The Gentleman Ultra

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Remember when? Alvaro Recoba v Bologna 8th March 2003

Bologna v Inter Milan

Season 2002/2003

Location: Stadio Renato Dall’Ara, Bologna

Goal scorer: Alvaro Recoba

Giulio Falcone stands arms spread, pleading his innocence to the referee after being penalised for a clumsy foul on Inter forward Gabriel Batistuta.
The Argentine forward with his back to goal, some 35 yards out, was trying to control a long ball when Falcone needlessly went through the back of him.

Falcone tried hard to persuade  the referee to change his mind but he new he was a guilty man. The ball was placed some 35 yards out, central to the goal. Batistuta, Emre, Luigi Di Biagio and Cristiano Zanetti all stood over the ball all in deep discussion. The discussion was brought to an abrupt end as Alvaro Recoba swaggered over, lifting the ball placing it where he wanted, he was now the only one over the ball.

Gianluca Pagliuca in the Bologna goal looked a worried man as he desperately tried to arrange some sort of wall to block what was coming.
Gabriel Batistuta would be the decoy as he began a run up from the left. He dummied the ball, Recoba was right behind him, he had started his run from the right and his magical left foot connected perfectly and the ball went over the heads of the Bologna wall. It flew through the air like a bullet out a gun, Pagliuca was at full stretch as he threw himself to his right, he wasn’t getting near it though. The ball kissed the inside of the post and nestled in the back of the net. It was an incredible strike by Alvaro Recoba during his time in Serie A.

By Giovanni Dougall


Filed under recoba bologna inter batistuta

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Remember when? AC Milan v Juventus 09/02/1992


The San Siro was at its glorious best on match day 20 of the 1991/92 season. The grey and white smoke faded from the stands to unveil hundreds of red and black banners and flags in support of the home team. Before you knew it they were covered again as more smoke bombs and even more flares went off it was an electric atmosphere. The stadium was a sell out as two of not only Italy’s best prepared to go head to head.

AC Milan had returned to their glory days under Arrigo Sacchi but with new man Fabio Capello in charge for this campaign, many wondered if they could keep this going? Giovanni Trapattoni’s Juventus arrived in Milan in high spirits„ they had just came off the back of a routing Foggia 4-1 with Pierluigi Casaraghi and Roberto Baggio hitting top form.
Milan flew out the traps, clearly inspired by the passion coming from the stands. They took the lead after only four minutes, a lovely move down Juventus’ right side, a deep cross to the back post found Marco Van Basten who cool as always chested the ball instantly then fired a right foot volley under advancing Juventus keeper’ Stefano Tacconi. It was the perfect start for Capello’s men. 
Juventus were rattled and couldn’t get a grip of the game, Milan were bombarding them down both flanks and were unlucky not to be two or three up in the opening minutes. 
Juventus eventually did settle and started having more of the ball as the half hour mark approached they found themselves level as Pierluigi Casiraghi silenced the San Siro with a thunderbolt. Antonio Conte played a diagonal ball over the Milan defence, Casiraghi watched the ball come out the air and unleashed a venomous first time volley into the top corner, the game was tied at 1-1 as the half came to an end. 
Milan started the second half with the same intensity as the first and within the opening minutes they were unlucky not to take the lead again as Tacconi’s post was rattled. Daniele Massaro missed a golden opportunity as he found himself face to face with Tacconi but he somehow missed his kicked. 
Juventus finally woke up and started playing they had penalty appeals rejected as substitute Paolo Di Canio was brought down on the edge of the box, it would have perhaps been perceived soft if given.
Milan really should have won it at the death as Ruud Guilt found himself with a free header in the Juventus box, he threw himself at the ball but got it all wrong sending it way off target. A draw was how this battle of Italy’s top two would finish.
San Siro is sold out again tonight as these two giants of the Italian game clash. Will it be Filippo Inzaghi’s new look Milan or Max Allegri’s defending champions who’ll come out on top?
By Giovanni Dougall

Filed under serie a milan juventus van basten gullit rossi san siro

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WEEK 3 – Bologna put three past Pescara


Avellino 0-0 Spezia
Crotone 1-1 Carpi
Frosinone 1-1 Bari
Livorno 1-1 Latina
Modena 1-0 Pro Vercelli
Perugia 1-0 Catania
Pescara 2-3 Bologna
Trapani 2-1 Cittadella
Varese 1-1 Virtus Lanciano
Vicenza 0-1 Ternana
Virtus Entella 0-1 Brescia

There were some low scoring games and plenty of draws around Serie B this week. Five games finished all square, and it now means that every team in the league has picked up at least one point at this stage of the season.

The Game of the Day involved Pescara and Bologna. Bologna finally got a win under their belts as they came out 3-2 winners. They raced into a 3-0 half time lead through goals from Marcel Buchel, Robert Acquafresca and Federico Casarini. All three scorers got off the mark for the new season in a much needed confidence boost for the team, with Buchel in particular scoring with a fantastic goal.

Pescara hit back after the break with goals from Bartusz Salamon, whose joy at scoring was quickly distinguished as he was sent off after 88 minutes for two bookable offences. Riccardo Maniero got a second for the home side from the penalty spot, but despite also being down to 10 men after goalkeeper Coppola was shown his marching orders, Bologna hung on the victory.

Highlights of the game here - Pescara vs Bologna 2-3 All Goals & Highlights SERIE B 12-09-2014

Modena were 1-0 victors at home to Pro Vercelli thanks to a 90th minute winner from Uruguayan striker Pablo Granoche. Modena dominated possession but struggled to find a way past the visitors defence until Granoche popped up at the death.

Highlights of the game here -—-42

Brescia earned their first win of the season with a great away win against Virtus Entella. A solitary goal by veteran former Torino defender Valerio Di Cesare was enough to bring the points home.

Highlights of the game here - Serie B Virtus Entella - Brescia highlights 13/09/2014 

Perugia’s brilliant start to the season continued as they defeated relegated Catania by a goal to nil to maintain their 100% record. Diego Falcinelli scored the only goal of the game for the home side. So far this season Perugia have defeated both Bologna and Catania at home and defeated Bari away. A long way to go in the season but confidence will be sky high going into this weekend’s fixtures.

