Archive for the 'Cagliari' category

Grazie, Udinese!

January 27, 2008 4:23 pm

Udinese 0 -0 The Great Zaltan and his Argentine Minions

Hey – it might not be a Nerazzurri loss, but the rest of Serie A will take it, as Roma now close the gap by two points, leaving only five between the Giallorossi and ArgentInter.

So thanks, Udinese!

Looking at ArgentInter’s form as of late, the words “turning point” come to mind; two draws (granted, against worthy opponents) preceded by a shaky victory against a side that sits at the bottom half of the table do not exactly inspire confidence. If we weren’t talking about the league-leading Nerazzurri here, you can bet your behind that the word “crisis” would be tossed around by the Italian media for sure. Of course, Mancini believes the cards are stacked against him, but the rest of us are just muttering “welcome to the club.”

After the next Coppa Italia fixture against Juventus, things will get a bit easier on Inter, as they face Empoli, Catania and Livorno in succession. When that’s over, however, that’s when things get interesting. ArgentInter will have to travel to Anfield where they face a rabid ‘Pool (a contest that’s sure to wear them down like no other) and then return home and square off against Sampdoria, and three days later… Roma.

Elsewhere in Serie A, Rolando Bianchi was on the field for all of five minutes before being booked and subsequently sent off in Lazio’s draw with Torino.

The Duck bagged his first brace for the Rossoneri, as Ancelotti lined him up in front of Seedorf in Milan’s win over Genoa. With Seedorf going buck-wild for Milan as of late, one wonders if Ka-Pa-Ro shouldn’t be shelved in place of See-Ka-Pa. (Yeah, my head hurts from that too.) Oh… and FatRon’s hurt again. [sarcasm]What a great investment![/sarcasm]

Cagliari showed that they’re more desperate than Napoli, in what I’m going to call a slight upset, though Napoli’s Hamsik definitely deserves honorable mention for his third goal in two matches. Oddly enough, Cagliari started out without Foggia again, bringing him on for Acquafresca in the 56th minute. Something’s going on behind the scenes there, although I’m not sure what; chances are, it’s related to chair throwing enforcers. Anyway, congratulations to Cagliari for their first three-pointer since freaking September.

Fortuna sorride su Inter. Ancora.

January 21, 2008 5:27 am

(Luck smiles on Inter. Again.)

First off, let me say that I’m conscious of the fact that I bitch about Inter a lot, but contrary to what my actions may suggest, I don’t want to make this a “look at what ArgentInter did this week” blog, and I don’t enjoy writing about them… especially when they’re pulling wins out of their collective ass, as was the case this week. Unfortunately, as it turns out, it just seems like they’re always doing something morbidly newsworthy, whether it’s fielding a team of players from everywhere but Italy, or rolling through Italy’s best at the feet of Zaltan The Great (a.k.a. Calcio’s JarJar), or sneaking by more win-worthy squads on the wings of luck. One way or another, they’re attention getters.

This week, it was so bad that their own coach admits that they got off easy, something I haven’t seen him do for a while… if ever. Anyway, you can judge for yourself. Maybe you’ll do a better job than me of spotting the “penalty” at the end:

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The good news is, if Inter are going to play like that, hilarity is sure to ensue when they face Juventus on 1/23 and 1/30 (Coppa Italia), and Udinese on 1/27. Three consecutive tough matches might be a bit much for Lady Luck to handle, yes?

Ah… Udinese. Some uncharacteristically poor finishing up front cost them (and handed Milan) three points this week, so hopefully they’ll be raring to go come InterTime, although Udinese will have to contend with Catania this week (Coppa Italia again) as well. (What a brilliant backheel by Kaka on that assist!)

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Edit: Siena upset Palermo this weekend, 3-2. (Back in October, I said that Siena could be friggin’ nasty, and it looks like it’s still true. Here’s to hoping they don’t get relegated.)

The following video has highlights from two matches: Palermo-Siena and Reggina-Cagliari

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Regarding Reggina-Cagliari, you know things are bad when you make Reggina look awesome. Where the hell was Foggia? I’d hate to write a team off halfway through the season, but folks… let’s just say I think one of our relegation spots is definitely spoken for.

Buffon e Del Piero 3 – 2 Lazio

December 16, 2007 12:23 am

Two days ago, I said that “…Lazio… free from Champions League duty, will be focused solely on Italian matches.”

