The Gentleman Ultra

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Parma’s Ultra’s Demand Answers

Roberto Donadoni’s Parma lost today’s relegation scrap 1-0 to Atalanta. This left the Ducali rock bottom of Serie A, the travelling support had had enough and demanded answers.

'The Boys Parma' (the clubs ultras) stayed behind long after the final whistle insisting the team return to the pitch for a face to face confrontation. The angry head members of 'The Boys', can be seen questioning club captain Alessandro Lucarelli and goalkeeper Antonio Mirante after today's poor display.

The Parma fans are known to be quite a placid bunch but after four defeats in their opening five games and after today’s lacklustre performance, it was time for the ‘Boys’ to take action in their eyes.

Today’s scenes are a far cry from the joyous scenes seen at the Stadio Tardini just five months ago, as the Ultras celebrated with the players when Parma qualified for the Europa League after magnificent campaign.

This confrontation with the Ultras has also put Roberto Donadoni’s position in doubt, with the coach today admitting himself he may be under threat. This truly is a team in crisis and angry fans will pack out the Curva Nord at the Tardini next week for the derby against Sassuolo. ’The Boys’ will be demanding a performance.

By Giovanni Dougall
@giovannid86

Filed under parma The Boys Ultras Ayalanta Bergamo Donadoni

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Remember when? Hellas Verona v AC Milan 17th December 2000

Location: Stadio Marc’Antonio Bentegodi, Verona 

The surface at the Stadio Bentegodi was more suited to a Sunday league game than a Serie A game. The aggression and the amount of chances missed in this match too resembled a game in the lower leagues. Alberto Zaccheroni’s Milan made the short trip to the Bentegodi to face Verona in a match that could have been forgettable.

Milan clearly didn’t fancy it much in the opening stages and found themselves behind within minutes as Emiliano Bonazzoli gave the host an early lead. Alberto Gilardino found himself with only Christian Abbiati to beat soon after however, the ball rebound off The keeper and into the path of the waiting Bonazzoli on the edge of the Milan box. He  coolly finished first time into the empty Milan net. 

This gave Milan the wake up call they needed and they started to threatened with chances of there own. They were unlucky not to find themselves level and would have if it wasn’t for the brilliance of Fabrizio Ferron in the Verona goal. 

Verona really should have doubled their lead as Martino Melis came flying in unmarked at the back post. He headed his effort down and over the bar, his reaction suggested he knows he should have done a lot better. Moments later Melis would regret his missed chance even more as Milan found themselves on level terms, Massimo Ambrosini got himself on the end of a dangerous cross from the left to head past the helpless Ferron for his third goal of the season. 

The game was turning scrappy, late tackles started flying in with Roberto Rosetti dishing out cards left, right and centre as he tried to keep a lid on the game.

The second half began the same as the first with Verona very much on top as they threatened the Milan goal with a few half chances. As the home side were pouring forward, they were caught on the beak as José Mari burst through with just the keeper to beat. He squared it to the unmarked Shevchenko who somehow managed to fail to control the ball when all he had to do was pass it in the empty net. This seemed to spur Shevchenko on who’d been very quiet all afternoon, this time he forced a fine save from Ferron as he left the Verona defence for dead. 

The needle from the first half was still there and it was only a matter on time before it became eleven v ten as Roque Junior and Gilardino squared up this time. Moments later we would lose a player as Verona captain Luigi Apolloni received his second yellow card for a wild tackle as Milan pushed forward. It was probably a tackle worthy of a straight red. The game finished all square, a fair result in all honesty. 

The two sides meet again this weekend at the Bentegodi and both will be hoping to build on victories recorded before the international break. 

http://youtu.be/c6g0Gia-hO8

By Giovanni Dougall
@giovannid86

Remember when? Hellas Verona v AC Milan 17th December 2000

Location: Stadio Marc’Antonio Bentegodi, Verona

The surface at the Stadio Bentegodi was more suited to a Sunday league game than a Serie A game. The aggression and the amount of chances missed in this match too resembled a game in the lower leagues. Alberto Zaccheroni’s Milan made the short trip to the Bentegodi to face Verona in a match that could have been forgettable.

Milan clearly didn’t fancy it much in the opening stages and found themselves behind within minutes as Emiliano Bonazzoli gave the host an early lead. Alberto Gilardino found himself with only Christian Abbiati to beat soon after however, the ball rebound off The keeper and into the path of the waiting Bonazzoli on the edge of the Milan box. He coolly finished first time into the empty Milan net.

This gave Milan the wake up call they needed and they started to threatened with chances of there own. They were unlucky not to find themselves level and would have if it wasn’t for the brilliance of Fabrizio Ferron in the Verona goal.

Verona really should have doubled their lead as Martino Melis came flying in unmarked at the back post. He headed his effort down and over the bar, his reaction suggested he knows he should have done a lot better. Moments later Melis would regret his missed chance even more as Milan found themselves on level terms, Massimo Ambrosini got himself on the end of a dangerous cross from the left to head past the helpless Ferron for his third goal of the season.

The game was turning scrappy, late tackles started flying in with Roberto Rosetti dishing out cards left, right and centre as he tried to keep a lid on the game.

The second half began the same as the first with Verona very much on top as they threatened the Milan goal with a few half chances. As the home side were pouring forward, they were caught on the beak as José Mari burst through with just the keeper to beat. He squared it to the unmarked Shevchenko who somehow managed to fail to control the ball when all he had to do was pass it in the empty net. This seemed to spur Shevchenko on who’d been very quiet all afternoon, this time he forced a fine save from Ferron as he left the Verona defence for dead.

The needle from the first half was still there and it was only a matter on time before it became eleven v ten as Roque Junior and Gilardino squared up this time. Moments later we would lose a player as Verona captain Luigi Apolloni received his second yellow card for a wild tackle as Milan pushed forward. It was probably a tackle worthy of a straight red. The game finished all square, a fair result in all honesty.

The two sides meet again this weekend at the Bentegodi and both will be hoping to build on victories recorded before the international break.

http://youtu.be/c6g0Gia-hO8

By Giovanni Dougall
@giovannid86

Filed under ac milan hellas verona shevchenko

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Remember when? Marcelo Salas v Juventus, 11th November 2000

Teams: Juventus v Lazio

Date: 11th November 2000
 
Goalscorer: Marcelo Salas

Location: Stadio delle Alpi, Turin

Sven-Göran Eriksson’s defending champions Lazio fell behind to one of their biggest title challengers. Carlo Ancelotti’s Juventus took the lead thanks to an Igor Tudor strike on the 22nd minute.
 
This lead however would only last a mere eight minutes as Lazio proved just why they were champions. Summer signing and the worlds most expensive player (€56m) Hernán Crespo combined well with new strike partner Marcelo Salas to equalise.
 
Alessio Tacchinardi would lose position in midfield as Juventus tried to attack, it would break to Diego Simeone just inside the Juventus half. He played a simple ball to Salas who, from 25 yards out turned as Crespo made a clever run. This made the Juventus centre halves think twice but the Chilean international decided against using the run of Crespo and decided to let fly himself.
 
He hit a powerful left foot shot which appeared to be going straight down Edwin Van Der Sar’s throat for a routine save but the big Dutchman uncharacteristically misjudged the shot and somehow dived out the way of the ball as it bounced off his legs and into the back of the net. This silenced the Juventus faithful inside the Stadio delle Alpi that night.
http://youtu.be/-WKFKeC4k2g
By Giovanni Dougall
@giovannid86

Filed under salas crespo van der saar juventus lazio

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Livorno at the double in Serie B

This week’s round up started in Tuscany as Livorno thrashed Trapani 6-0. The rout began with a 10th minute strike from striker Luca Siligardi.  The turning point in the game came in the 16th minute as Livorno were awarded a penalty, and as a result Trapani were down to 10 men when Francesco Lo Bue was given a straight red card.  Aniello Cutolo stepped it to make it 2-0, and the same man made it 3 on 24 minutes with a classy finish to wrong foot the keeper.


The points were wrapped up by half time but Livorno were showing no mercy.  Forward Daniele Vantaggiato scored a quick fire brace in make it 5-0.  The first was a header from a corner, the second a low drilled shot from outside the area.  Siligardi made it 6 with 10 minutes left to top off a thoroughly miserable day for Trapani.  The win moves Livorno upto 3rd, Trapani drop to 10th.

