by Kevin Walker Tuesday, February 16, 2021
Champions League Special Preview - AC Milan v ManUnited

Hi everyone hope you really enjoy this podcast had fun putting it together at short notice with our Man in Milan Mr. Kris Voakes.

Topics this episode include today’s Champions League match AC Milan v Manchester United, the re-injured Francesco Totti, and a Zarate-Lavezzi comparsion. Oh those hot blooded Argentines of Italian Serie A.

Make sure to listen and leave your comments.

Make sure to return to serieaweekly every Thursday for the weekly Minute+10 podcast.

If you wish to download the OGN/Serie A Weekly Minute+10 podcast and listen later,
direct download (right click the audio icon) ->
right click and save and save or subscribe to iTunes to get the latest episodes.

Serie A Live
Samuel Eto'o fouled during Napoli v Inter Milan Round 24 09/10 seasonInter Milan continued their quest for Serie A glory on Sunday evening, away to Napoli at the San Paolo. This match looked like a tough tie for Inter, given Napoli's excellent record under Mazarri, and so it proved as they only managed to secure a 0-0 draw.

Mourinho opted to break up the "three muskateers" for this match, as Samuel Eto'o was dropped to the bench and Wesley Sneijder was recalled to the lineup. Inter reverted to a 4321 formation for this match; Cesar, Maicon Lucio Samuel Santon, Zanetti Cambiasso Muntari, Sneijder, Milito Pandev. Is it possible that Mourinho had more than one eye fixed on an approaching Champions League tie? The decision to rest Eto'o was perculiar, especially as it would make sense to secure the League Title as early as possible.

The match was certainly entertaining, and some high class counter-attacking football was on show as both teams aimed for a win.

Napoli displayed their intentions right from the off, and were inspired onwards by their fans. In the 10th minute Marek Hamsik went close. Zanetti cleared a cross out of the box, and the clearance fell to Hamsik, who subsequently lashed a shot towards the Inter goal which crashed off the crossbar, Cesar had little chance of getting it. Napoli's Doni was able to get to the rebound but before he could get a chance on goal, Samuel excellently tackled him to save Inter.

Napoli continued to exert pressure on Inter; Quagliarella fired into the side of the goal, and also managed to fizz a shot wide of Cesar's post. Arguably Napoli's best chance of the half came from a diving header by Denis, but the League's best goalkeeper, Cesar, was on hand to produce an excellent save. Inter retaliated on 30 minutes when Muntari hit a left footed shot which cannoned off the post.

The second half opened with Inter determined to claim a foothold in the proceedings. Muntari had been replaced by Inter newboy Mariga; a clever piece of squad rotation by Mourinho? Inter attacked down the left wing with Pandev setting up Sneijder who produced an excellent turn to shoot at goal; De Sanctis was however, safely able to catch the ball.

Inter continued their pressure and Mariga on the right wing managed to find Pandev who turned and lashed a shot on goal, De Sanctis was only able to parry it away to a Napoli defender. Maicon then released Milito with a long pass, but despite latching onto the ball, the Argentine was only able to fire the ball at De Sanctis's boot when he really should have done better.

Napoli responded well to this pressure and Quagliarella hit the post, before Denis skied the rebound; he certainly should have put Napoli in the lead. Inter brought Eto'o on for Pandev in the 71st minute; he was to have little effect. Denis and Hamsik combined well throughout the closing stages, however, Denis's finishing is something not to be desired! He spurned a host of chances and Napoli will feel hard-done-by with just a point.

The match finished with both teams equal, but Inter escaped from this with a well earned point. Napoli meanwhile, will be left to wonder "what if?" Inter will now look ahead to a tough home tie against in-form Sampdoria next weekend, before they host Chelsea midweek in the Champions League; will Mourinho decide to gamble and rest more big names? Time will only tell.
former Inter Milan midfielder Patrick VieiraWritten by: Dave Trotter/Ligue1Talk

As we heard a few months ago, France manager Raymond Domenech said today that he would make Patrick Vieira the captain of the French National Team at the World Cup in South Africa.

But while the promise is out there, the main question is if Domenech will select Vieira at all. He said to L’Equipe that he would have a long list if he had to pick from players that have only played two matches. Still, he said that if Vieira continues to find a first-team spot on Manchester City and continues to show impressive play, he would be selected as the captain.