Highlights of the game here - Serie B Virtus Entella - Brescia highlights 13/09/2014 

There were other wins for Ternana, who defeated Vicenza 1-0 and Trapani who came out 2-1 winners at home to Cittadella. These two sides have had impressive starts to the season as they currently sit 2nd & 3rd in the table, respectively.

Livorno picked up a point at home to Latina. Bari came away with a point on their travels to Frosinone. In the Crotone- Carpi and Varese- Virtus Lanciano games the scoreline was 1-1 whilst the final game saw Avellino and Spezia failing to trouble the scorers as they drew 0-0.

The highlights of all games are found here –

By Ian Such
Follow Ian on Twitter @insearchofluca

Filed under pescara bologna serie b varase frosinone spezia

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Lega Pro Review Week 3

Fans of Girone A where treated to double helping this week as the teams had a mid-week round of fixtures.

Girone A week 3.

Undoubtedly the game of the round was between FeralpiSalò and Pordenone in a nine goal thriller, Abbruscato gave the home side an early lead (3) but goals from Barbuti(18), Maracchi(22) and Burratto(25) put the away side in control before Leonarduzzi(30) scored to make it 2-3 in a crazy opening half hour. The scoring continued when Paladin(40) made it 2-4 at half time, the home side stormed back it the second half with Abbruscatto(51), and Ignacio(62) to level with hat-trick hero Abbruscatto(80) garbbing an unlikely winner.

Bassano had to settle for a point when Giana Ermino scored a last minute equaliser thanks to Perico after Pietribiasi(42) had put the home side ahead.

Lumezzane failed to score for the second successive game his time at home but kept Mantova at bay to secure a point.
Unione Venezia lost at home as Sudtirol gained the points thanks to a Branca(21) goal.

Arezzo played their first game in Lega Pro and gained a clean sheet and a point at home to Torres.
Alessandria took advantage of a man advantage to secure a point at home to Novara. The away side took the lead through Gonzalez(46) but had Miglietta sent off(61) as Marconi(64) scored for a point each.

Como hosted Real Vicenza and shared the spoils despite taking the lead through Cristiani(31) before Dalla Bona(77) made it 1-1.
Renate left it late as they visited Cremonese to win the points thanks to Gavazzi goal(82).
A goal each in the first half was enough to share the points as Pavia visited Monza. Sereni (10) set the visitors away before the home side levelled through Foglio(38).

Pro Patria bounced back from their 5-3 loss last week to gian a calm 1-0 win at home to AlbinoLeffe thanks to a Serafini(41) goal.

Pro Patria 1-0 AlbinoLeffe​​
Monza 1-1 Pavia​​
Cremonese 0-1 Renate​​
Como 1-1 Real Vicenza ​
Alessandria 1-1 Novara​​
Arezzo 0-0 Torres​​
Unione Venezia 0-1 Sudtirol​​
Lumezzane 0-0 Mantova​​
FeralpiSalò 5-4 Pordenone​
Bassano 1-1 Giana

Girone A week 4.

Sudtirol made it two wins in a row with a single goal win over visitors Monza thanks to a Marras(59) goal.
Bassano made it two success losses for their host Pordenone thanks to three goals in thirteen minutes from Zanelle(61), Nole(64) and Maistrello(74).

Mantova still winless this season lost at home to Unione Venezia thanks to a Magnaghi(80) goal.
AlbinoLeffe made it two games no goals and two defeats as lost at home to Como who scored through Le Noci(66) and De Sousa(89).

Arezzo visited Renate and came back from a first minute goal by Iovine to grab a draw thanks to Erpen(49).
FeralpiSalo could not build oin their epic win midweek to lose to home side Pavia, Soncin(9) put the home team ahead but Cavion(18) levelled but two goals from Ferretti(50,75) gained the win and first place in the division.

Torres beat visitors Lumezzane 1-0 thanks to a Marchetti(27) goal, concerns for the visitors as it is now three games without scoring.

Giana Erminio hosted Alessandria, it was the visitors who took the points thanks to two goals from Guazzo(8,55).

Novara made it two consecutive draws as visitors Cremonese held on to a 0-0 draw with playing the last ten minutes with a man disadvantage.

Real Vincenza Pro Patria
Novara 0-0 Cremonese
Giana 0-2 Alessandria​​
Torres 1-0 Lumezzane​​
Pavia 3-1 FeralpiSalò​​
Renate 1-1 Arezzo​​
AlbinoLeffe 0-2 Como​​
Mantova 0-1 Unione Venezia​​
Pordenone 0-3 Bassano​​
Sudtirol 1-0 Monza​​

Girone B.

Prato travelled to L’Aquila and came back with a valuable point thanks to a penalty from Bocalon(83) which resulted in a red card for Maccarrone, L’Aquila went ahead thanks to Corapi(74).
Pro Piacenza remain in points deficit after going to Pistoiese and being defeated by a Romeo goal in the last minute.

Grosseto welcomed Reggiana, Ancona welcomed Pontedera and Tuttocuoio hosted Ascoli but between the six teams no one could muster a goal.

San Marino scored in time added on to grab a point against visitors Carrarese. Cellini(31) put Carrarese ahead but with time running out La Mantia scored(91).

Forli endured a second consecutive game without scoring as they lost to visitors Teramo as Lapadula(61) scored the winner.
SPAL made the most of home comforts against Santarcangelo and cruised to a 3-0 win thanks to two goals from Fioretti(11,25) and a penalty from Germinale(70).

Lucchese came from two goals down at home against Savona, Cerone with a second minute penalty and Carta(36) went ahead but ended up with ten men after Del Sole received two yellows. A penalty from Nole(71) and a last minute equaliser from Biasci levelled the game.

Pisa top the table after a 3-1 home win over Gubbio, both sides scored n the first ten minutes as Iori(7) put the home side ahead before Vettraino(10) levelled for the visitors before two goals from Arma(67 pen, 91) secured the points.