Game highlights - http://www.datasport.it/calcio/serie-b/tutti-gol-highlights-giornata.html
 
Virtus Lanciano also recorded an emphatic win, beating Vicenza 4-0 at home.  The home side took the lead on the stroke of half time, against the run of play,  through Antonio Piccolo.  Senegalese striker Mame Thiam made it 2, and then 3 nil to Lanciano.  His first was a smart finish inside the area and his second came after latching onto a low cross in the box.  Substitute Gaetano Monachello wrapped the game up, as Thiam unselfishly squared the ball and the sub slotted the ball home.  Lanciano move upto 7th,  Vicenza are 19th.

Game highlights - http://www.datasport.it/calcio/serie-b/tutti-gol-highlights-giornata.html
 
Perhaps the performance of the week came from Pescara, who scored four goals for the second week running.  This time it was away from home at Crotone.  
 
Pescara were 2 up by half time, with spectacular goals from Flavio Lazzari and Cristian Pasquato.  Ernesto Torregrossa gave the home fans something to cheer about, as he reduced the deficit with 20 minutes left.  But that joy was shortlived as Federico Melchiorri scored twice in the last 10 minutes to cap a fine away day.
http://www.datasport.it/calcio/serie-b/tutti-gol-highlights-giornata.html
 
Frosinone went to the top of the league, with 1-0 away win at fellow high flyers Perugia.  Both sides had chances to win in an end to end game, but it was the visitors who came away victorious with 89th minute winner from Federico Dionisi.  Dionisi’s shot squirmed under the body of Perugia keeper Koprivec, this was Perugia’s second defeat in a row and they drop to 4th place.
 
http://www.datasport.it/calcio/serie-b/tutti-gol-highlights-giornata.html
 
In the other games Avellino were 1-0 winners against Carpi, Bari won away 3-2 at struggling Catania.  Bologna also won away, 2-1 at Latina and Pro Vercelli beat Spezia 1-0.
 
Two games finished as draws. Modena 1-1 Brescia and Varese 2-2 Cittadella
Avellino         1 - 0    Carpi                          Attendance  8500
Catania         2 - 3    Bari                            Attendance 13864
Crotone         1 - 4    Pescara                    Attendance 4424
Latina            1 - 2    Bologna                    Attendance 5243
Livorno          6 - 0    Trapani                     Attendance 6442
Modena        1 - 1    Brescia                     Attendance 5172
Perugia         0 - 1    Frosinone                 Attendance 11392
Pro Vercelli   1 - 0    Spezia                     Attendance 3025
Varese           2 - 2    Cittadella                 Attendance 3110
Virtus Entella            Ternana                    Postponed
Virtus Lanciano 4 - 0 Vicenza                  Attendance 3009
 
Ian Such
@insearchofluca
 
 

Filed under livorno brescia carpi bari Serie B Spezia Catania

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The Gentleman Ultra’s alternative guide to the teams of Serie A: Napoli

STADIUM

San Paolo

Team: Napoli
Capacity: 60,240
Built: 1959
City: Napoli

The San Paolo is another one of Italy’s great stadiums that is shrouded in nostalgia and drama. It has seen the highs and lows of football in Italy, hosting Napoli games from Serie A to Serie C. Despite the faltering performances of the team over the years there has always been an ever present Neapolitan crowd in the San Paolo cheering the team on.

Even in Serie C they drew a crowd of 51,000 which stands as a record. It has always produced a hostile environment and has been at its very best as Napoli made their way into the Champions League. The San Paolo was often near full capacity and seemed to bring the entire city to a stand still on those hazy European nights.

One thing about this structure that is particularly nostalgic, is that it is heavily linked with Maradona at his best. The great Argentine plied his trade here for seven years and was nothing short of a demi god to the population of Naples. Even when he infamously asked the Neapolitans to support Argentina instead of Italy in the 1990 World Cup Semi final they still loved him. An interesting fact is that Italian law was the only thing preventing the renaming of the Stadium after Diego Maradona, as he needed to have been dead for ten years first.

The atmosphere in the stadium on match day is electric, the Neapolitans as a people are passionate to the extreme and lead by the Ultras they make the third biggest stadium in Italy a cauldron that is feared by away teams and loved like a church by its populas.

THE ULTRAS

Key Ultra Groups: CUCB (Commando Ultras Curva B), Ultras Napoli, Fedayn.

Other Ultra Groups: Masseria, Blue Tiger, Nucleo, Old Clan 91, South Boys, Cobra, Wanted, La Iene, Mastiffs, Teste Matte, Vecchi Lions, Brigata Carolina, Ultra Girls, Ladies Napoli

On the afternoon of May 1oth, 1987, a deathly quiet fell over the city of Naples. The streets were desolate, prompting Italian anthropologist Amalia Signorelli to write “The world had changed, the noisiest, most crowded and most chaotic city in Europe was deserted.”

But on occasion, murmurings could be heard. They were the cheers and jeers of the Stadio San Paolo. The world may not have changed, but S.S.C Napoli were on the brink of winning their first Serie A title in 61-years. A 1-1 draw with Fiorentina secured Napoli’s triumph. The city erupted. Exultant Neapolitan’s poured onto the streets. Days of partying began.  Fans danced on rooftops, fireworks exploded, cars and buildings were draped in sky blue.

In his book, Calcio, John Foot observed that “During the celebrations, Napoli fans displayed all the classic traits of what has become known as the Neapolitan ‘character’: irony, parody and a sense of the macabre, obscenity and blasphemy.” On the walls of the city’s graveyard, graffiti appeared in vernacular ‘Guagliu! E che ve sit pers!’, ‘Guys! You don’t know what you are missing.’ Satirical funerals were arranged for Juventus. The supporters paid homage to their heroes and one man stood above all others as the saviour of Naples – Diego Armando Maradona.

The use of religiously infused language here is no coincidence. To this day, Maradona is awarded god like status in the city. During the Argentinian’s spell at Napoli the club won their only two Scudetti as well as a UEFA Cup in 1989. This prompted cult like adoration. Thousands of babies were named Diego or even Diega while streets and neighbourhoods also took the revered name. Murals were made comparing him to the city’s patron saint San Gennaro. One even depicted him in the arms of the saint himself.

His humble background and ‘rebellious’ nature struck a chord with the Napoletani. His passion, volatility and footballing genius reflected Neapolitan character. In a sense, Maradona became an adopted son of Naples.

But perhaps more importantly, the Argentinian had helped Napoli break the overwhelming dominance established by the affluent Northern trio of Juventus, AC Milan and Inter. At a time when the hostile, anti-southern politics of northern regionalist parties such as Lega Nord were taking hold in the terraces of northern clubs, Maradona restored pride to the ‘downtrodden’ city of Naples. The Napoletani now had a riposte to the anti-Neapolitan rhetoric. It was smug and simple: ‘May 1987, the other Italy has been defeated, a new empire is born.’ And Napoli’s fanatical support still revel in the memories of a time when the giants of the North were humbled by a resurgent Naples.

The Partenopei are the fourth-best-supported team in Italy and their following also extends to various corners of the globe. According to Italian sports journalist Domenico Carratelli, Napoli is a club that “…brings people together from all walks of life, rich and poor alike. It is the people’s team.” Surprisingly, barring their transient success in the late 1980’s, there is a paucity of major honours. Nevertheless, this has rarely detracted from the devotion of their support and even after the club went bankrupt and were relegated to Serie C1 back in 2004, they broke divisional records for attendance, with numbers in excess of 50,000. One urban myth claims that the roar of the crowd celebrating a Napoli goal at the San Paolo has occasionally been registered on the seismographs at the cities Federico II University.

The story of Napoli’s Ultras is perhaps best summarised as a tale of two Curva’s, Curva A (the north bend) and Curva B (the south). Over time,  the Curva A has assumed a more prominent role and has been home to a variety of groups including: Mastiffs, Vecchi Lions, Teste Matte and Brigata Carolina. Yet, a divide has always characterised the relationship between Curva A and B, with the former being notoriously riotous and the latter more ‘tranquil’. This, however, only serves to rouse one of the most charged atmospheres in Serie A.

The Azzurri’s first Ultra group to create match-day choreographies were the Commandos Ultras Curva B (CUCB). Founded in 1972 by Gennaro Montuori, AKA ‘Palummella’, the group quickly established themselves by creating their own newspaper and television programme. During their existence, CUCB allegedly denounced violence, a sentiment reflected in a banner they unveiled back in the 1980’s: ‘Violence divides us, our passion unites us.’ According to Signorelli, who authored Popular Culture in Naples,  this period also saw the inception of women’s Ultra groups, including Ultra Girls and Ladies Napoli, the latter formed by University lecturers. 

