PALERMO, ITALY - AUGUST 26: Marek Hamsik (L) of Napoli celebrates after scoring the opening goal during the Serie A match between US Citta di Palermo and SSC Napoli at Stadio Renzo Barbera on August 26, 2012 in Palermo, Italy. (Photo by Tullio M. Puglia/Getty Images)
4 Total Updates since August 25, 2012
9 months ago Update 0 comments
A quick run-down of the first weekend of Serie A...
The first half was simply dire, with Juve failing to look at all like a team that had won the scudetto just a few short months ago. Then again, last season's Old Lady often looked like a team that shouldn't have won the title, so I guess it wasn't that surprising. The referee awarded a harsh penalty to Parma over a foul on Stephan Lichtsteiner, but Arturo Vidal compensating by putting forth a dreadful penalty kick. But Lichtsteiner got his own with a tap-in in the second half, opening Juve's season account. The second goal was much more controversial, as replays showed Andrea Pirlo's free kick didn't quite cross the goal line as Antonio Mirante scooped up the ball.
Sampdoria, fresh from Serie B, came away from the San Siro with a not-too-surprising win. Read all about it.
Catania took a surprise lead at the Olimpico through Giovanni Marchese, who pounced on a deflected ball. It's likely he was offside, but the Sicilians won't let that bother them. The Roma side in the first half looked miles away from a typical Zdenek Zeman side, off the pace and unsure in attack. But the Czech must've given them a rollicking at the break, as they came out looking like another team, and Pablo Osvaldo managed a fantastic overhead kick for the equaliser within 15 minutes. But Catania weren't quite willing to play the loser, and hit Roma hard on the counter, slicing open the giallorossi defence to create space for Alejandro Gomez to score. Roma waited until extra time to give back, but they found their second through Nicolas Lopez -- and only the bar prevented Catania from a third and all three points.
The only goal in Bergamo occurred early, with Lazio springing through Atalanta on a quick counterattack. Miroslav Klose and Stefano Mauri worked together, giving Hernanes the opportunity to knock in from close range. Maxi Moralez and German Denis both did their best to find an equaliser, but in the end all the points went to the visitors.
Genoa were the first home side to score on Sunday in Serie A, at 51 minutes in through Alexander Merkel. That's your fact of the day! Also, Genoa were the first to miss a PK on Sunday. So many firsts! Speaking of firsts, a more exciting one -- Ciro Immobile's first goal in Serie A cemented Genoa's win.
The first half looked doomed to be marked by miss chances on both sides, although Edinson Cavani's miss from nearly inside the goal had to be the worst. But Marek Hamsik stepped up to save the visitors, bending his shot in toward the near post for a perfect goal just before the break. The Slovak deserves some credit for the second goal as well, as it was his cross that Christian Maggio controlled perfectly, chesting it down and easily getting behind the Palermo defence to slide in the ball. It was El Matador -- who else -- for Napoli's third, with an assist from the rarely-seen Eduardo Vargas. Here's hoping that'll get him some more action.
Milan just might be regretting letting go of Antonio Cassano, as he already seems settled and happy with their rivals, finding a comfortable partnership with Wesley Sneijder and assisting in Diego Milito for Inter's second goal. The first came courtesy of Sneijder, who tapped in a lovely cross-field pass from Milito. Milito was involved yet again in the third goal, scored by Philippe Coutinho. Who says the nerazzurri are growing too old and stale? Well, this observer for one, but she's ok with being proved wrong.
Yep...this game happened.
9 months ago Update 0 comments
Most fans of Serie A figured Milan would have a rough start to the season. Last year's runners-up put most of their old guard out to pasture over the summer. They also lost both Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Thiago Silva to PSG, and lost a top creator when exchanging Antonio Cassano for Giampaolo Pazzini.
Yet it's still Milan. By virtue of the name, you don't expect to see a total collapse. But that's almost exactly what happened in their first match of the season. A combination of poor passing, a lack of creativity, and a fragile defence combined to hand Sampdoria a 1-0 win at the San Siro.
'Doria, fresh from Serie B, seemed content with just a point, defending deeply to frustrate Milan (although the wasted rossoneri chances were also quite frustrating for the club). But when the home side handed Sampdoria a chance on a silver platter, well, they weren't going to turn it down, were they?
The only goal in the match came from a corner kick taken by Fernando Tissone. Andrea Costa rose up for the header, easily overcoming the Milan defence. Sixty minutes in, and Sampdoria were content to hunker down even more, determined to hang on to their lead.