Lucchese 2-2 Savona​​
Tuttocuoio 0-0 Ascoli​​
Ancona 0-0 Pontedera​
Spal 3-0 Santarcangelo​​
Forlì -0-1Teramo​​
San Marino 1-1 Carrarese​​
Grosseto 0-0 Reggiana​​
Pistoiese 1-0 Pro Piacenza​​
L’Aquila 1-1 Prato
Pisa 3-1 Gubbio

Girone C.

Foggia hosted Melfi, Ischia hosted Vigor Lamezia and Matera welcomed Lecce and all three games had defenders on top and finished goalless.

Reggina welcomed Messina and conceded the points thanks to an Orlando(79) and sent the Sicilian fans home happy.
Catanzaro welcomed Martina and needed a Russotto(63) penalty to win and keep themselves top of the table and leave the visitors still pointless.

Barletta cruised past visitors Cosenza who finished the game with ten men, goals from Branzani(23), Floriano(72) and a last minute Radi secured an easy win.

Juve Stabia finally got a win as they visited Casertana, they left it late as Vella scored with four minutes left.

Game of the group had Aversa visit Salernitana and the home side needed a last minute winner to get the better of the teams in a seven goal thriller. Cicerelli(7,69) and De Vena(66) had put the away team 1-3 with only a Negro(68) goal keeping the home team in it. Negro scored again(74) and Mendicino(76) had got the game level until Mendicino popped up with a winner in the last minute of the game.

Lupa Roma remain unbeaten as they beat visitors Paganese thanks to a Tajarol(26) goal.
Savoia welcomed Benevento and went behind early thanks to a Eusepi(7) penalty but managed to fight back to take the lead thanks to Sanseverino(18) and Cremaschi(39). A Checcucci own goal(60) levelled the game only for a minute later Marotta to score the winner.

Savoia 2-3 Benevento​​
Lupa 1-0 Paganese​​
Salernitana 4-3 Aversa​​
Casertana 0-1 Juve Stabia​​
Barletta 3-0 Cosenza​​
Catanzaro 1-0 Martina​​
Matera 0-0 Lecce​​
Isolaverde 0-0 Vigor Lamezia​​
Reggina 0-1 Messina​​
Foggia 0-0 Melfi​​

5 notes

Classic Calcio Match: Parma - AC Milan November 1995

Fabio Capello took his AC Milan side down to Parma on November 1995 fully expecting a routine victory. 

He had every right to as his Milan team included Paolo Maldini and Franco Baresi at the back. In front of them the now Parma coach,Roberto Donadoni, Roberto Baggio, Marco Van Basten and George Weah fuelled the attack. It was an AC Milan side at the height of their powers both in Italy and in Europe.

However this would be a day that would change Serie A and the Azzurri for ever. Why? Well you could be forgiven if you thought it was it was down to a sublime performance from Roberto Baggio or Roberto Donadoni. You could also be forgiven for thinking it was Paolo Maldini putting in another defensive master class. The day would however, belong to the fresh faced teenager in the Parma goal.

That goalkeeper was 17 year old Gianluigi Buffon. Many questioned Parma coach Nevio Scala for throwing the young Buffon in against some of the worlds best forwards but with Luca Bucci out injured and with very little trust in his number two Nista he didn’t have much choice.

With Milan on top from the start the young Buffon got a huge confidence boost when he took a clean catch from a dangerous Milan cross from the right. Milan also had a couple of snap shots straight down his throat which also settled his nerves.

Parma tried to get into the game but Maldini and Baresi were frustrating them and keeping them at bay.

Buffon really impressed with his next save as he darted off his line diving bravely at the feet of Marco Simone to claw the ball away. Baggio was next to be denied much to his disbelief, Buffon looked as though he’s been keeping out the world best front lines for years. As the teams went in 0-0 at half time, everyone new they were witnessing something special as s new Serie A star was born.

Parma started the second half brightly with a couple of half chances then Fernando Couto headed over when he really should have done better. Buffon’s finest moment came as a Milan corner was sent in. Parma failed to deal with it as it fell eight yards out, Buffon threw his tall lanky frame to his left he beating the ball away. Moments later he was at it again as Weah broke through, he flew off his line diving at Weah’s feet to cleanly win the ball. 

The game ended 0-0 and it was all thank to Gianluigi Buffon in the Parma goal, Capello admitting himself “He was Parma’s best player. We deserved to win and if we didn’t manage to do so it’s because they had Buffon in goal” 

He got top marks from the newspapers the following day and Parma found their replacement to Luca Bucci. The rest as they say is history, with Buffon cementing the Parma number one spot eventually becoming the most expensive goalkeeper ever.

He went on to lift the World Cup in 2006 and now is the captain of his country.

Roberto Donadoni started for Milan that day but this Sunday evening he’ll be hoping his side can get off the mark this season as he welcomes Filippo Inzaghi’s rejuvenated Milan side to the Ennio Tardini.

By Giovanni Dougall


Classic Calcio Match: Parma - AC Milan November 1995

Fabio Capello took his AC Milan side down to Parma on November 1995 fully expecting a routine victory.

He had every right to as his Milan team included Paolo Maldini and Franco Baresi at the back. In front of them the now Parma coach,Roberto Donadoni, Roberto Baggio, Marco Van Basten and George Weah fuelled the attack. It was an AC Milan side at the height of their powers both in Italy and in Europe.

However this would be a day that would change Serie A and the Azzurri for ever. Why? Well you could be forgiven if you thought it was it was down to a sublime performance from Roberto Baggio or Roberto Donadoni. You could also be forgiven for thinking it was Paolo Maldini putting in another defensive master class. The day would however, belong to the fresh faced teenager in the Parma goal.

That goalkeeper was 17 year old Gianluigi Buffon. Many questioned Parma coach Nevio Scala for throwing the young Buffon in against some of the worlds best forwards but with Luca Bucci out injured and with very little trust in his number two Nista he didn’t have much choice.

With Milan on top from the start the young Buffon got a huge confidence boost when he took a clean catch from a dangerous Milan cross from the right. Milan also had a couple of snap shots straight down his throat which also settled his nerves.

Parma tried to get into the game but Maldini and Baresi were frustrating them and keeping them at bay.