Unsurprisingly, the CUCB ‘glory days’ came during the Azzurri’s Scudetto winning years. The archaic San Paolo would bounce to the rhythm of ‘Porompompero’ while the Ultras ubiquitous presence at away games would ensure that a pocket of an Italian stadium would be transformed into a mini-Naples for the afternoon.

However the departure of ‘Palummella’, supposedly due to the death of his brother, caused CUCB to disband. As a result Fedayn (1979) and Ultras Napoli monopolised the Curva B. The two have lived an uncomfortable coexistence, with both refusing to chant in tandem. Fedayn’s more belligerent reputation saw them receive an invitation to join the Curva A, their slogan ‘Estranei alla Massa’ – ‘Outside the Norm’ encapsulating their intransigence. Indeed the Fedayn’s reputation makes the Curva B’s more ‘serene’ tag somewhat risible.

While Napoli’s ultras have often declared themselves apolitical, the historic and cultural divide between North and South has dictated some of their fiercest rivalries. Historian Nicholas Doumanis, has argued that the northern and southern halves of Italy appear in social, cultural and economic terms to be two very different countries. Parties like Lega Nord have even advocated secession from the south altogether. The Napoletani are frequently subjected to territorial discrimination and insults range from the city being destroyed by their neighbouring volcano Vesuvius, to the people being dirty and carrying cholera. Fixtures against Juventus, Hellas Verona, AC Milan and Inter are particularly explosive.

That said, irony is not lost on the Neapolitans and regional rivalries can always be put to one side when there is a chance to decry the Italian authorities. Thus when supporters of their Northern foes were hit with stadium bans for territorial discrimination during the 2013/14 Serie A season, the Partenopei faithful mocked the Italian Football Federation’s decisions with a banner reading “[We are] Naples cholera-sufferers. Now close our curva!” 

For all this bravado, these rivalries also reveal the more sinister elements of Italian football and Napoli’s ultras have been involved in some deplorable violence. On May 3rd, 2014, people tuned into the Coppa Italia final between Napoli and Fiorentina only to witness scenes of anarchy and chaos. Violent clashes between opposition fans had delayed the games kick-off. Three Napoli fans were hospitalised. One, Ciro Esposito, would die from gunshot wounds after weeks in a critical condition.

It later emerged that the Napoletani had clashed with A.S. Roma fans, despite the Giallorossi not even participating in the final. A Roma ultra, Daniele De Santis, was later charged with the death of Esposito. There is no love lost between Napoli and Roma, a game which according to a life-long Napoli fan, is one of the most hostile in Italy because unlike their Northern rivals, their hatred is concentrated solely on football.

The other enduring image was that of, Gennaro De Tommaso, also known as Genny ‘the swine’. Said to be an Ultras leader in the Curva A, reports circulated that he was the man charged with talking to Napoli captain, Marek Hamsik, about having the game postponed as rumours swept the stadium that Esposito had died. The game went ahead and Rome’s police commissioner would later deny there had been any negotiation. Massimo Mazza claimed police had merely asked Hamsik to inform the fans of Esposito’s condition.

Having already been banned from attending stadiums for five years, De Tommaso was arrested in September along with four other Ultras for their involvement in the Coppa Italia final, with charges including ‘throwing hazardous materials and invasion of a pitch at a sporting event.’ The incident made for a chilling spectacle and people like De Tommaso bring shame upon Il Calcio.

While Napoli’s Ultras cannot be held accountable for the actions of mindless individuals, their violent reputation is not fabricated. Thus one is left at odds. On the one hand there is no place for such criminal behaviour, let alone in football. On the other, without the Ultras we wouldn’t enjoy the moments that make spines tingle and hairs stand on end. Moments such as the famed repetition of ‘Gonzalooo Higuaín’ nine times while the decrepit walls of the Stadio San Paolo shudder.

The famous expression: ‘See Naples and die’ portrays the beauty and excitement of this city. After playing against Napoli for Manchester City, Ivory Coast midfielder Yaya Toure observed that the relationship between the Napoletani and their team was visceral, comparable to the love shown between a mother and her son. It is this passion that produces one of the most awe-inspiring yet intimidating atmospheres in European football.

CLASSIC PLAYER

There is no debate about the fact that Maradona was the greatest player to ever play for Napoli. He was also a monumental reason for their success in that era. It should not be forgotten however, that others played their role to and in the late eighties and early nineties nobody did this more than Brazilian forward Careca

Part of the “Ma-Gi-Ca” trio of Bruno Giordano and Diego Maradona, Careca became a legend in Naples.

The Brazilian joined the Scudetto winning squad in 1987 and scored 13 goals in his first season. The Neapolitans and Careca then went on a whirlwind romance as he helped them to a UEFA Cup in 1989, a Scudetto in 1990 and a SuperCoppa Italiano in 1991. His career spanned five years and 164 games in which he scored 73 goals.

As a player Careca was one of the best at his trade. If there was a dealership for Brazilian center forwards, he would have been the model in the window. He had pace in abundance and he managed to intertwine this with breath taking skill. Tricks and flicks were not all he possessed and despite the numerous times he rounded the keeper on one on one situations, he was also known as a poacher. With a superb leap and great heading ability he was deadly from six yards and many of his goals came from inside the box. He could however, unleash a venomous strike from distance (just ask Walter Zenga)

The love felt for Careca amongst the Napoli fans was overwhelming. On February 23, 1999, he played his testimonial at the San Paolo stadium. More than 50,000 Neapolitans came to see this farewell match and it was no surprise that he chose to do this in Naples and not Brazil.

 During the match the crowd  slipped into delirium screaming his name and singing the famous song dedicated to him: "O Carè, Carè, Carè, tira la bomba, tira la bomba…" (come on, Careca, Careca, Careca, throw the bomb, throw the bomb…).

At the time of the game Napoli were going through a terrible spell and fans of all ages were taken back to an almost mythical time. Despite being less than a decade previous they remembered nostalgically the goals from the famous Brazilian.

Maradona may have been their God but Careca had helped create him. Countless times it was he who finished off the moves put together by the genius of the Argentinian. It could even be argued that Maradona may not have been able to achieve what he did in Naples without the talent of this Brazilian vulture leading the Neapolitan forward line.

When Calcio ruled the Careca was having the time of his life when he ‘threw the bomb’, the San Paolo exploded.

Follow me on Twitter

Richard Hall @Gentleman_Ultra

Filed under Naples Napoli Ultras San Paolo Maradona Careca

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Controversy Rains in Girone B.

A controversial game in Girone B this weeks round as a weather affected game between Pontedera and Savona caused the main talking point.

 But Girone A is where we start and game of the weekend came between Como and Pro Patria at Stadio Giuseppe Sinigaglia.

The away side paid for a collapse and despite going 0-3 up after 37 minutes thanks to a brace from Andrea D’Errico and a goal from Matteo Serafini couldn’t secure a win, goals from Gabriele Roland and Giovanna Fietta brought Como back into the game. A red card for Pro Patria’s Allan Baclet gave Como the incentive to keep going for the win and goals from Edoardo Defendi and Giuseppe Le Noci completed an amazing turn around for Como with the added reward of going top of the table.

 Bassano Virtus slipped to second spot after drawing 1-1 away at Novara who are having a inconsistent season so far.

 Arezzo got back to winning ways beating Pordenone 1-0 at home, Horacio Erpen with the winner in the last ten minutes as Pordenone finished the game with 9 men and remain bottom.

 Renate travelled to Sudtirol and despite having Leonardo Muchetti sent off with 30 minutes remaining found a winner to take the points with a 1-2 win.

 Cremonese welcomed Alessandria to the Stadio Giovanni Zini and had to settle for a point despite taking the lead as the away side levelled just before half-time and neither side found a winner in the second half.

 Real Vicenza are up to third and level on points with the top two after an away win over Lummezzane thanks to a 85th minute winner from Emanuele Bardelloni to secure a 1-2 win.

 Mantova had a comfortable home win over Pavia as they ran out 3-0 winners.

 Giana Erminio had a Recino penalty to thank for their 1-0 home win over Torres.

 Monza had a good away day as they went to Venezia and came away with a 0-1 win as they move up to 6th place and in the only goalless game of the group FeralpiSalo gained an away point at Albinoleffe.

 Girone B

A controversial game as weather caused mayhem between Pontedera and Savona at the Stadio Ettore Mannucci and clashing fans did not make for an enjoyable night.