The best chance for the home side also came from a corner, taken by Mattia De Sciglio. Mario Yepes got on the end of it, but Sergio Romero was right there to push away. Unfortunately for the Sampdoria keeper, he pushed it right into the post, but sharp reflexes allowed him to save himself from himself, smothering the ball and denying an equaliser.
Sampdoria felt the pressure in added time and held up admirably -- with the help of the post, which denied Kevin-Prince Boateng in the final minutes. Milan continued to gather in the area, taking it in turns to fire shots at the goal. It was a Mathieu Flamini shot, blocked by Romero, that finished off the rossoneri loss.
AC Milan: Christian Abbiati, Mattia De Sciglio, Daniele Bonera, Mario Yepes, Luca Antonini, Mathieu Flamini, Riccardo Montolivo, Antonio Nocerino , Kevin-Prince Boateng, (Giampaolo Pazzini 55), Robinho (Urby Emanuelson 59).
Sampdoria: Sergio Romero, Gaetano Berardi, Daniele Gastaldello, Jonathan Rossini, Andrea Costa , Pedro Obiang, Fernando Tissone, Andrea Poli, Marcelo Estigarribia , Eder (Roberto Soriano 76), Nenad Krstičić.
9 months ago Update 0 comments
And so Serie A opens the 2012-2013 season with a 2-1 victory by Fiorentina over Udinese -- and what a great match to start off the year. After the last two seasons, the idea of opening with the Viola seemed a dreadful way to start the campaign: Fiorentina were boring, were uninspired, were near-dreadful at times. But with Vincenzo Montella at the helm, new life has come to Florence. Like Catania last season, his Viola poured forth, constantly on the attack. But also like Catania, they often just couldn't find quite the right shot.
Udinese, meanwhile, might be fielding an indistinguishable herd of little zebras, but they remain the same Udinese: sit back, hit on the counter, score, hold on and defend fiercely until seeing a picture perfect opportunity. The players may rotate but the zebrette find new ones to fit the system, and while it may sometimes be tedious it remains effective -- for the most part. But when you let a team simply pour forth again and again, the pressure builds, and if the defence isn't flawless, well...
Despite Fiorentina having the majority of the possession -- nearly all of it, in fact -- it was the visitors who scored first. Just as always, it was a quick counterattack that took the Viola by surprise. Luis Muriel sent through a perfect pass to Maicosuel, who managed to stay just onside to go one-on-one with Emiliano Viviano. He slotted the ball into the low left corner, scoring the first goal of the season and his first in Serie A.
Fiorentina did their damnedest to try and find an equaliser, but they were up against a brick wall -- a 6'6" brick wall that goes by the name of Zeljko Brkic. For such a tall man, the Serbian goalkeeper is surprisingly acrobatic, and he showed off all his moves as he denied his compatriot Adem Ljajić again and again. And so the match headed to halftime with Udinese leading 1-0.
Apparently all Montella could say to his side at the break was, "keep doing what you're doing." And so they did, and so it worked. To the surprise of most watching the match, Montella took off Ljajić in the 66th minute, despite his accurate shots only being denied by the skills of Brkic. But that must've triggered something inside Stevan Jovetić (maybe he was afraid to be next?) because in the next minute, the Montenegrin scored. The ball took a lucky deflection off Danilo, leaving Brkic no way of stopping it.
But Jojo's second contained no element of luck whatsoever -- just calm, cool composure. Alberto Aquilani, on for the last fifteen minutes, sent a lovely cross to the left side of the pitch, where Jovetić was lingering just outside the area. He bent his shot around the Udinese defender, letting it fly into the far corner.
Seconds later, the whistle blew, and the Viola had all three points. Could this be the start of a true renaissance in Florence?
Fiorentina: Emiliano Viviano, Gonzalo, Matija Nastasić, Facundo Roncaglia, Romulo (Alberto Aquilani 78), Borja Valero, David Pizarro, Manuel Pasqual, Mattia Cassani (Juan Cuadrado 57), Stevan Jovetić (Goal 67), Adem Ljajić (Mounir El Hamdaoui 66)
Udinese: Zeljko Brkic, Danilo, Thomas Heurtaux, Andrea Coda, Willians (Roberto Pereyra 45), Cristian Battocchio, Emmanuel Agyemang-Badu, Giovanni Pasquale, Marco Davide Faraoni, Luis Muriel (Diego Fabbrini 66), Maicosuel (Goal 28)
9 months ago Article 0 comments
Sebastian Giovinco and Amauri have swapped clubs and will play against each other on Saturday. Who won that transfer switch?