Buffon really impressed with his next save as he darted off his line diving bravely at the feet of Marco Simone to claw the ball away. Baggio was next to be denied much to his disbelief, Buffon looked as though he’s been keeping out the world best front lines for years. As the teams went in 0-0 at half time, everyone new they were witnessing something special as s new Serie A star was born.

Parma started the second half brightly with a couple of half chances then Fernando Couto headed over when he really should have done better. Buffon’s finest moment came as a Milan corner was sent in. Parma failed to deal with it as it fell eight yards out, Buffon threw his tall lanky frame to his left he beating the ball away. Moments later he was at it again as Weah broke through, he flew off his line diving at Weah’s feet to cleanly win the ball.

The game ended 0-0 and it was all thank to Gianluigi Buffon in the Parma goal, Capello admitting himself “He was Parma’s best player. We deserved to win and if we didn’t manage to do so it’s because they had Buffon in goal”

He got top marks from the newspapers the following day and Parma found their replacement to Luca Bucci. The rest as they say is history, with Buffon cementing the Parma number one spot eventually becoming the most expensive goalkeeper ever.

He went on to lift the World Cup in 2006 and now is the captain of his country.

Roberto Donadoni started for Milan that day but this Sunday evening he’ll be hoping his side can get off the mark this season as he welcomes Filippo Inzaghi’s rejuvenated Milan side to the Ennio Tardini.

By Giovanni Dougall


8 notes

Zaza and Immobile are proof that co ownership works

There are few things people like less than uncertainty. Fans react to the news of one of their favourite players potentially leaving with anger, we just like the idea that our clubs can hold on to their best players for as long as we like. So it doesn’t surprise me that most fans would much rather see their favourite team loan out their best prospects rather than sending them to a club on co ownerships. But if you pay close attention, there are many benefits to having both clubs with a financial stake in a player.

Co ownerships have been a staple of Italian football as much as the “Sqilli di tromba” on Rai’s broadcast of Serie A matches and Galliani making deceitful statements about transfers. But that is all about to change since next summer co ownerships will become a thing of the past, the Italian federation decided to finally put an end to the practice since in many instances it was just a way for clubs to inflate the revenues and lower the expenses on their balance sheets (Italy is also the only country in Europe who still allows this practice).

A few years ago, Juventus and Udinese completed a co ownership deal for Isla and Asamoah, that was so complex you needed a degree from Harvard’s Business school to fully grasp it. That deal was really just a way to spread out the payment of the transfer fees over multiple fiscal years, as well as the amortization of the players’ values over a longer period of time.  Aside from these accounting tricks that would make an Enron auditor blush, there certainly have been many instances in which co ownerships benefitted the clubs and the players involved- you don’t have to look any further than the 2 strikers who started Conte’s first two matches on the Azzurri’s bench.

Immobile and Zaza played the 2013/14 season on co ownership. Juve owned half of their rights and sent Immobile to Torino while Zaza played at Sassuolo. These were classic examples of the co ownership deals a rich club like Juve found advantageous, they entered into an agreement with a club of much lesser financial means- this would pretty much ensure they could retain control of the future of their best prospects. Since both Torino and Sassuolo had a financial stake into developing Immobile and Zaza, Juventus benefitted and the players were given more opportunities than a player loaned to another club.

The way the co ownerships of Zaza and Immobile were resolved this summer, gives us some great insight as to how Italian clubs plan on dealing with the end of a practice that was such an essential aspect of how they did business. Juventus and Torino agreed to sell Immobile to Borussia Dortmund last May, the two clubs ended up splitting the proceeds of the sale.

I suspect one of the main reasons Juventus didn’t want to bring back Immobile was the ghost of Giovinco, who just like Immobile came up in Juve’s youth system before being sent to another club on co ownership. Giovinco had a sensational season at Parma in 2011-12 when he scored 15 goals. Juventus paid 11 million euro to buy Parma’s half to his rights (Parma had originally paid Juve 3 million in 2010 to buy their half of Giovinco), and while Giovinco got many opportunities in his first season back at Juve he never lived up to his price tag. Had Juventus and Parma not been able to reach an agreement, they would have had to resolve Giovinco’s co ownership by going to “le buste” (the envelopes) where both clubs enter a figure in a sealed envelope- the team with highest bid would keep the player and pay the other club the amount in the envelope.

What happened with Zaza was far more interesting than Immobile’s situation, since it showed us how Italian clubs plan on getting around the end of co ownerships. Juventus sold their half to the rights to Zaza to Sassuolo (who already owned the other half to his rights) for 7.5 million euro, but the bianconeri inserted two buy back clauses into that agreement- they have the right to purchase Zaza for 15 million euro in summer of 2015, and a second option to buy him back for 18 million in 2016.

Essentially Juve is willing to pay Sassuolo a hefty premium for developing a player for them, but in the short term they also received 7.5 million up front this summer (most of that money was used to purchase Morata)- this is essentially a co ownership with set financial parameters. Immobile and Zaza are great examples of what co ownerships used to be in the past and what they will look in the future, they also probably wouldn’t be starting for the Azzurri had their clubs not been willing to make their fans feel some uncertainty.

Article by David Amoyal


Filed under azzurri zaza Immobile juventus Sassuolo dortmund

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No International break for Lega Pro

Lega Pro match round up matchday two.

No luxury of an international break for the teams so business as usual.

The big news of the week is that Girone A is back to its full compliment as Arezzo have been promoted from Serie D, best of luck to them as they embark on their first Lega Pro season since being refounded in the 2010-11 season.

Girone A.

Giana Erminio belatedly got their campaign started when they hosted Lumezzane. After missing last weeks game due to Vicenza being promoted Giana emerged 2-0 victors thanks to goals from Perna(39) and Crotti(54).

Renate hosted Monza and suffered a second straight defeat. Monza quickly fired into the lead thanks Anastasi(2) but two quick goals from Iovine(12,14) gave the host the lead. Goals from Vita(45) and Virdis(63) gave Monza their second successive win.