The referee took the players off the field due to heavy rain 19 minutes into the first half with Savona leading with a Stefano Scappini penalty, the game was then suspended for almost 90 minutes.

Play was able to resume thanks to the artificial pitch and with the time heading towards midnight a late equaliser from Luigi Grassi meant both sides had lots to complain about but a point as consolation.

 

SPAL lost top spot as they could only muster a 0-0 home draw with Teramo.

 Reggiana took advantage of that result and went top thanks to a Nicholas Siega goal away at SantarcangeLo.

 Pisa travelled to Ascoli and despite Rachid Arma’s seventh goal of the season could not hold on as Leonardo Perez grabbed his 5th of the campaign to secure a point.

 Pro Piacenza hosted Prato and Carrarese welcomed Gubbio and both games ended level with each side finding a goal but not a clean sheet as 1-1 was the order of the day.

 Pistoiese came from a goal down to beat visitors San Marino 2-1 with Alessandro Romeo scoring 12 minutes from time to gain the points.

 No goals and no wins in the last three games for Lucchese as they lost away at L’Aquila.

Forli at home to Ancona had only a Fabio Catacchini consolation for the home fans to cheer as they lost 1-2.

 Grosseto unbeaten since they lost the opening game of the season failed to make home advantage work as they drew 2-2 with Tuttocuoio.

 Girone C.

Salernitana and Benevento continue to set the pace at the top of Girone C, both sides remain level on points after securing wins with Salernitana beating Savio 2-0 at home.

Benevento kept pace with a good 0-1 away win at Barletta thanks to a Alessandro Marotta goal.

Lecce in 9th place but only four points off the top spot had a comfortable 2-0 home win over Casertana.

Bottom side Martina secured a hard fought goalless draw away at Lupa Roma but still remain winless.

Aversa and Cosenza also both winless this season could only manage home draws, both teams failed to close the gap on fellow strugglers Melfi who will consider an away point to Aversa a good result as will Paganese who drew 1-1 away to Cosenza.

Foggia had a good away day at Ischia thanks to a Guillaume Cavallaro brace with helped to secure a 1-3 win.

Matera remain in third position with a 1-0 win over Reggina thanks to a late Diego Albadoro goal.

Messina’s mini revival continues with a 1-1 draw away at Juve Stabia, and Vigor Lamezia had a last minute winner from Pietro Voltasio to be thankful for as they beat visitors Catanzaro 2-1.

 By Mark Neale  @neale_mark

Filed under como lega [ro mantova cantanzaro juve stabia messina

9 notes

Pride, passion and tears: The Italians 1990 World Cup campaign

Nostalgia is a term that describes sentimentality. It comes from the Greek words ‘nostos and algos’ which in turn means ‘home coming’ and ‘pain or ache’. It is easy to look back at the World Cup in Italy in 1990 and remember Puccini’s ‘Nessun Dorma’ and the incredible job done by the Italian nation as a whole. Many declare it was the intensity of these emotions that make it one of the greatest tournaments ever to be staged and that was in a large part down to the Azzurri.

Luciano Pavarotti’s ‘None shall sleep’, was instilled in the hearts of many through those obsolete televisions in the 90’s. During the tournament this was the case for many, as although the football was not always exciting, it did leave foreign viewers mesmerised by the end spectacle and many tried to watch every game.

The build-up itself for the Italians however, was perhaps somewhat more testing. A familiar pattern of public money going into the spider’s web of Italian local authorities saw left many stadiums unfinished. This continued right up until the kick off dates were close.

The Italians also had to endure, or enjoy (depending on your take) a rather different tune. Un Estate Italiana by Gianna Nannini and Edoardo Bennato was certainly a song best reviewed by the bemused Italian public on the opening day in Milan, only the Mascot ‘Ciao’ seemed to enjoy it. With that all said and the home nation were more concerned about on field problems and no amount of musical accompaniment, late stadium developments or Coca Cola footballs featuring Ciao, could turn them away from this.

Italy had been chosen to host the World Cup after beating off a rival bid from the Soviet Union. The vote was conducted in 1984, after smaller and less impressive bids by England and Greece had been already been dismissed. This meant Italy would not feature in a qualifying campaign and as hosts would have to play warm up games instead.

Coach Azeglio Vicini had an array of talent to choose from as Serie A continued to dominate world football at this time. His problem came when he looked at his forward options. Despite being able to boast a front two of Gianluca Vialli (Sampdoria) and Andrea Carnevale (Napoli) he had to admit that two goals in their seven pre-tournament friendlies was far from good enough.  The rest of the world had his team seeded as favourites to win the competition but somehow it seemed stale. Something needed to change.

Italian football at the time was at the height of its powers. Napoli had Maradona and Careca and had only recently won the Scudetto, whilst Marco Van Basten, Ruud Gullit and Frank Rijkaard all played for Milan. Inter too boasted Lothar Matthaus, Jurgen Klinsmann and Andreas Brehme, whilst Fiorentina had Roberto Baggio and Roma Giuseppe Giannini. This was only small percentage of the immense amount of talent that ran through the division’s veins. Vicini needed a goal scorer still and very soon he would find one.

The Italian team was soon finalised and on paper it looked as strong as any in the tournament. The goalkeeping position was filled by the incredibly talented Walter Zenga from Inter, whilst the veteran Stefano Tacconi backed him up. In defence they looked formidable, after all this was the age where the Italians were defined by the art. Franco Baresi (Milan), Captain Giuseppe Bergomi (Inter), Circo Ferrara (Napoli), Riccardo Ferri (Inter) and the young Paolo Maldini made up the majority of it.

Midfield saw Fernando De Napoli (Napoli), Nicola Berti (Inter), Giuseppe Giannini (Roma) mixed with Carlo Ancelotti and Roberto Donadoni of Milan. Roberto Baggio would play in an undefined role whilst the lack lustre Gianluca Vialli and Andrea Carnevarle would be supplemented by the equally goal shy (on a national level) Roberto Mancini (Sampdoria) and Aldo Serena (Inter). The final choice in the forward department was Juventus’s 25 year old Slavatore Schillachi. With only one cap to his name he was the shock inclusion in the side as after seven seasons in Serie B the Sicilian had come up to net 15 goals in his first season with Juventus.

Italy were put in group that featured the unpredictable Czechoslovakia, the minnows USA and the dark horses Austria. They would play all their games in the Stadio Olimpico in Rome and were strongly predicted to romp through their group. The rest of the games would be played in Florence in the then named Stadio Comunale but it would be in the Eternal City that the group would get underway.

Italy faced Austria to a fanfare of nationalistic fervour and euphoric optimism. The warm up games were long out of the mind and the hosts were expected to push aside the Germanic upstarts with incredible ease. Vicini kept faith with Vialli and Carnevale but this proved misguided as the Austrians were a match for them. Boasting players like Toni Polster, Andreas Herzog and keeper Klaus Lindenberger they had scared the hosts more than once. On 74 minutes Carnevale was brought off for the ‘wild card’ Schillachi. Four minutes later he would change the game. Donadoni started the move with a superb pass, Vialli made the crucial cross and Schilachi headed it passed a helpless Lindenberger. The crowd erupted and the little forward ran to the corner flag, arms aloft, eyes wide with that definitive Sicilian stare. It was a winning start, next up USA.

The USA came to Italy with few fans and even fewer hopes. This being said Italy fond them hard to break down and despite an early goal the Americans put up a defiant display. Only eleven minutes were on the clock when a superb ball in saw Carnevale jump over the ball, this splendid dummy allowed Giannini tip toe past the American defence, before firing home passed Tony Meola. After this many in the Stadio Olimpico expected more but the USA managed to defend with more vigour and surprisingly kept the score down to 1-0. Italy however marched on with two wins behind them.

Schillachi was handed a start against the Czechs after coming on again as a sub against the USA. The Eastern Europeans boasted players to be wary of, like Sparta Pragues Tomas Skuhravy and Michal Bilek. Even so, Italy now already through to the next round, decided to take their foot off the gas for the first time. Baggio too got his first start of the competition and the nation held its breath as their favourite took to the field. It was Schillachi however, who caused the early problem and after nine minutes a cleared corner was miss hit back into the box by Berti. Schillachi managed get on the end and of it and head home for the opener. The Roman crowd though, would leave the Olimpico talking on only one thing that night and that would be Italy’s second goal from Baggio. This goal was perhaps one of the best of the whole World Cup. It saw him pick the ball up from deep, he shimmied passed a defender, then a one-two with Donadoni, two more defenders fell in his wake, before he slotted the ball passed Jan Stejskal and collapsed in ecstasy. It was an ice cool finish, topped off with white hot celebrations.  Three qualifying games completed, three wins behind them and Baggio mania was in full swing.