After a calf injury that he suffered before his transfer from Inter to Manchester City, Vieira has been seeing more playing time. He was brought on during the team’s match against Hull and started against Bolton. Sky Sports gave Vieira a 6 rating in the Hull game and a 7 rating in the Bolton game.

Still, Vieira seems to be the person to get the team on track. Manchester City teammate Kolo Touré said that Vieira’s leadership is exactly what the club needs to succeed in the FA Cup. “You need a winning mentality to bring a team success,” said Touré.

So, will he make it. I hope so, but we will see.

Del Piero Is Juventus Fall Guy

Posted by Scot Munroe Monday, February 15, 2021
Juventus gained a much needed win on Sunday afternoon with a dogged performance over Genoa. 3-2 the scoreline and had to thank Alex Del Piero for this. Genoa took the lead early in the game as Marco Rossi scuffed an effort passed the keeper. As half-time was approaching Juventus huffed and puffed and was gladly rewarded as Amauri hit back at his critics rising up above the Genoa defence from Caceres cross. Juve took the lead in the 2nd half when neat build up play from Diego back-heeled pass to Del Piero who slotted past Ameila, to delight the fans and his wife n the crowd. Sadly the lead only lasted 2 minutes as a Gigi Buffon error(not said often) gifted Marco Rossi his 2nd goal of the game. Juventus grabbed the winner in controversy.

13 minutes from time as Del Piero was through on goal he looked like he was tripped by Genoa defender Papasthathopoulos but on replays were inconclusive. Del Piero then tucked the penalty passed Amelia and grabbed 3 points for the Old Lady.

Milan also picked up a crucial win for the fight for 2nd place as they beat Udinese on Friday night. Klass Jan Huntelaar was the man for Milan as he netted twice and Alexandre Pato scored in his 1st game back after 2 months out injured. Udinese reply were from talisman Antonio Di Natale and Antonio Floro Flores. A nervous victory for Milan as they play hosts to Manchester United on Tuesday. The Other Italian team who play a English team in the Champions League are Inter Milan, who travelled to Naples on Sunday night and picked up a crucial point. In a game that on paper screamed out goals, it really did not turn that away with both teams hitting the woodwork.

Roma are now unbeaten in 20 games in all competitions with emphatic 4-1 win over Palermo. Matteo Brighi ran the show for the home side with 2 goals with the Beast Julio Baptista and John Arne Riise with the others. Fabrizio Miccoli penalty was the only goal for Palermo. Sampdoria won their 4th game in a row without Antonio Cassano as they beat Fiorentina 2-0 as both old boys Semoli and Pazzini with the goals. Cagliari enjoyed a 3-1 home victory over Bari with Nene, Conti and Cossu for the home side and Masiello for Bari. Catania-Atalanta finished 0-0 in Scilly.

Siena picked up a crucial 3 points as they won away at Chievo with Reginaldo volley 15 minutes from time. Marco Di Vaio earned a potential 3 points at Livorno with the only goal of the game for Bologna. Edy Reja 1st game for Lazio ended in a away win at Parma. Cristian Ledesma was welcomed back into the team after his problems higher up at Lazio. Stendardo and Zarate with the goals for a struggling Lazio side.

Week 24 Results

Cagliari 3-1 Bari
Catania 0-0 Atalanta
Chievo 0-1 Siena
Juventus 3-2 Genoa
Livorno 0-1 Bologna
Milan 3-2 Udinese
Napoli 0-0 Inter
Parma 0-2 Lazio
Roma 4-1 Palermo
Sampdoria 2-0 Fiorentina. embedded video playerAll the action from Italian Serie A match day 24.

Roma ROMA ROMA!!! Another win by the capitalista and it just keeps getting better and better as the Giallorossi decimate visitors Palermo, 4-1.

Juventus finally get a win, and Inter are held to a draw, scudetto on again? Can't wait to see what Mourinho's men have planned for their Chelsea duel mid-week.

tuttosport frontpage 02.15.10Tuttosport
Three cheers for Juve!
Del Piero, what a show
Editorial: And now continuity
Lazio-Reja: It's renaissance
Napoli fury
Inter lucky

gazzetta dello sport frontpage 02.15.10
Gazzetta dello Sport
Inter what hard work
Stalemate against a great Napoli
Roma are now just seven points back
Ale makes resurgent Juve
Borriello to miss Utd
The Cagliari show!
The Reja cure!

corriere dello sport frontpage 02.15.10Corriere dello Sport
Napoli-Inter: Spectacle and Fights
Great emotion, no goals
Mourinho against the referees
Reja regenerates Lazio
Cagliari puts on a show
Del Piero, it's Juve!