Sudtirol welcomed Bassano Virtus and gave the fans goals but not a win, Proietti(13) gave the visitors a lead,Campo levelled through a penalty(37) but two goals in 15 minutes from Semenzato(61) and Nolè(76) put Bassano in control despite Lendrić scoring(78) Bassano held on for a win.

Como  kept a second clean sheet with a 0-2 win over hosts Torres, goals from Cristani(39) and Corti(52) secured the points.

Pavia welcomed Pro Patria and treated the fans to a goal fest, the home side raced into a 3-0 lead with goals from Ferretti(10), Soncin(13) and Cesarini(15) but credit to Pro Patria who hit back with two goals from Serafini(46,69) with a Candido(64) goal sandwiched between,but to suffer heartbreak when Andrea Cristini(77) and Samuel Serini(85) secured the points for Pavia.

Novara bounced back with a 1-0 win over FeralpiSalò thanks to a Corazza(27) goal.

Real Vicenza entertained Alessandria at the and came out winners in a five goal thriller, Rantier(14) opened the scoring for Alessandria before a quick equaliser from Piccinni(16) and Bruno(43) turned the game around. Marconi(47) made the game level again before Galuppini(54) scored the winner for the hosts.

Pordenone suffered injury time anguish at the when Magnaghi(93) cancelled out Riccardo Barbuti(13) opening goal to share the points.

Mantova suffered defeat when Tomicic(79) could only score a consolation as the two goal hero Brighenti(30,33) secured the points for Cremonese.

Giana Erminio 2-1 Lumezzane

Mantova 1-2 Cremonese

Novara1-0Ferali Salò

Pavia5-3 Pro Patria

Pordenone1-1 Unione Venezia

Real Vicenza3-2Alessandria

Renate 2-3 Monza

SudTirol 2-3 Bassano

Torres 0-2Como  

Girone B.

Teramo hosted Grosseto and suffered a second consecutive 3-1 defeat,Pichlmann(29) gave Grossto a half time lead before Donnarumma(48) restored parity, but goals from Elez(71) and Torromino(90) secured the win for the Grifone.

Savona inflicted defeat on SPAL, an early Spadafora(3) goal helped the hosts on their way despite Filippini(46) scoring to level Gianmarco De Feo(54) and Giacomo Demartis(68) kept up the unbeaten start for the hosts.

Ascoli made it two wins from two when they beat L’Aquila thanks to two goals in the first half hour from Perez(6,30), L’Aquila scored a consolation thanks to Pacilli(88).

Carrarese could not hold on to gather all three points  as Pistoiese gained an equalising goal deep into time added. Goals from Merini(36,76) and Belcastro(61) had given the home side a 3-2 lead when Frascatore(95) scored to level. Mungo(16) and Tripoli(70) the other scorers.

Santarcangelo hosted Pisa, Guidone(68) gave the home side the lead only to be quickly pegged back by Morrone(72) to share the points.

Pro Piacenza swept aside Forli with goals from Bini(5), Porcino(12) and Schiavini(66) to secure an easy win.

Reggiana beat Ancona despite going a goal down to Tavares(48), the home side levelled Ruoplol(64) before Mallus scored an own goal to give Reggiana their first points.

Prato suffered a heavy home defeat to Tuttocuoio,Konate(46,81), Colombo(61) and a Pasa(77) own goal sent the away fans home happy with the home fans only having a Andrea Bandini(63) goal to celebrate.

Gubbio hosted Lucchese and failed to score for the second consecutive game as they lost thanks to goals from Nolè(9) and Calcagni(29).

Pontedera hosted San Marino and won 2-1 with goals from Settembrini(3) and Caponi(75) in between a Poletti(28) leveller.

Ascoli 2-1 L’Aquila 

Carrarese 3-3 Pistoiese

Gubbio 0-2 Lucchese 

Pontedera 2-1 San Marino  

Prato1-4 Tuttocuoio

Pro Piacenza3-0 Forlì 

Reggiana 2-1 Ancona 

Santarcangelo 1-1 Pisa 

Savona3-1 Spal 

Teramo 1-3 Grosseto

Girone C.

Benevento and Catanzaro both maintained unbeaten records as they played out a 1-1 draw, the home side struck first Scognamiglio(37) with Pagano(57) scoring for the visitors.

Savoia suffered an away day to forget when they lost 3-1 away at Vigor Lamezia, Montella(5) opened the scoring for the home side before Di Piazza(15) levelled but Scarsella(37) and Del Sante(56) secured the points.

Cosenza despite two goals from Calderini(58,69) could only draw at home against Foggia, goals from Agnelli(28) and Iemmello(41) meant the visitors shared the points.

Melfi and Ischia drew 0-0 at the Stadio Arturo Valerio.

Juve Stabia welcomed Matera and both sides gained a point, the home side went ahead Ripa(26) but a goal from Antonio Letizia(52) meant the teams finished level.

Lecce gave their fans a home win thanks to a solitary goal from Della Rocca(51) to defeat Barletta.

Messina and Lupa Roma shared four goals, the home team went ahead through Nigro(6) but goals from Tajarol(53) and Celli(63) gave Lupa the lead but could not hold on for the win as Corona(79) scored a equaliser.

Salernitana left it late to grab an away win as they travelled to take on Martina Franca, behind to a Pellecchia(68) goal the away team grabbed all three points Calil penalty(82) and a last minute Ettore Mendicino winner.

Paganese could not make home advantage work  as they were defeated by Reggina 1-2, goals from Dall’Oglio(52) and Insigne(66) secured the points despite a late Deli(86) consolation.

An injury time equaliser for Aversa made a home draw for Casertana feel like a defeat, Murolo(16) put the home team ahead but a De Vena penalty(51) levelled the game before Diakite(54) put the home side ahead only for Paulo Carbonaro(95) to equalise.


Casertana 2-2 Aversa             

Paganese 1-2 Reggina            

Martina 1-2 Salernitana          

Messina2-2 Lupa Roma                    


Juve Stabia 1-1Matera                      

Melfi 0-0 Isolaverde              


Vigor Lamezia 3-1 Savoia                 


By Mark Neale @Neale_Mark

Filed under Lega Pro Mantova Cremonese Girone A Girone B girone C

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Classic Calcio Kits: Fiorentina 1998-1999

Home Kit

Make: Fila

Sponser: Nintendo

Worn by players such as Manuel Rui Costa, Jörg Heinrich, Moreno Torricelli, Tomáš Repka and Gabriel Batistuta.

