31 May 2009

The last day of this season was notable for the retirements of three of the greatest players in the modern era, three players who were genuine legends in their own lifetime, former Ballon D'or winners Pavel Nedved and Luis Figo and of course Paolo Maldini who is unquestionably one of the all time greats.

BOLOGNA 3 (Mingazzini 5, Terzi 26, Di Vaio 68)
CATANIA 1 (Morimoto 50)

Bologna had already gone close three times in the opening minutes before Acerbis, Catania's third choice goalkeeper, parried a speculative shot into his own net. He made three excellent saves before Terzi headed in a corner. Morimoto hammered in a rebound after Bologna's defence collectively failed on a corner but Di Vaio came to his teams rescue again after pulling down a longball and embarrassing Acerbis at his neat post.

Attendance : 25,888
Assists : Amoroso, Cesar, n/a, Amoroso

MILAN 2 (Kaka' 55, Pato 76)

Gilardino failed to take two chances against his former club, who were much the better side in the second half, and lead when Kaka' tapped in a loose ball after Gamberini blocked from Inzaghi. Pato ended a long goal drought with a cheeky lob over Frey. A minute later Nesta made his season debut, four minutes later Gattuso marked his return from a long injury lay-off, shorn of his trademark beard. They combined to make a block on Gilardino in their penalty area. At full time Maldini was given a standing ovation by both sets of fans. Hours later Ancelotti announced his resignation and Leonardo was announced as his replacement.

Grazie Paolo.

2009-2010 : Fiorentina are light in attack with Mutu continually struggling with injuries. A big name striker is a must and they need a playmaker to push on to the next level, Montolivo isn't good enough. With Leonardo's appointment Milan's targets are a mystery. He masterminded the arrivals of Kaka', Pato and Thiago Silva and is almost certainly going to continue to look at Brazil for more reinforcements. Hernanes would be a welcome addition.

Attendance : 41,839
Assists : n/a, Kaka'

GENOA 4 (Jankovic 22, Criscito 52, Milito 55, Milito 67)
LECCE 1 (Tiribocchi 32)

Papastathopoulos got to the by-line and pulled back a cross which Jankovic met on the run with a deft right foot volley, lovely finish. Tiribocchi, one of the few journeymen strikers not to be called up by Lippi for Italy's upcoming friendly against Northern Ireland, equalised with a tamely struck shot that Scarpi should have saved. Motta was given a standing ovation as he waved goodbye to his home supporters minutes into the second half. Criscito restored Genoa's lead with a rasping left footed drive. Milito continued his assault on the Serie A goalscoring charts with a quick brace, finding space between three defenders, he nonchalantly pulled down a cross then fired past Rosati on the turn. Another impeccable first touch allowed him to race through the Lecce defence and side foot a shot inside Rosati's left post for his 24th of the season.

2009-2010 : Milito and Motta have joined Inter and the very promising Criscito is almost certainly going back to Juve. All three will be very hard to replace as of course with coach Gasperini who will probably end up at either Juventus or Roma.

Attendance : 29,000
Assists : Papastathopoulos, Vives, Milito, Sculli, Vanden Borre

INTER 4 (Muntari 6, Ibrahimovic 12, Cambiasso 80, Ibrahimovic 81)
ATALANTA 3 (Doni 10, Cigarini 25, Doni 53 fk)

Consigli dropped a Figo cross and Muntari drove the rebound past him to gave the champions the lead. Doni headed in the equaliser from a corner. Cambiasso lobbed a ball over the top of an Atalanta defence that had pushed high up the pitch and Ibrahimovic ran through to score his 24th goal of the season. Cigarini chested down a clearance and from 25 yards hit a dipping shot over Julio Cesar, the goalkeepers back breaking attempt to save was even better then the goal itself. Figo left to a standing ovation on 44 minutes. After being hugged by his team-mates and Mourinho he saluted the fans. Doni made it 2-3 with a stunning free kick. Consigli fumbled a Muntari drive and Cambiasso levelled the scores. Ibrahimovic grabbed the Capocannoniere crown with his 25th goal of the season, he wrestled with two defenders before flicking a back heel into the bottom left corner. Brilliant. Shame about Europe.

The Inter squad and Mourinho posed for photographs with their children at full time.

Attendance : 65,000
Assists : n/a, Guarante (ck), Cambiasso, n/a, Plasmati (won fk), n/a, n/a

JUVENTUS 2 (Iaquinta 3, Iaquinta 59)

Marchisio hit a glorious pass inside a defender to Iaquinta and as Carrizo came off his line Iaquinta shot first time through his legs. Fittingly Nedved marked his last game in a Juve shirt by doing what he does best - a pass inside two defenders which Iaquinta took wide of Carrizo before tapping into the net. The former Ballon D'or winner flashed a half volley wide of a post and drew a fingertip save from Carrizo with a free kick.