Uruguay faced Italy next in the second round also in Rome but by now many Italians felt like fate had one hand on the trophy for them. The South Americans promised to be a match for them, especially with front players, such as Daniel Fonseca, Carlos Aguilera, Ruben Sosa and Captain, Enzo Franchescoli. The game itself was defined by the little Sicilian again when a long kick from Zenga found Baggio. His deft control found Serena, his delightful through ball found Schillachi who smashed it from twenty yards with such power that it dipped easily over Penarol’s Fernando Álvez.

The second was not long coming and would also feature Serena. This time Giannini turned provider crossing in from a free kick. Serena was on hand to head home on his 30th birthday and cap off a superb display by the Inter man.

The quarter finals saw Italy in Rome again hosting ‘Big Jack Charltons’ Ireland. The Irish has made the World Cup a colourful display but despite a visit to St Peters and The Pope, it was not to be. The biggest compliment to be given to the Irish is that they helped nullify Italy for long periods of the game making into a dull affair. That was until the 38th minute when the ball was beautifully moved between Giannini then Baggio before falling to Donadoni . His strike was only parried by Paddy Bonner who fell in the process, the ball was met by who else but Schillachi. He threaded the ball home through the eye of a needle. Italy would proceed to the Semi Finals still without conceding a goal.

The semi-final would take place in Naples, home of Maradona who of course played for Napoli. The Argentine even tried to persuade the Neapolitans to cheer for Argentina as his rhetoric denounced Italy as not classing the Naples born citizens as Italian.  Italy though had one hand on the trophy and looked towards Schillachi as the Semi- Finals loomed, after all they had not conceded a goal and Argentina were less than convincing.

This feeling of optimism seemed to be well thought as on 17 minutes Schillachi picked up the ball on the left hand side and started to weave his magic. Donadoni found Baggio who flicked the ball up in the air, then Vialli’s close range shot was only parried by Sergio Goycochea, who else but the little Sicilian was there to finish it off. The tough little striker from Sicily was hardly recognised before the World Cup but now with this goal he was joint top scorer with five.

In the second half the unthinkable happened. Italy conceded their first goal of the tournament. Maradona who had done little in the tournament played the ball out to Julio Olarticoechea, he provided a cross for Atalanta’s Claudio Caniggia. The long blonde haired forward had no right to win this but Walter Zenga who had been impeccable all World Cup, came charging out and was too late to punch. 1-1 and the game would go to extra time.

Extra time, exciting as it was, inevitably ended up in a penalty shootout. Franco Baresi, Roberto Baggio and Luigi De Agostini scored for Italy.  Jose Serrizuela, Jorge Burruchaga and Julio Olarticoechea replied for Argentina. Roberto Donadoni saw his spot kick saved by Goycochea, whilst Maradona scored. The final penalty fell to Aldo Serena, he stepped up but it was saved in style by Argentina’s new hero. Italy, were out.

Consolation, if that what it was, was found for England and Italy in a match for third and fourth place in Bari. It was Peter Shilton’s last International and sadly a man who performed with distinction and for the most part since his debut in was left with an embarrassed finale.

From a back pass Shilton’s concentration wavered as he went to pick up the ball, Roberto Baggio took full advantage stole it off him and played a one two with Schillaci before scoring for Italy. Steve McMahon had passed back but Shilton for once was unaware of everything around him, Schillaci sneaked in supported by Baggio, England went a goal down.

Not for the first time however, Bobby Robsons men rallied with spirit and with ten minutes remaining, left full back Tony Dorigo’s cross opened up another chance for David Platt. He towered to thump a commanding header past Walter Zenga, it was 1-1. Platt had scored against Belgium Cameroon and now Italy had established himself as one of England players of the future.

Italy did not lie down and four minutes later they regained their lead. Paul Parker was adjudged to have fouled Schillaci just inside the penalty area. The penalty was awarded and the Italians decided to give Schillaci the chance of scoring another goal that would take him to a total of six and the opportunity of finishing the World Cups top scorer. Schillaci obliged, Italy finished third and England fourth.

Schillachi had finished tip scorer with six goals at Italia 90 and for the short time he had great hopes. Italy had only conceded one goal and in truth the tournament had come down to one moments lapse of concentration when other teams had got away with so many. It was a cruel blow for a team that many saw as the best in the competition.

Italy had had their ‘home coming’ and their ‘pain or ache’ and so in an apt way this falls into the category of nostalgia. Not least in the talent this team produced but also to the heights the individuals would go to in the future.

As Puccini predicted and Pavarotti sang: "Dilegua, o notte! Tramontate, stelle! Tramontate, stelle! All’alba vincerò! Vincerò! Vincerò!"

"Vanish, o night! Fade, you stars! Fade, you stars! At dawn, I will win! I will win! I will win!”

By Richard Hall (Creator of The Gentleman Ultra)

Follow me on Twitter @Gentleman_Ultra

Filed under italia 90 ciao rome naples baggio Schillaci baresi

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Ten man Bassono Virtus beat Arezzo

Fans of Lega Pro had the pleasure of enjoying at least a goal in every game this weekend as no games through the three divisions ended goalless.

Girone A

Game of the week this week in Girone A came at the Stadio Rino Mercante where Bassono Virtus entertained Arezzo in a top of the table clash. It was the home team who grabbed the points handing Arezzo their first league defeat of the season but left it late to do so, Angelo Rafaele Nole gave Bassano the lead in the 51st minute and despite having Francesco Millesi sent off in the 73rd minute Arrezo must have thought they’d done enough so secure a point when Horacio Erpen converted a penalty only for Tommy Maistrello to score in time added on to secure the points and retain top spot for Bassano.

Como move into second place after a 2-0 away win at FeralpiSalò.

Real Vincenza move into third place as the secured a 2-0 home win over Venezia, Monza beat visitors Giana Erminio and Torres secured a home win over Novara all by the same score line 2-0.

Pro Patria hosted bottom side Mantova and Alessandria welcomed Sudtirol with both games ending in 2-2 draws.

Pavia waited until the last minute to beat AlbinoLeffe as Matteo Romanini scored the winner in a 2-1 win.

A game of two penalties at either end of the match when Renate welcomed Lumezzane, the away side took the lead in the fourth minute through Fausto Ferrari then in the fourth minute of stoppage time Damian Florian converted his penalty in a 1-1 draw.

Pordenone finally got their first win of the season and in front of their home fans as they beat Cremonese 1-0.

 Girone B.

In Girone B the classic Italian 1-0 result was the order of the weekend with seven of the ten games ending with that score line.

Teramo lost top spot as they lost at home to L’Aquila, SPAL took advantage as they won away at San   Marino. Ascoli had an away win over Savona, Forli had a home win over Pistoiese as did Reggiana over Pro Piacenza who failed to build upon their win over Pisa in the last round. Gubbio and Carrarese both had away wins over Prato and Lucchese respectively all by the classic 1-0 score.

Pisa failed to take advantage of Teramo’s loss as they conceded an 92nd minute equaliser at home to Pontedera.

Grosseto travelled to Ancona and made the trip worthwhile beating their hosts 2-0 and in the highest scoring
game of the weekend in Girone B Tuttocuoio beat visitors SantarcangeLo 2-1.

Girone C.

Three teams remain winless and two teams remain unbeaten after this round and finally Messina fans had something to cheer about.

After a horrendous run of results Messina finally gave their fans something to cheer about as they welcomed Lecce to Scilly. But fans of the Giallorossi  must have feared the worst when Davide Moscardelli put the side from Puglia ahead in the fourth minute, a second half turn around thanks to goals from Luca Orlando, Giorgio Corona and Vincenzo Pepe secured a much needed confidence building win.

Benevento and Salernitana remain unbeaten so far this campaign but both had to settle for away draws, Benevento remain top despite drawing with Melfi and Salernitana failed to capitalize as they drew with Foggia.

Not much fun being a fan of Martina, Cosenza or Aversa, as yet they have not registered a win and all three suffered defeat again this round.

Martina remain bottom as they lost at home to Vigor Lamezia 2-1.

Cosenza were well beaten at Reggina as Roberto Insinge helped himself to a hat-trick as the home team won 3-0.

Aversa faired no better as they went to Catanzaro and lost 2-0.