Fact - Manuel Rui Costa was supplying Gabriel Batistuta at one end and there was a defence that included Tomáš Repka, Moreno Torricelli and goalkeeper Francesco Toldo.

Fiorentina were a formidable force back to front so it was no surprise the 1998-1999 campaign was one of Fiorentina’s most successful in recent times. Leading the Serie A title race most of the season, they failed to hang on and their title. They fell to pieces, losing out to AC Milan and finishing third and qualifying for the Champions League behind Lazio who also managed to leapfrog the Tuscans.

Filed under fiorentina costa batistuta nintendo fila

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Seeing Red seems to help Perugia



Bari 0-2 Perugia

Bologna 1-1 Virtus Entella

Brescia 0-1 Livorno

Carpi 4-2 Varese

Cittadella 3-1 Avellino

Latina 1-0 Crotone

Pro Vercelli 3-2 Catania

Spezia 2-1 Frosinone

Ternana 1-1 Pescara

Trapani 2-1 Vicenza

Virtus Lanciano 2-0 Modena

We may only be two games into the new season but the table already has an unfamiliar look to it.  The two automatic promotion places are occupied by Perugia and Carpi, who were involved in the Game of the Day in Serie B.

Carpi ran out 4-2 winners against Varese after twice coming from behind in the game.  Varese took a 11th minute lead through an excellent individual goal from Bruno Petkovic.  Jerry Mbakogu quickly equalised from the penalty spot, but it was Varese who lead at the break through Brazilian Leonidas.  But 3 goals in a ten minute period in the 2nd half through Poli, Gagliolo and Lollo sealed the victory.

Carpi 4-2 Varese

Perugia had a fantastic victory away at promotion hopefuls Bari.  Goals either side of half time by Falcinelli and Del Prete were enough for victory to maintain their 100% start to the season.  Bari finished the game with nine men after Defendi was sent off for two yellows and Caputo was given a straight red for a stray elbow.  That makes it four players sent off in two games against Perugia so far this season.  Bologna also had two men sent off last week.

Bari 0-2 Perugia

It is also been a solid start to the season for Virtus Lanciano.  The team from Abruzzo beat Modena 2-0.  A goal in each half from Gatto and Thiam was enough to see them home.  Lanciano started well last season also, being undefeated until October.  They couldn’t keep up the same form throughout the season and finished 18th.

Virtus Lanciano 2-0 Modena

Elsewhere in the division Livorno got of the mark with a  1-0 victory away at Brescia, courtesy of a Damjan Đoković goal.  Cittadella ran out 3-1 winners against Avellino and their were wins for Latina, Pro Vercelli (3-2 victors over Catania) Spezia and Trapani.

In the division’s other games Bologna’s slow start to the season continued as they were held at home by Virtus Entella.  Daniele Cacia sparing the home sides blushes.  In the final game Ternana and Pescara played out a one all draw.

You can see the highlights from all the other games in Serie B here

By Ian Such @insearchofluca

Filed under perugia bari catania bologna serie b virtus entella brescia livorno

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English Players in Italy - David Platt

Bari 1991-1992, Juventus 1992-1993 and Sampdoria 1993-1995.

 “If I hadn’t scored that goal, I might still have ended up playing in Italy but, realistically, I’m sure it was the catalyst.” David Platt on the importance of his extra time goal against Belgium in the last 16 of Italia ‘90’.

We all remember the joyous days of Channel 4’s Football Italia. James Richardson bringing us the ins and outs of Calcio from a Piazza in one of Italy’s en vogue cities, a Gazzetta dello Sport in hand and a cappuccino at the ready. If it wasn’t for the move of David Platt, and of course cult hero Paul Gascoigne to Serie A, both of  which saw the English interest in Italian football sky rocket, Channel 4 may never have jumped on the Calcio bandwagon.

Having burst onto the scene at Italia ‘90’, scoring three goals including a memorable volley against Belgium, Platt earned himself a big money move (at the time a British transfer record of £5.5 million) from Aston Villa to Bari. At his first major Italian press conference and keen to make a lasting impression, Platt declared he wanted to become the “Maradona of Bari.” Was this hyperbole?  Almost certainly, but his magisterial claim wasn’t altogether empty. Of course he never achieved the dizzying heights reached by the Argentinian demi-god in Naples. However in his first and only season with the Galletti, Platt scored 11 goals in 29 games. It was an impressive tally for a midfielder playing in a league which prided itself on its defensive fortitude. The Englishman combined the mores of the English game - courage, determination and leadership - with a knack for bursting from midfield to find pockets of space, enabling him to finish ninth in the Serie A scoring charts of 1991-1992. This endeared Platt to the Bari faithful, and the Englishman, (while suspended), was even invited to join the Ultras in the Curva to watch a game against Hellas Verona. Platt obliged, spending fifteen minutes with the fans before taking his seat next to the Bari president, thus ensuring he remains an icon within the city.

However Platt’s first season would end in bitter disappointment after the Biancorossi slid into Serie B spelling an end to the Englishman’s love affair with the Puglia club. Despite the attempts of Roberto Mancini to tempt Platt to Sampdoria, the English international found the lure of Juventus impossible to resist and in 1992 he signed for the Turin giants for £6.5 million. Yet after a disappointing year which saw Platt struggle to cement a first team place at the Vecchia Signora, Giovanni Trapattoni deploying him in a defensive midfield position which consequently stymied his goal scoring, Mancini eventually got his wish and Platt joined Sampdoria in 1993.