After today’s performance, I’m gonna go out on a limb and say that yeah… Lazio look pretty damn focused.  So focused, in fact, that Juve were lucky… and they know it.

Simply put, Lazio played with the energy of kids just let out of school for the summer.  Free from homework, free from essays, free from the difficulties of their Champions League schedule, they appeared rejuvenated, and the numbers show it:

Shots (on Goal) 

  • Lazio – 14(9)
  • Juventus – 10(3)

Time of Possession

  • Lazio – 63%
  • Juventus – 37%

Saves

  • Lazio – 0
  • Juventus – 7

Unfortunately for the Biancocelesti, the statistic that matters the most (der… goals?) went in Juve’s favor, thanks to the heroics of Buffon, and yes, that guy Del Piero. (For more on the match, check out Martha’s write-up.)

Still though, there are 22 weeks left in the season – certainly enough time for Lazio to cause problems for other squads, assuming they can stay healthy.  Looking ahead, March is their tough month, as they face Milan, Udinese, Roma, Fiorentina… and Inter.  That said, if they come out of March with more than three points (Livorno’s in there too somewhere), Lazio are the real deal, boys and girls. Until then, just watch out for them at the playground.

Other Stuff:  From Foggia to Mancini to Berlusconi

Alright. We know that Cagliari has recently played host to WWE-style drama involving top-kid Foggia, but the news today is that said drama is probably responsible for his exclusion from the squad this weekend.  So yeah. Cagliari are closing the door on their best player on the eve of a match with Inter… as if chances of a Cagliari upset weren’t slim enough.

Speaking of Inter (aren’t we always?), Coach Mancini has played down Milan’s efforts in the Club World Cup, calling the length of the tournament “absurd,” while likening it to a friendly-fest.  Whether or not I agree with Mancini, it seems petty for him to be belittling what he knows is Milan’s primary focus this season.  At least Berlusconi was more diplomatic in his response, as usual.

Arrabbiato per un Buon Motivo

December 5, 2007 12:31 pm

(Angry for a Good Reason)

Napoli’s starting ‘keeper, Gennaro Iezzo is less than happy, and rightfully so, perhaps. He has apparently caught wind of rumors concerning possible Napoli interest in Marco Amelia. According to his agent, Iezzo isn’t exactly “jumping for joy,” although I haven’t seen anything to indicate that Iezzo is considering an exit, as the Channel 4 Italia headline suggests.

While it’s true that Iezzo has had his bad matches, most notably this past weekend versus Atalanta, he and backup ‘keeper Gianello were at the top of their respective games earlier this season, to the point where I was sure that both of them would eventually be bound for squads with deeper pockets. That said, I hope Napoli aren’t actually considering Amelia; it’s possible that Iezzo hasn’t fully recovered from an injury sustained early in the season, and he may just need a bit more time. If that’s the case, Gianello is fully capable to man the door.

In other news…

(Since January is just around the corner, I’m rounding up some of the more credible transfer rumors.)

  • Zambrotta to Milan – As if Milan didn’t already have a good defense, they’re going to get Zambrotta? This is pretty big.
  • Shevchenko to Juveor Milan – I’d rather see him return to the red and black, but it’s been said that Milan has reserved the spot for Pato.
  • Lucarelli to Torino – This much is true: he’s not staying in the Ukraine; I’d bet on that.

Last but not least, did anybody read about the WWE-style feud involving the Cagliari players? If Cagliari has any prayer of challenging Roma today, they’ll need to get over this.

(Update: Cagliari management has dealt with the situation.)

Di Natale, GrassoRon, e un ragazzo dalla California

November 30, 2007 7:50 am

(Di Natale, FatRon, and a boy from California)

 

Boy… Di Natale’s gonna be expensive!

Regular serieAmerica visitors may remember my two posts (#1 & #2) about a Roma – Di Natale connection. Well, there’s more to report on that front. Apparently, Udinese’s sporting director, Pietro Leonardi, says that Di Natale isn’t for sale at the moment.

There are two feasible interpretations of his comments, but no matter how you slice it, Mr. Leonardi is a smart cookie: If his statement about Udinese not being willing to give up one of their “best talents” is genuine, then he obviously realizes Di Natale’s value and is wise in his desire to keep him. If it’s just talk (and I think it is), my guess is that Leonardi is attempting to dangle a carrot just out of Roma’s reach, in order to better justify an astronomical asking price for Di Natale, once negotiations actually begin.