Savoia welcomed Ischia and both teams reamin on the same points and in mid-table thanks to a 1-1 draw.

Casertana welcomed  Matera and won 1-0, the home side move up to third as they took away Matera’s unbeaten record.

Juve Stabia and Lupa Roma join Casertana and Catanzaro on 14 points in a tight division where the top eight are only separated but three points, Juve Stabia beat hosts Paganese 1-0 thanks to a last minute Evans Osei goal whilst Lupa Roma had a comfortable 2-0 home win over Barletta.

By Mark Neale  @neale_mark

 

Filed under lega pro bassono virtus arezzo como vicenza mantova sud tirol

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Classic Calcio Kit: Roma 2000/2001

Home Kit

Make: Kappa

Sponsor: INA Assitalia

Worn by players such as Hidetoshi Nakata, Damiano Tommasi, Cafu, Gabriel Batistuta, Marco Delvecchio and Francesco Totti.



Fact - This iconic shirt was worn in Roma’s most memorable season of recent times. Fabio Capello lead the Giallorossi to their third Scudetto, their first in seventeen years.

At the start of the 2000/2001 season it was Roma’s bitter rivals Lazio who started the season as defending champions. This year president Franco Sensi splashed the cash and in the summer of 2000 he strengthened the side brining in Argentine defender Walter Samuel to shore up the defence. He also purchased of one of the worlds best strikers in Gabriel Batistuta from Serie A rivals Fiorentina.

The two South Americans were seen as the final pieces of Capello’s jigsaw, as he already had the world class talents of Cafú, Vincenzo Montella and captain Francesco Totti to name but a few.

Capello guided his Roma side to the last sixteen in both the UEFA Cup
and Coppa Italia but it was the last match of the season (when Roma beat Parma), that Capello, thanks to the goals of Francesco Totti, Vincenzo Montella and top scorer Gabriel Batistuta, clinched the Scudetto.

By Giovanni Dougall
@giovannid86

Filed under roma totti batistuta Samuel Statio Olimpico Capello

1 note

Pescara are rampent against struggling Virtus Entella

There were a lot of mean defences on show in Serie B last weekend, as eight teams managed to keep clean sheets.  The Game of the Day was at the Stadio Adriatico in Pescara, as they recorded their first victory of the season with an emphatic 4-0 victory against fellow strugglers Virtus Entella.


Riccardo Maniero was the hero with a hat-trick.  He opened the scoring after 36 minutes from the penalty spot, after Entella defender Leandro Rinaudo was given a straight red card for striking Maniero in the area.  His second came after 52 minutes, latching onto a Bjarnason header and firing past Paroni in the Entella goal.

His hat-trick was sealed after disposing Russo inside the Entella box as the visitors tried to play their way out of trouble.  The goal of the game, though, was the fourth goal, which came after 82 minutes.  A shot from outside the box from Cristian Pasquato nestled into the bottom corner to round off a great day for the home side.  

Highlights - http://www.datasport.it/calcio/serie-b/tutti-gol-highlights-giornata.html

Virtus Lanciano came out on top in their game away at Cittadella by 3 goals to 2.   It was the home side who took the lead after 8 minutes through captain Claudio Coralli’s header.  Lanciano took control of game through veteran midfielder Gaetano Vastola who scored a quick fire brace.  His first, on 12 minutes, levelled the scores and he put the visitors in front on 19 minutes with a bullet header from a corner.  

Substitute Nicola Rigoni levelled for Cittadella just past the hour mark with a fine header, but it was Vastola who sealed the win six minutes from time as he pounced on a mistake by the keeper to head home into an empty net.  
 
http://www.datasport.it/calcio/serie-b/tutti-gol-highlights-giornata.html

Spezia ended Perugia’s unbeaten record with a 2-0 home win.  Croatian striker Mario Situm scored his first goal for his new club following his summer move from Lokomotiva Zagreb after 14 minutes. The win was finally sealed in the 86th minute, with Perugia down to 9 men after Nicco and Taddei were sent off.  Yuri Cisotti slotted the ball home to help move Spezia upto 10th place.  Despite the defeat Perugia are still top of the league.
 
http://www.datasport.it/calcio/serie-b/tutti-gol-highlights-giornata.html 

Elsewhere Frosinone’s great start continued as they beat Catania 1-0. The win moves Frosinone upto 2nd place, whilst the defeat for Catania drops them into the bottom 4.  Livorno beat Crotone 1-0 at home.  Trapani were also 1-0 victors against Latina.   Another 1-0 win this weekend saw Carpi see off the challenge of Pro Vercelli.

In the best of the rest, Bari and Modena played out a 1-1 draw.  Brescia and Varese finished with the same scoreline.  Ternana and Avellino played out a 2-2 draw, whilst this week’s goalless draw was between Vicenza and Bologna.
Bari 1-1 Modena                            Attendance 13, 865
Brescia 1-1 Varese                       Attendance 5,079
Carpi 1-0 Pro Vercelli                   Attendance 2,120
Cittadella 2-3 Virtus Lanciano      Attendance 2,072
Frosinone 1-0 Catania                  Attendance 5,007
Livorno 1-0 Crotone                      Attendance 5,883
Pescara 4-0 Virtus Entella           Attendance 9,347
Spezia 2-0 Perugia                      Attendance 6,420
Ternana 2-2 Avellino                     Attendance N/K
Trapani 1-0 Latina                        Attendance 4,154
Vicenza 0-0 Bologna                    Attendance 8,358
By Ian Such @insearchofluca

Filed under bari modena pescara bologna Serie B Latina

1 note

Remember when? 2006/07 Fiorentina 2-3 Inter

Nerazzurri Classics

2006/07  Fiorentina 2-3 Inter

‘Opening day delight for Cambiasso’

The beautiful city of Florence may hold a plethora of delights for most visitors but for Inter this is not the case. Whilst tourists revel in the opulent renaissance city, drinking by the River Arno or strolling through the Boboli gardens, the Nerazzurri have had a much more Machiavellian experience.

Wins (or even draws) have been hard to come by over the last 20 year. Thus, when the Milanese giants found out that they would be facing a Viola team consisting of players like Adrian Mutu, Giampaolo Pazzini and Luca Toni on the opening day, this did not instil confidence.

Inter were not short of quality and with Adriano, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Patrick Vieira and Luis Figo surrounding the embryo of the 2010 treble winning team, the game promised much.

A warm Tuscan evening in the Stadio Artemio Franchi provided an ideal setting for the match to take place. Inter started the match quickly and soon had a hold on the match. Maicon powered down the right hand side after only 11 minutes. His ball into the box found Ibrahimovic who waited until the last possible moment before knocking the ball wide to Esteban Cambiasso who drove low past Sebastien Frey.

Fiorentina responded well as Mutu hit the post but Inter were desperate to take hold of the game and on the 41st minute they doubled their lead. Amazingly it was Cambiasso again, unmarked at the far post he headed in a cross from Hernan Crespo. The Argentine celebrating with a look of disbelief on his face, a feeling shared by his team mates.

The second half started as the first had left off with the Nerazzurri pressing high and creating most of the chances. The third came on the on the 61st and once again involved Cambiasso. His delectable through ball was lobbed over the Florentine defence, it fell perfectly to the feet of Ibrahimovic who rifled home a powerful volley passed a despairing Frey in the Viola goal.

Inter looked home and dry and the season was looking bright as Inter continued to press. A mistake by Maicon on the right hand side seven minutes later however, saw Manuele Blasi whip in a cross for Luca Toni to head home from close range. The Milanese had switched off but there was no time for a comeback, was there?

The Nerazzurri obviously did not anticipate a late Viola surge and the defending began to seem laboured. Luca Toni nearly scored with a superb scissor kick moments later and the warning signs were there.

With eleven minutes still to play Reginaldo powered down the left and swung in a low ball that was met powerfully by the head of Luca Toni once again. This sent shock waves through everybody representing Inter as there was still time on the clock and Fiorentina were in the ascendency.

Despite the late lapse at the back the Nerazzurri had done enough in  the first half to secure the victory, although once again the trip to Florence had be fraught with danger. Thanks to Cambiasso the opening day had been a success and Inter would go on to win the Scudetto. Fiorentina finished a respectable sixth due to their indomitable spirit and persistence.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ux4R73nBG_U

2006/07  Fiorentina 2-3 Inter

 By Richard Hall @Gentleman_Ultra

Filed under fiorentina inter Zlatan Serie A Cambiasso Luca Toni

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Remember when? Juventus v Roma 15th February 1997

Location: Stadio delle Alpi, Turin


The unpopular Stadio delle Alpi was almost full as two of Italy’s biggest clubs prepared to go toe to toe.
 