Attendance : 20,000
Assists : Marchisio, Nedved

NAPOLI 3 (Montervino 4, Bogliacino 8, Pia 19)

Montervino chased down an overhit cross, took a ball from Lavezzi and shot low shot past Aldegani. Pia helped on a longball out of defence with an outrageous back heel volley to Lavezzi, Lavezzi beat a defender before centring to Pia, Pia touched the ball back to the onrushing Bogliacino who absolutely hammered a first time shot into the top left corner. Brilliant goal. Pia got into front of his marker to touch Vitale's cross past an overworked Aldegani. Napoli's first win in five.

2009-2010 : Napoli's signing of Quagliarella seems to suggest Lavezzi is on his way out. Napoli will need to keep hold of Hamsik. Their scouting is fantastic. Whether Donadoni can rebuild his reputation after Italy's disastrous Euro 2008 campaign remains to be seen.

Attendance : 25,000
Assists : Lavezzi, Pia, Vitale

PALERMO 2 (Miccoli 8, Succi 42)
SAMPDORIA 2 (Pazzini 45, Stankevicius 59)

As you may, but probably don't, recall last week Sampdoria's young goalkeeper Fiorillo stood frozen on his line as one of his defenders waited for him to collect the ball. This week he came off his line as Campagnaro shielded him from Miccoli, Campagnaro turned away as Fiorillo dived at his feet and caught the ball, when he looked back the ball was hitting the back of the net , Fiorillo had spilled it at the Palermo strikers feet. Minutes later he smacked a goalkick straight at Succi, Miccoli centred but Succi missed an open goal then wasted another clear chance before accepting another Fiorillo gift. Fiorillo sold Succi a dummy as he dribbled in his box then decided on playing the ball to a full back with a disguised pass only the disguise was too good for his team-mate and Miccoli intercepted and centred, 2-0. Cassano and Stankevicius combined for Pazzini's 12th goal of the season. I'm not sure what Mazzarri said to Fiorillo at half time but it appeared to have done the trick as he made four FANTASIC saves. In between Stankevicius equalised with angled drive from the left of the penalty area.

2009-2010 : Palermo have an eccentric but wealthy owner and there appears to be little danger of Cavani (the Uruguayan Van Basten), Kjaer or Simplicio leaving. Samp on the other hand are almost certainly going to lose Cassano having finally ended their long terms striking problems following the arrival of Pazzini and discovery of Marilungo. Rosina, from relegated Torino, would be a good replacement.

Attendance : 23,246
Assists : n/a, Miccoli, Stankevicius, Cassano

REGGINA 1 (Stuani 45 Pen)
SIENA 1 (Maccarone 76)

Stuani picked himself up after being fouled to give Reggina a half time lead from the penalty spot. Despite Calaio's second yellow, for simulation, ten man Siena equalised. Maccarone raced onto Jarolim's ball over the top, held off a defender and from a tight angle found a gap between Marino and his near post.

Attendance : 1,000
Red Card : Calaio 68 (Siena)
Assists : Stuani, Jarolim

ROMA 3 (Menez 35, Vucinic 74, Totti 84 Pen)
TORINO 2 (Vailatti 9, Ventola 88)

Vailatti fired a loose ball through a ruck of players to give Torino the lead. Menez equalised with a left foot rocket out of nowhere. Vucinic cut in from the left to put Roma 2-1 up and Totti's penalty ended Torino's latest and brief stay in Italy's top flight. Ventola's acrobatic volley was scant consolation. Rosina, one of the few Torino players with any quality (along with Rubin) broke down in tears at full time.

2009-2010 : Without major investment Roma are going nowhere fast, they are lightweight in every department.

Attendance : 37,000
Red Card : Franceschini 83 (Torino)
Assists : n/a, Totti, n/a, Cassetti (won pen), D'Onofrio

UDINESE 6 (Asamoah 10, Pepe 11, Floro Flores 15, Pasquale 58, Quagliarella 81, Ighalo 89)
CAGLIARI 2 (Acquafresca 55 Pen, Parola 57)

Asamoah began what can only be loosely described as an eight goal thriller with a shot from the edge of the box. Pepe intercepted Parlola's hospital pass with a superbly struck right foot volley. Floro Flores completed a 5 minute 3 goal salvo when he smacked in a rebound after Felipe's shot came back off a post. Acquafresca converted a gift of penalty to score his 14th goal of the season. Parola's first time shot got Cagliari within a goal of Udinese, for less than a minute. Pasquale played a one-two with Inler on the edge of the box and vaulted over a tackle as he broke through to score. Quagliarella marked his last game in an Udinese shirt with a typically flamboyant finish, an unnecessarily fierce close range strike. He was replaced by Ighalo, leaving to a standing ovation. The powerfully built 19 year old scored within 4 minutes with an outrageous shot through Lupatelli's legs.

Attendance : 13,000
Assists : D'Agostino, n/a, n/a, Acquafresca (won pen), Cossu, Inler, Pepe, Zimling