Platt arguably had his best years at the Blucerchiati, becoming an integral part of Sven-Goran Eriksson’s Coppa Italia winning side in 1994 and again proving himself a fan favourite. In 55 games at the club he amassed 17 goals, perhaps the most memorable of which came in the Derby della Lanterna against Genoa. The blonde haired midfielder did what he did best, finding himself in the right place at the right time to drive home a rebound from an Atillio Lombardo effort (, salvaging a draw for Samp. In fact watching a montage of his goals for Il Doria you come to realise Platt had a myriad of finishes in his armoury and by the end of his Italian career in 1995 he possessed the all-round skills to mix it with the very best – (

On arriving in Italy Platt said “I want to be an Italian, to speak Italian, live like an Italian and eat like an Italian.” Although he still possessed the midlands accent, he immersed himself in the culture. Celebrating like every goal was his last, gesticulating at officials, embracing the zealous fanaticism, wearing Armani and most importantly, when Calcio ruled the world Platt was playing like the very best Italian midfielders, defensively adept and composed in front of goal.

By Luca Hodges-Ramon

Follow him on Twitter @LH_Ramon 25, also follow the Gentleman Ultra @Gentleman_Ultra

Filed under platt bari juventus sampdoria football italia

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Remeber when? Youri Djorkaeff v Roma 5th January 1997

Classic Calcio Goal: Youri Djorkaeff v Roma 5th January 1997

Inter Milan v Roma

Season: 1996-1997

Location: Giuseppe Meazza, Milan

Goal Scorer: Youri Djorkaeff

French International Djorkaeff was an absolute joy to watch. He lit up Serie A in the 90’s in whe the divison was the toughest in Europe. Djorkaeff, an attacking midfielder with great skill and and eye for goal, he also was capable of breath taking finishing.

Serie A would witness his incredible eye for goal with arguably his finest finish on January 1997. Roy Hodgson’s Inter welcomed Roma to the Giuseppe Meazza, with Inter one goal up, thanks to Maurizio Ganz early strike, Djorkaeff all but put Inter out if site as half time approached.

A shot from the edge of the penalty area was parried by Roma Keeper’ Giorgio Sterchele, only for the Roma defence to fail to clear the rebound sending the ball high in the air. As the ball dropped at a very tight angle Djorkaeff shaped himself and threw himself into the air connecting perfectly with a bicycle kick sending the ball high into the roof of the net for one of the best strikes ever seen in Serie A.

Inter would go on to win the game 3-1 and Djorkaeff ended the season the clubs top scorer with 14 league goals.

By Giovanni Dougall


Filed under inter hodgson san siro roma youri djorkaeff

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Serie B: Misery for Bologna

Serie B kicked off this weekend with some intriguing games to look through.


Week 1 fixtures and results

Avellino 1 – 0 Pro Vercelli

Catania 3-3 Virtus Lanciano

Crotone 0-2 Ternana

Frosinone 1-0 Brescia

Livorno 1-1 Carpi

Modena 1-1 Cittadella

Perugia 2-1 Bologna

Pescara 0 -0 Trapani

Varese 2-1 Spezia

Virtus Entella 0-2 Bari

* Vicenza v Latina to be played this week

Serie B finally got underway last weekend, with the 22nd team finally announced late on Friday night. Vicenza got the final nod and they, belatedly, get their campaign under way at home to Latina this week.

The opening game was also played on Friday as newly promoted Perugia hosted newly relegated Bologna.  I Rossublu are looking to get back to Serie A at the first attempt and would have fancied their chances at Renato Curi.  But Perugia claimed a prized scalp in Week 1 with victory.  Perugia opened the scoring after 64 minutes through debutant Valerio Verre, signed on loan from Udinese.  Diego Falcinelli made it 2 after 85 minutes before Bologna made it a nervy finish after Daniele Cacia converted a 88th minute penalty.  The misery for Bologna was further compounded as they finished the game with 9 men after Garics and Zuculini both saw red.

Promotion favourites Catania got off to a indifferent start as they drew 3 all at home to Virtus Lanciano.  Emanuele Calaio opened the scoring for the home side before the visitors raced into a 2-1 lead.   Goals from Raphael Martinho and Alessandro Rosina looked to have given the Sicilians an opening day victory until Alberto Cerri snatched a draw with a late late equaliser in injury time.

Other results saw Livorno draw at home to Carpi, Bari secure an away win beating Virtus Entella 2-0 and Frosinone saw off Brescia.

It is going to be a tough start for new boys Vicenza.  Admitted to the league at the last minute, it will be all hands on deck to get the team ready for the opening game against Latina.  That game is closely followed by a trip to Sicily to face Trapani.

A final word on Siena, the club who were eventually replaced by Vicenza.  The club has been reformed and will start life in Serie D.  A long way back no doubt but at least football lives on in this Tuscan town.

By Ian Such


Filed under serie b calcio bologna modena vicenza pescara livorno

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The Gentleman Ultras alternative guide to the teams of Serie A: Milan


Stadium: San Siro (Giuseppe Meazza), capacity 80,074

Not many cities can boast two giants of the European game. Milan certainly can. Milan and Internazionale are two titanic teams not only in Serie A but in the history of football. These giants also share one of football’s most iconic footballing structures, the Giuseppe Meazza, which stages the passionate Derby della Madonnina.

When Milan take on Internazionale, this stadium comes alive with a mix of flags, flares, fireworks and huge banners. The ground is not full for every match and it needs some updating, but in its current state it embodies the raw passion of the early 90s Italian football experience.

This colossal stadium has been instantly recognisable since its World Cup refurbishment in 1990. An extra tier, which is supported by no fewer than 11 spiral towers, and a roof with huge red iron girders were added. The San Siro has become a Mecca for football fans and it remains one of the must-see grounds in Europe. Quite simply, its atmosphere and vantage points are second to none.


A guide to the Ultras of Serie A: AC Milan

City: Milan

Key Ultra Groups: Fossa Dei Leoni, Commandos Tigre, Brigate Rossonere, Alternativa Rossonera, Guerrieri Ultras Curva Sud Milano, Avanguardia Rossanera, Curva Sud Milano.