Marcello Lippi’s European Champions welcomed a struggling Roma side to Turin for this ‘Round 24’ fixture. Brimming with confidence Juventus they sat top of Serie A and were impressing in Europe once again. It was the new summer signing Zinedine Zidane who was the architect to this success.
 
It would be the talented Frenchman who would set the tone for the afternoon as he bossed the midfield in the opening exchanges. It was Zidane’s deep cross that nearly gave Juventus the lead as Roma’s Giovanni Cervone knocked the ball into the path of Didier Deschamps, he fired it off Vincent Candela for a corner. Juventus would take a well deserved early lead with some superb link up play as Nicola Amoruso played a beautiful one - two with fellow strike partner Christian Vieri. It was a move that would see the fresh faced Vieri open the scoring with a fine strike past Cervone.
 
Roma tried to get back into the game but were being bullied in the midfield by the likes of Angelo Di Livio, Didier Deschamps and Alessio Tacchinardi.
 
It would soon be 2-0 as Angelo Di Livio won the ball in the midfield, he set off, dribbling well into the Roma half unchallenged before picking out an exquisite left foot pass for an outstretched Vieri. He managed to get on the end of this and lift the ball over the on coming Cervone. That was 2-0 and I Bianconeri hadn’t got out of second gear yet.
 
The second half began with Zidane causing all sorts of problems again, this time a free kick from some 20 yards out would see Cervone make a meal of it. Once again he flapped at the ball as it fell to Vieri who was so unfortunate not to get his hat trick, his incredible close range bicycle kick came bouncing back off the upright. 
 
Young Francesco Totti was trying to get his team back in the game and was starting to see more of the ball this half but it was Roma’s Uruguayan forward Daniel Fonseca who almost got I Giallorossi back in the game. His free kick whistled past Angelo Peruzzi’s post, Fonseca couldn’t believe it and on second viewing you could see why it was a matter of centimetres. 
 
That was to be as good as it got for Roma as The Old Lady wrapped up all three points with a lovely move. A diagonal ball was played into Atillio Lombardo, he cushioned it first time for Michele Padovano to finish however, he lost his footing at the last minute but strike partner Nicola Amoruso was queuing up behind him to fire home making it 3-0. The dominant Juventus finished the goal scoring as Lippi’s men ran out victorious.
 
The two sides meet again tonight, with both defending unbeaten records. Can Rudi Garcia’s men keep up the title charge and put a halt to Juventus’s bid for four in a row.
http://youtu.be/25K6OqR4koY
By Giovanni Dougall
@giovannid86

Filed under roma juventus serie a totti fonseca

2 notes

Remeber When? Antonio Cassano v Inter Milan 18th December 1999

Teams: Bari v Inter Milan

Date: 18th December 1999
 
Goalscorer: Antonio Cassano

Location: Stadio San Nicola

The 40,000 strong Stadio San Nicola were about to witness a new hero being born. It was the 18th December 1999. Thanks to injuries to first choice strikers Phil Masinga and Yksel Osmanovski, Bari lined up with Nigerian Hugo Enyannaya and local boy 18 year old Antonio Cassano.
 
Enyannaya got of to a great start as he opened the scoring with a fantastic 30 yard strike, Inter would draw level through Christian Vieri soon after.
 
The young Cassano had the home faithful on the edge of their seats with his enthusiasm and skill, he was like a kid in the park. Then came the moment that would propel him to Serie A stardom, a long ball over the top from Simone Perrotta set Cassano off against two of the best defenders in the game, Lauren Blanc and Christian Panucci. Cassano controlled the ball beautifully with his heel then his head beating Blanc, he then cut back inside both defenders taking them both out, creating the space he needed. He slotted the ball past Angelo Peruzzi to win the game with his first Serie A goal.
 
The home crowd went wild as Cassano disappeared over the advertising boards hands in the air towards the celebrating fans. This was a boy who had just lived his dream just as he’d imagined it.
 

By Giovanni Dougall
@giovannid86

Filed under inter Bari Cassano Milan San Nicola San Siro

0 notes

Bassano Cannot Stop Scoring

image

Girone A.

Fans of teams in Girone A were treated to at least one goal in every game as the tables in all groups start to take shape.

Goal friendly Bassano visited Cremonese in what turned out to be the game of the round, Bassano who have scored in every game apart from the opening day put four past the hosts at the Stadio Giovanni Zini put still only won by the odd goal.

Mattia Marchi put the homeside ahead after seven minutes before Bassano through Stefano Pietribiasi scored twice in the last three minutes of the half to secure a lead at the break.

Cremonese Andrea Brighenti levelled the game in the 63rd minute before a crazy last seven minutes saw the visitors take a two goal lead when Angelo Raffaele Nole (83) and Simone Iocolano (86) scored but a last minute penalty and a second goal from Andrea Brighenti made it a nervous end but Bassano held on to the three points and top sport in the division.

In the other results in the group Novara had a four goal win at home over Pavia.

Sudtirol won 2-0 at home against a struggling Pro Patria who are winless in three.

Lumezzane hosted Alessandria and both side scored in a 1-1 draw.

Unione Venezia had a comfortable 4-1 win at home to FeralpiSalo.

Como lost top spot as the lost 0-1 away at Giana Ermino.

Real Vicenza shared four goals in a home 2-2 draw with Renate.

Torres won 2-0 at home beating bottom side Pordenone.

Arezzo sit in fourth place in the table with a game in hand after a 0-1 away win at Mantova and Albinoleffe scored the only goal of the game as they beat visitors Monza.

Girone B.

Game of the group wasn’t a high scoring affair but provided the shock of the weekend as bottom side Pro Piacenza hosted promotion chasing and league leaders Pisa at the Stadio Leonardo Garilli.

It was the home team who scored the only goal of the game on the stroke of half time through Luca Caboni, losing top spot for Pisa and finally putting Pro Piacenza in positive points after starting the season on -8.

Teramo made the most of Pisa’s slip up as they moved to the top of the table after beating hosts SantarcangeLo 1-2.

Ascoli welcomed Prato and the home grabbed a last minute equaliser as the game ended 1-1.

Forli travelled to Grosseto and came from two goals down to salvage a 2-2 draw.

Gubbio hosted Savona and scored a winner in the last ten minutes as they won 3-2.

L’Aquila welcomed San Marino in a 1-1 draw.

SPAL had a home win over Lucchese by 2-0.

Pistoiese had the better of visitors Tuttocuoio by the odd goal in five as they won 3-2.

Carrarese welcomed Ancona and Pontedera hosted Reggiana but both games ended goalless.

Girone C.

Game of the group saw crisis club Messina receive another heavy defeat this time at home to Casertana.

Fans at the Stadio San Filippo watched on in total disbelief as the home team conceded five first half goals and despite pulling a goal back via a penalty ended the game with nine men. Enrico Pepe and substitute Tommaso Bannano both received their marching orders.

This makes it three consecutive defeats for the Sicilians scoring just once and conceding eleven.

Martina remain bottom as they travelled to Benevento and lost by a solitary goal a result which placed the home team top of the table.

Aversa welcomed Ischia at it was the visitors who came up with a last minute winner winning 1-2.

Lecce beat Paganese thanks to a single goal from veteran striker Fabrizio Miccoli at the StadioVia del Mare.

Vigor Lamezia thought they had secured the points at home to Foggia but Guillaume Gigliotti grabbed a last minute point.

Juve Stabia beat visitors Reggina 2-1.

Matera remain unbeaten this season and beat Lupa Roma 3-1 at home to make it three consecutive wins and sit third in the table.

Second place Salernitana also remain unbeaten but could only mange a goalless draw at home to Melfi.

Barletta and Savoia shared a hard fought goalless draw with both sides finishing with ten men after the dismissals of Mariano Stendardo for Barletta in the first half and Nicola Malaccari for Savoia in the second half.

By Mark Neale @markneale

Filed under cremonsese Bassano Novara Lega pro Girone A Girone B girone C

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A Guide to the Ultras of Serie A: Napoli

City: Naples

Key Ultra Groups: CUCB (Commando Ultras Curva B), Ultras Napoli, Fedayn.