AC Milan v Manchester UnitedSo after a disappointing draw against Aston Villa, nearly a week has passed without seeing Manchester United in action, but a tough test is upon us. AC Milan are next up for Sir Alex Ferguson and his Red Army in the Champions League Second Round 1st Leg. With United at the San Siro first, it is sure to be a difficult tie.

Minds will surely be cast back to the last time the two sides met in 2007, United took a 3-2 lead back to Old Trafford and were very confident of finishing off the job in Manchester, only for Kaka, Gattuso, Pirlo et al to completely dismantle an inform United, utterly deflating them and producing a display akin to the great Milan side of the early 1990’s.

Other than 2007 the Rossoneri have dumped United out of Europe's elite competition on three other occasions, - 1958, 1969 and 2005. So no matter what you have heard about Milan being a waning power and a team in decline, they will be dangerous, especially at home, there is no doubting that.

Manchester United go into the tie off the back of a 1-1 draw against Aston Villa a draw in which Ryan Giggs broke his arm ruling the midfielder out of the Milan match.

In goal, Edwin van der Sar should provide a formidable barrier to Marco Borriello, Ronaldinho and Alexandre Pato. Protected by Rafael, who should be preferred to Gary Neville given the recent performances the club captain has had. It will be a massive game for the youngster, coming up against his fellow countryman and former FIFA World Player of the Year could be the making of him. Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic should recreate the fearsome central defensive partnership that lead United to glory in 2008. Of course Evra will be in place at left-back.

Expect Sir Alex Ferguson to line up with a five man midfield, Antonio Valencia is likely to be in that team and is rightly looking forward to the match, stating, "They will be the biggest games I've played in club football." Joining him will be Darren Fletcher, Michael Carrick and probably Paul Scholes. The Ginger Ninja has been in superlative form recently and the added time on the ball he will be afforded by Milan will surely mean he can do damage. Nani should also make the team, despite his red card on Wednesday his form over the last month has only been eclipsed by that of Wayne Rooney, who will be the lone frontman on Tuesday evening.

Underestimate AC Milan at your peril. There are deficiencies in the team; of that there is no doubt. But rookie manager has manages to shape some sort of team from the remnants of Carlo Ancelotti’s reign. Leonardo prefers a 4-3-3, which becomes more a 5-5.

Staring in goal will be Dida, by no stretch of the imagination back to the form of six years ago when he was one of the best stoppers in world football, he has at least achieved a reasonable level of performance so far this season, and can still pull of the odd wondersave.

The back four will be key for AC Milan, Alessandro Nesta and Thiago Silva are one of the most solid defensive partnerships in Europe right now. Nesta has managed to nurse himself back to a semblance of health, while Silva has proved his ability with masterful displays throughout the season. Against Udinese on Friday, Nesta made his comeback from injury only for Silva to go off injured in the same match. Much will depend on the fitness of these two.

Both full-back are the places where Milan are most vulnerable, Ignazio Abate, though young and full of running, is not a right-back, he is a best a decent right midfielder. His defensive positioning is poor and he can be a bit ‘over eager’ to say the least. Luca Antonini has made the left back position his own this season, but a journey man player, he spent 8 years away from the San Siro on various loan spells before he returned in the summer.

The Milan midfield will have a number of familiar faces, Massimo Ambrosini, the club captain and longest serving player is in a rich vein of form. He will more than likely be alongside Andrea Pirlo and Gennaro Gattuso. Pirlo will be pushed further up, as if he is in the trequartista role with the two generals behind him.

The front three will consist of Borriello, Pato and Ronaldinho.

Pato is just back from injury and scored against Udinese, he may be lacking in match sharpness so David Beckham may be given a starting berth, on the right side of a front three. Ronaldinho is back on form, not quite at his Barcelona best but not far off, he still has all the skills and can easily beat his man, he may have lost that acceleration of old but he has a potent weapon in the Rossoneri attack. Both will be playing off targetman Marco Borriello, the former Genoa striker his banging in the goals, while not a star, he is effective and can give any defence a rough ride.

Milan did not win for three games after the derby defeat to Inter. If United can press the ball just as Inter did then Milan do become vulnerable, but given space and time, Milan will hurt you. Just as Real Madrid.

