3 February 2008

MILAN 1 (Pato 77)

Normally I don't bother recapping 1-0s or 0-1s but I'm making an exception for a couple of reasons. First to confirm that Pato is one of the best young players on the planet and genuinely has the potential to match the clubs expectations and follow in Kaka's footsteps to become the best player in the World. He replaced Seedorf, who had an abominable game, on 66 minutes, hit a superb winner 11 minutes later and was stretchered off in the 89th minute when he tried to intercept Pasqual. Anyway onto the goal. Pirlo hit a superb long ball to Kaka', he volleyed to the back post, Pato took the ball on his chest and as Ujfalusi and another defender tried to close him down he switched the ball onto his left foot before lobbing over Frey. This is a tactical ploy Ancelotti has increasingly used i.e. Pato is left alone in the opposition half forcing the defences high up the pitch, Milan hit a longball over the top, Pato uses his incredible speed to break through. Three of his four goals (in six games) have been scored in that manner. Kalac, who seems to have permanently replaced Dida, made a great point blank save in fifth minute of injury time.

Ancelotti claims Pato's injury, an ankle sprain, is ‘serious' which is a misnomer if ever I heard one. With Gattuso already a major doubt for the Arsenal clash Milan's chances of progressing without both him and Pato are slim as Ronaldo and Inzaghi are still out injured. Kaka' is going to have to win the tie single handed and if he does when Pato and Gattuso return I expect Milan will go all the way to the final.

Attendance : 40,000
Assist : Kaka'

GENOA 2 (Danilo 14, Borriello 71 Pen)
CATANIA 1 (Bovo 59 og)

Brazilian midfielder Danilo scored a tap in after Polito could only parry a deflected shot. Bovo put he ball into his own net with a brilliant looping header though the blame lays entirely on Genoa goalkeeper Scarpi's poor positioning. Borriello converted his 4th penalty of the season to further cement Genoa's place in the relative comforts of mid-table.

Borriello's 12 goals have earned him an Italy call-up against Portugal. Technically, as you would expect of an Italian player, he lacks nothing but I'm not sold on his ability to handle the pressures of playing at a high level.

Attendance : 23,000
Assists : n/a, n/a, n/a

INTER 1 (Ibrahimovic 34 Pen)

Attendance : 40,000
Red Card : Vieira 39 (Inter)
Assist : n/a

JUVENTUS 1 (Nedved 56)
CAGLIARI 1 (Bianco 55)

Belardi, standing in for the injured Buffon, did well to prevent under fire Tiago from scoring an own goal but was powerless to stop Bianco volleying the rebound over the line. Tiago rode a tackle in midfield and Nedved took over before letting rip from 25 yards and his low shot bounced in front of a poorly positioned Storari in the Cagliari goal.

Attendance : 19,412
Assists : n/a, Tiago

LAZIO 2 (Mauri 37, Rocchi 77)
SAMPDORIA 1 (Cassano 46)

Mauri fired Lazio into the lead following some truly awful defending on a corner. Cassano equalised in first half injury time meeting Maggio's centre with a blistering right foot volley which thundered in off the underside of the crossbar. Rocchi burst into the Sampdoria box onto Pandev's high pass, checked his run, turned his back to play, flicked the ball over his head with his right foot then dropped a left foot volley over Castelazzi. Fantastic goal, fantastic player.

Attendance : 12,000
Assists : n/a, Maggio, Pandev

PARMA 2 (Lucarelli 39, Gasbarroni 91 Pen)
ATALANTA 3 (Pellegrino 18, Bellini 55, Floccari 68)

Pellegrino headed Atalanta into the lead from a Guarante free kick. Lucarelli must have been watching videos of Inzaghi while he was in the Ukraine because he a penalty by fouling HIS marker. He converted but was forced to re-take for encroachment and the second time proved the charm for Coppola. Five minutes later he equalised with a trademark header. He out-jumped three defenders before planting Cigarini's cross into the bottom corner. Doni slammed a free kick into a Parma wall, rolled the rebound across to Bellini who hit a sensational first time shot in off the bar. Floccari slalomed his way through the Parma defence before expertly placing the ball inside the right post. Gasbarroni converted a soft penalty. Inter aren't the only team that get them.

Attendance : 13,567
Assists : Guarante (fk), Cigarini, Doni, Bellini, Gasbarroni (won pen)

REGGINA 1 (Amoruso 59)
TORINO 3 (Rosina 24 Pen, Stellone 35, Rosina 66 Pen)

Lazetic was fouled just as he was about to shoot Torino into the lead. Rosina converted and ten minutes later Diana's speculative shot hit team-mate 'Sylvester' Stellone and from the edge of the box he curled the ball wide of Campagnolo. Amoruso got Reggina briefly back into the match from a corner but minutes later Valdez brought Comotto's surging run to a cynical end and Rosina put away his second penalty.

Attendance : 12,000
Assists : Lazetic (won pen), Diana, Missiroli, Comotto (won pen)

SIENA 3 (Vergassola 11, Tonetto 43 og, Frick 83)

Under pressure from Maccarone Ferrari headed a cross to the edge of the box, Vergassola jumped in the air and punched a left foot volley into the bottom right corner. Maccarone continued to pester the Roma defence, Tonetto put through his own net with the striker on his shoulder. Siena were good value for their half time lead having hit the woodwork twice. Pizarro should have been sent off for dropping a knee on a prone Siena player. I'll sure he'll get a ban. The expected second half comeback didn't materialise and Siena compounded Roma's misery with a late third. Rigano stole a ball in midfield before releasing everyone's favourite Liechtenstein international Super Mario Frick and he steered the ball wide of a badly exposed Doni.

Without the injured Juan Roma's defence is horrendous. Real Madrid will have a field day if he's not back for their Champions League tie.

Attendance : 9,500
Assists : n/a, n/a, Rigano

2 February 2008

PALERMO 1 (Miccoli 76)

Attendance : 23,000
Assists : n/a

NAPOLI 3 (Zapata 3 og, Lavezzi 73, Lavezzi 74)
UDINESE 1 (Pepe 8)

Udinese's in demand centre back Cristian Zapata turned a Lavezzi centre into his own net. Pepe got on the end of a monstrous free kick to equalise. Handanovic let a routine shot slip between his fingers and he was Beaten for the second time in a minute after Zalayeta forced a mistake from the Udinese defence.

Attendance : 30,000
Red Cards : Cannavaro 36 (Napoli), Pepe 60 (Udinese)
Assists : n/a, D'Agostino, Gargano, n/a