Other Ultra Groups: Masseria, Blue Tiger, Nucleo, Old Clan 91, South Boys, Cobra, Wanted, La Iene, Mastiffs, Teste Matte, Vecchi Lions, Brigata Carolina, Ultra Girls, Ladies Napoli

On the afternoon of May 1oth, 1987, a deathly quiet fell over the city of Naples. The streets were desolate, prompting Italian anthropologist Amalia Signorelli to write “The world had changed, the noisiest, most crowded and most chaotic city in Europe was deserted.”

But on occasion, murmurings could be heard. They were the cheers and jeers of the Stadio San Paolo. The world may not have changed, but S.S.C Napoli were on the brink of winning their first Serie A title in 61-years. A 1-1 draw with Fiorentina secured Napoli’s triumph. The city erupted. Exultant Neapolitan’s poured onto the streets. Days of partying began.  Fans danced on rooftops, fireworks exploded, cars and buildings were draped in sky blue.

In his book, Calcio, John Foot observed that “During the celebrations, Napoli fans displayed all the classic traits of what has become known as the Neapolitan ‘character’: irony, parody and a sense of the macabre, obscenity and blasphemy.” On the walls of the city’s graveyard, graffiti appeared in vernacular ‘Guagliu! E che ve sit pers!’, ‘Guys! You don’t know what you are missing.’ Satirical funerals were arranged for Juventus. The supporters paid homage to their heroes and one man stood above all others as the saviour of Naples – Diego Armando Maradona.

The use of religiously infused language here is no coincidence. To this day, Maradona is awarded god like status in the city. During the Argentinian’s spell at Napoli the club won their only two Scudetti as well as a UEFA Cup in 1989. This prompted cult like adoration. Thousands of babies were named Diego or even Diega while streets and neighbourhoods also took the revered name. Murals were made comparing him to the city’s patron saint San Gennaro. One even depicted him in the arms of the saint himself.

His humble background and ‘rebellious’ nature struck a chord with the Napoletani. His passion, volatility and footballing genius reflected Neapolitan character. In a sense, Maradona became an adopted son of Naples.

But perhaps more importantly, the Argentinian had helped Napoli break the overwhelming dominance established by the affluent Northern trio of Juventus, AC Milan and Inter. At a time when the hostile, anti-southern politics of northern regionalist parties such as Lega Nord were taking hold in the terraces of northern clubs, Maradona restored pride to the ‘downtrodden’ city of Naples. The Napoletani now had a riposte to the anti-Neapolitan rhetoric. It was smug and simple: ‘May 1987, the other Italy has been defeated, a new empire is born.’ And Napoli’s fanatical support still revel in the memories of a time when the giants of the North were humbled by a resurgent Naples.

The Partenopei are the fourth-best-supported team in Italy and their following also extends to various corners of the globe. According to Italian sports journalist Domenico Carratelli, Napoli is a club that “…brings people together from all walks of life, rich and poor alike. It is the people’s team.” Surprisingly, barring their transient success in the late 1980’s, there is a paucity of major honours. Nevertheless, this has rarely detracted from the devotion of their support and even after the club went bankrupt and were relegated to Serie C1 back in 2004, they broke divisional records for attendance, with numbers in excess of 50,000. One urban myth claims that the roar of the crowd celebrating a Napoli goal at the San Paolo has occasionally been registered on the seismographs at the cities Federico II University.

The story of Napoli’s Ultras is perhaps best summarised as a tale of two Curva’s, Curva A (the north bend) and Curva B (the south). Over time,  the Curva A has assumed a more prominent role and has been home to a variety of groups including: Mastiffs, Vecchi Lions, Teste Matte and Brigata Carolina. Yet, a divide has always characterised the relationship between Curva A and B, with the former being notoriously riotous and the latter more ‘tranquil’. This, however, only serves to rouse one of the most charged atmospheres in Serie A.

The Azzurri’s first Ultra group to create match-day choreographies were the Commandos Ultras Curva B (CUCB). Founded in 1972 by Gennaro Montuori, AKA ‘Palummella’, the group quickly established themselves by creating their own newspaper and television programme. During their existence, CUCB allegedly denounced violence, a sentiment reflected in a banner they unveiled back in the 1980’s: ‘Violence divides us, our passion unites us.’ According to Signorelli, who authored Popular Culture in Naples,  this period also saw the inception of women’s Ultra groups, including Ultra Girls and Ladies Napoli, the latter formed by University lecturers. 

Unsurprisingly, the CUCB ‘glory days’ came during the Azzurri’s Scudetto winning years. The archaic San Paolo would bounce to the rhythm of ‘Porompompero’ while the Ultras ubiquitous presence at away games would ensure that a pocket of an Italian stadium would be transformed into a mini-Naples for the afternoon.

However the departure of ‘Palummella’, supposedly due to the death of his brother, caused CUCB to disband. As a result Fedayn (1979) and Ultras Napoli monopolised the Curva B. The two have lived an uncomfortable coexistence, with both refusing to chant in tandem. Fedayn’s more belligerent reputation saw them receive an invitation to join the Curva A, their slogan ‘Estranei alla Massa’ – ‘Outside the Norm’ encapsulating their intransigence. Indeed the Fedayn’s reputation makes the Curva B’s more ‘serene’ tag somewhat risible.

While Napoli’s ultras have often declared themselves apolitical, the historic and cultural divide between North and South has dictated some of their fiercest rivalries. Historian Nicholas Doumanis, has argued that the northern and southern halves of Italy appear in social, cultural and economic terms to be two very different countries. Parties like Lega Nord have even advocated secession from the south altogether. The Napoletani are frequently subjected to territorial discrimination and insults range from the city being destroyed by their neighbouring volcano Vesuvius, to the people being dirty and carrying cholera. Fixtures against Juventus, Hellas Verona, AC Milan and Inter are particularly explosive.

That said, irony is not lost on the Neapolitans and regional rivalries can always be put to one side when there is a chance to decry the Italian authorities. Thus when supporters of their Northern foes were hit with stadium bans for territorial discrimination during the 2013/14 Serie A season, the Partenopei faithful mocked the Italian Football Federation’s decisions with a banner reading “[We are] Naples cholera-sufferers. Now close our curva!” 

For all this bravado, these rivalries also reveal the more sinister elements of Italian football and Napoli’s ultras have been involved in some deplorable violence. On May 3rd, 2014, people tuned into the Coppa Italia final between Napoli and Fiorentina only to witness scenes of anarchy and chaos. Violent clashes between opposition fans had delayed the games kick-off. Three Napoli fans were hospitalised. One, Ciro Esposito, would die from gunshot wounds after weeks in a critical condition.

It later emerged that the Napoletani had clashed with A.S. Roma fans, despite the Giallorossi not even participating in the final. A Roma ultra, Daniele De Santis, was later charged with the death of Esposito. There is no love lost between Napoli and Roma, a game which according to a life-long Napoli fan, is one of the most hostile in Italy because unlike their Northern rivals, their hatred is concentrated solely on football.

The other enduring image was that of, Gennaro De Tommaso, also known as Genny ‘the swine’. Said to be an Ultras leader in the Curva A, reports circulated that he was the man charged with talking to Napoli captain, Marek Hamsik, about having the game postponed as rumours swept the stadium that Esposito had died. The game went ahead and Rome’s police commissioner would later deny there had been any negotiation. Massimo Mazza claimed police had merely asked Hamsik to inform the fans of Esposito’s condition.

Having already been banned from attending stadiums for five years, De Tommaso was arrested in September along with four other Ultras for their involvement in the Coppa Italia final, with charges including ‘throwing hazardous materials and invasion of a pitch at a sporting event.’ The incident made for a chilling spectacle and people like De Tommaso bring shame upon Il Calcio.

While Napoli’s Ultras cannot be held accountable for the actions of mindless individuals, their violent reputation is not fabricated. Thus one is left at odds. On the one hand there is no place for such criminal behaviour, let alone in football. On the other, without the Ultras we wouldn’t enjoy the moments that make spines tingle and hairs stand on end. Moments such as the famed repetition of ‘Gonzalooo Higuaín’ nine times while the decrepit walls of the Stadio San Paolo shudder.

The famous expression: ‘See Naples and die’ portrays the beauty and excitement of this city. After playing against Napoli for Manchester City, Ivory Coast midfielder Yaya Toure observed that the relationship between the Napoletani and their team was visceral, comparable to the love shown between a mother and her son. It is this passion that produces one of the most awe-inspiring yet intimidating atmospheres in European football.

Written by Luca Hodges-Ramon - @LH_Ramon25

Filed under Napoli Ultras CUCB Commando Ultras Curva B san paolo