FatRon is hurt… again.

Well, it’s the eve of Milan-Juventus (easily the most talked about match this week… to the point where it’s almost annoying), and FatRon is hurt. Again. That’s OK. FatRon would’ve been laid out by Chiellini anyway, I think. Unfortunately, Ron’s absence leaves Gilardino to get knocked around… and frustrated, I’ll bet.

On a related note, the Corriere dello Sport had an interesting headline today:

Milan, goodbye Ronaldo, hello Amauri – The Rossoneri are ready to give up on El Fenomeno and already have their hands on the Palermo hitman

Amauri, huh? That won’t be cheap. (Although the connection has been reported elsewhere, so who knows.) What’s up with the Brazilian obsession, Milan?

And introducing… The California Kid

Now this one, I can’t believe.

Apparently, an 18 year-old high schooler from California has been offered a contract with Cagliari. Yes, that Cagliari.

What does Cagliari want with a high school kid from California? Your guess is probably better than mine; I’m certainly scratching my head over it. I can’t even get over the fact that they were scouting in North Carolina. Did they make a wrong turn or something?

Anyway, this kid (David Bingham) is passing up a full ride at UC Berkley (That’s no joke, David!) for the opportunity to (possibly) have Kaka / Totti / Zalayeta / Quaglia / Gila / Rocchi / Mutu / etc. fire missiles at him. I’m not going to criticize his decision, as passing up one sweet deal for another is never easy. Remember the name Bingham; we’ll have to watch this California Kid.

Serie A ha rinviato!

November 24, 2007 9:15 pm

(Serie A has returned!)

Aaaaannnd we’re back to our scheduled programming. So, what’s going on, you ask? Well, here’s my best attempt at a round-up:

First off, two matches were played already:

Genoa 0-1 Roma

  • There are actually two things to talk about here. First off, Cristian Panucci (a.k.a. The Old Man) – the guy responsible for the Azzurri’s game-winner in Scotland – saved the day here as well, this time with a header in the 89th minute. Whatever you’re doing, Old Man, can you please get your teammates to start? Thanks.
  • Speaking of which (and this brings me to our second talking point), Roma need to start taking vitamins or something. As Chris at Offside pointed out before the match, to say that Roma has caught the injury bug would be a gross understatement. Injury bear is more like it.

Inter 2-1 Atalanta

  • Everyone, your attention please! ArgentInter fielded an Italian today, when Materazzi came on for Dacourt in the 88th minute. [crowd]Oooooohhhhh! Aaaaaaaaaahhhh![/crowd] Thank you. That is all.
  • Actually, that’s not all. I have to point out that Inter got lucky… again. With all of the non-Italians on the team, I’m starting to wonder whether or not there’s a lucky Irishman in the mix somewhere. They are that lucky. If one of them starts riverdancing, or if someone mentions a pot o’ gold or charms of any kind, (is that how they pay for The Great Zaltan and the Argentinian Superstars?) we’ll know something is afoot. Seriously, Atalanta should have at least drawn level. Actually, if you read between Mancini’s words, you can tell that he soiled his pants during the match.

Elsewhere in the Lega Calcio:

  • FatRon is set to return against Cagliari… maybe. Ugh. In the same match, Pasquale Foggia of Cagliari may play the role of trequartista. If there’s any action from the home team, expect Foggia to be involved. Unfortunately, Gattuso will probably scare the poor kid off of the pitch.
  • I fully expect Fiorentina to leapfrog Roma and slip into second place, as they face Reggina tomorrow. If not, the Viola could go on an untimely slide, as they were upset by Udinese back in Week 12.
  • I think Juventus will have a hard time with Palermo, but will come away with the win in the end. Juve will be without Lanky Chiellini, but they’ll be looking to pick up the pace after drawing in their last two matches.
  • Catania are visiting Napoli this week, and although they’re a solid side (relatively speaking), they’re 0-5-1 on the road. That said, I am expecting a win for Napoli.

It sure is nice to have calcio back, isn’t it? I know it was only a couple weeks, but it feels like we were caught in an international wormhole or something. (Speaking of international stuff, the draws for World Cup 2010 qualifying groups are set to take place tomorrow; it’s going to be a busy day.)