AS Roma Show The Sky Is The Limit

Posted by Kevin Walker Sunday, February 14, 2021
AS Roma win again, 02.13.10The Giallorossi dominated Saturday evening, soundly defeating Palermo during their round 24 match, courtesy of one aka Matteo Brighi.

Roma's well-organized attack early-on, met by a laid back Palermo XI content to play fetch, yielded several corners but no damaging finish. As expected Palermo took a crack at it on the counterattack, but were also taking advantage of the space given to Federico Balzaretti to move forward—as Marco Motta seemed willing to concede ground. 8 minutes in, Francesco Totti would link up with Rodrigo Taddei—who was eager to go it alone, missing John Arne Riise open on the far side. The Brazilian’s offering went in low to keeper Salvatore Sirigo, who easily made the save.

The visitors would strike back soon thereafter, as Mattia Cassani worked a clever play with Fabio Simplicio down the right. Cassani’s cross was allowed to roll through by Edison Cavani to Fabrizio Miccoli, but from 12 yards the striker lofted his shot skyward. A 30 yard shot from Giulio Migliaccio ten minutes later forced Julio Sergio to make a respectable save. The strike would be just enough of a threat to introduce some doubt in the Roma defense, spurring the squad into regaining possession.

The initial result would be a yellow card to Simon Kjaer from referee Tagliavento for Palermo, after a poor challenge on a surging Taddei down the left flank. Roma were ignited by the passion of the play. Daniel De Rossi first sent a cross in that would fall to Mirko Vucinic—but the Montenegrin’s shot would be sent wide.

Roma would find their first goal on 33 minutes off a Totti corner collected by Brighi., The Roma midfielder simply sidefooted it in pass the keeper to give the home-side the lead as the ball took a deflection off Palermo defender Cesare Bovo, beating keeper Sirigu. After the initial goal it was all downhill for the visitors with Palermo resigning themselves to defeat too easily.

After the Interval

To the visitor's credit they pressed for an equalize after the first 45, but made little of their chances as events only worsened. The Beast Julio Baptista, netted Roma’s second goal in 53rd minute, putting the match beyond any real doubt for Claudio Raneiri's crew. Motta’s excellent cross from the right flank would be helped along by Taddei (who committed a questionable push on Cassani), leaving the ball for Brighi to set up Baptista with an easy shot from five yards out. Less than 10 minutes later Brighi got his second tally after the ever-vigilant Motta sent a cross into the box. The ball would bounce back to Brighi, who took it off a knee to whip a 20 yards shot into the far post. Keeper Sirigu managed to get a hand on it, but would be left red faced as the ball squirts pas into the back netting.

Javier Pastore’s late effort would provide the visitors a consolation goal. The Argentinean, rather lucky to receive a penalty (after being sandwiched by Taddei and De Rossi at the edge of the box), allowed for hitman Miccoli to convert with style. Roma however would not be denied further glory, scoring a 4th goal only moments later. David Pizarro threaded the ball through the porous Palermo defense to John Arne Riise and it was little more than a tap in for the big man. It was a tight angle on the left, but Riise made it look easy enough! 4-1 Roma!

Ranieri's team continue to surprise as their remarkable form continues. With 6 points behind Internazionale (who have a game in-hand), they managed to put some pressure on the leaders and record a sixth straight league victory. Juventus handlers are surely regretting the release of Ranieri now.

Roma: Julio Sergio; Motta, Burdisso, Juan, Riise; De Rossi, Pizarro; Taddei, Brighi, Vucinic (Menez 65); Totti (Julio Baptista 46)

Palermo: Sirigu; Cassani, Kjaer, Bovo, Balzaretti; Migliaccio, Liverani, Bresciano; Simplicio (Pastore 56); Miccoli, Cavani (Budan 72)

Ref: Tagliavento

Cicinho Introduced At São Paulo

Posted by Kevin Walker
cicinho past performerThe former Real Madrid and occasional Brazilian international right back Cicinho, has been officially presented to São Paulo fans and media.

Cicinho joins the Tricolor Paulista on loan from AS Roma until the end of the 2010 season. He is the latest in a series of big name signings for Campeonato Brasileiro clubs with Robinho, Roberto Carlos, Ronaldo and Wagner Love returning to Brazil’s top flight from Europe in recent times.

Cicinho played for São Paulo from 2003-2005 before transferring to Real Madrid.

cicinho pic #1cicinho pic 2cicinho pic 3cicinho pic#4

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