Other Groups: Gruppo Veleno, Estremi Rimedi, Vecchia Maniera, Ultras 1976, Panthers, Boys Assatanati, Il Gruppo Nervus, Il Gruppo the Bull Dog, Il Gruppo Avanguardia, Il Gruppo Barbera, Il Gruppo Zava, Pitbulls, Gruppo Comodo, Gruppo Caramello, Area 207, Armata Rossonera, Bad Boys, Acid Group, Banda Casciavit, Herbert Kilpin Firm, Banda Scalino, Barone Rossonero, Baschi Rossoneri, Black Sheep Group, Bomber Group, Brigate Venete, Brothers, Brutti Dentro, Cani Sciolti, Celtic Devils, Clan, Convinti, Dannati, Devils 1978, Diavoli di Como, Drunk Company Veneto Alcool, Eagles, Fanatic, Fedelissimi Milan, Feroci, Fronte Rossonero, Hooligans, I Diavolacci, Indyans, Kaos, Legionari Tigre,  Inferno Rossonero, Mazzo Group, Mods, Nobilita Rossonera, Nucleo Tifosi Rossoneri, Out Laws, Panthers 1976, Ragazzi del ’99 ACM 1899, Sconvolts, Settembre Rossonero, Skunkati, Stars, Teste Matte, Tigers, Torcida Rossonera, Ubriachi di Milan, Vecchi Teschi, Villani, Warriors, Gioventu Rossonera.

While it is never pleasant to see footballers on the end of scathing criticism, when AC Milan Ultras castigated left-back, Kevin Constant, through the unfurling of a banner during their 1-1 draw with Genoa back in 2013, their exasperation was understandable,  

“Constant, instead of clowning around and being arrogant, respect those who watch your embarrassing performances.”   

Not only were his performances questionable but his off field frivolities – including tweeting pictures at a nightclub on the Friday night before AC Milan’s weekend clash with Genoa – suggested he was less than committed to honouring the iconic red and black shirt. But while there was some justification behind this protest, the criticism reserved for Paolo Maldini during his 900th and last appearance for AC Milan against Roma in 2009 was baffling.

It goes without saying Maldini is a club legend. A product of the primavera, Maldini won five European Cups and seven Scudetti over the course of a 25 year career. Yet after the Italians final match at the San Siro, his lap of honour was soured by a pocket of ultras who expressed their dissent. 

"Thanks captain. On the pitch you were an undying champion but you had no respect for those who made you rich," read one of the banners.

"For your 25 years of glorious service you have the thanks of those who you called mercenaries and misers,"

The ill-feelings allegedly stemmed from an angry exchange between Maldini and Ultras who had awaited the teams return at Milan airport following their loss to Liverpool in the 2005 Champions League final. 

The banners were accompanied by a giant shirt emblazoned with the number six, unveiled to the back drop of chanting “There is only one captain, [Franco] Baresi.”

Giancarlo Capelli, an Ultras leader, later remarked “It was not a protest. We just wanted to make it clear what we thought about some of his comments and behaviour over the past years.” Throughout his career, Maldini hadn’t shied from condemning the Ultras whenever they had failed to support some of his teammates and his defence of Silvio Berlusconi’s transfer policy also appeared to irritate the fans.

For us, it is hard to accept that a club legend would be subjected to such treatment, albeit from a minority. However the intensity of this incident reveals the visceral relationship between Ultras and their club. At times it feels like the macho response of a domineering spouse or spurned lover who feels they haven’t been awarded their due respect. While these actions are highly questionable and a flagrant offence to many a football purist, this apparently aberrant behaviour is part of the Ultras fabric.

That AC Milan’s Ultras hold their players to such lofty standards is perhaps born out of the clubssuccess and prestige. Founded in 1899 as Milan Cricket and Football Club by English expatriates, Alfred Edwards and Herbert Kilpin, the Milanisti take great pride in the knowledge that their team is the oldest in the city and one of the most decorated in Europe (facts they are keen to flaunt when they play their city rivals, Inter).  

In honour of their Anglo-routes, AC Milan have retained the English spelling of the city’s name and this history is also celebrated by the supporters, most notably when the Ultras choreographed a gigantic banner of Kilpin in his archaic red and black shirt during the Rossoneri’s game against Barcelona in 2013. The display was accompanied by the date 1899 and the message ‘La Storia Siamo Noi’ (We are the history). The supporters may also have Kilpin to thank for the clubs iconic red and black colours and as a consequence their nickname - Il Diavolo (the devil).

The Englishman is said to have arrived at this choice after saying “We are a team of devils. Our colours are red as fire, and black, to invoke fear in our opponents.” Indeed the San Siro can be one of the most daunting arenas in European football and the Ultras of the Curva Sud certainly thrive off theirmenacing moniker. Unsurprisingly, AC Milan’s status means they have a plethora of Ultra groups, none more renowned than the historic Fossa dei Leoni (Lion’s Den).

The Fossa dei Leoni (FdL) were formed in 1968 and are said to be the first modern Ultra organisation in Italy. As such they played something of a pioneering role in the nascent years of the Ultras movement. Although the FdL originally resided on Ramp 18 of the Settori Popolari of the San Siro, in 1972 the group shifted to the Curva Sud and became the heartbeat of the Diavolo support. Accompanied by the Brigate Rossonere (Red and Black Brigade), founded in 1975, and Commandos Tigre (Tiger Commandos) who joined Brigate and Fossa on the Curva Sud in 1985, they formed a triumvirate that made the Rossoneri’s support one of the most eclectic on the peninsula. 

To emphasise the FdL’s cult nature, the group had their own song - ‘Leoni Armati’ (Armed Lions), inspired by the Italian film ‘L’armata Brancaleone’. Furthermore in 1982 theyfeatured in the Italian film ‘Eccezzziunale…veramente’, in which actor Diego Abatantuono played the role of the group’s leader, Donato ‘Ras della Fossa’.

Given that the inception of the Italian Ultra movement was inextricably linked with the political activism of the era, curiously Fossa never adopted a clear political identity. It is said some of their members predominately veered towards the left, with images of Che Guevara visible in the San Siro during the groups early years. However many of the Ultras on the Curva Sud have avoided political affiliation and while rifts arose from a difference in ideology between Commandos, Brigate and Fossa the groups led the Curva for 20 years in relative harmony, that was until the FdL disbanded in 2005.  

The reason behind Fossa’s dissolution once again beggars belief. The story goes – and there are numerous accounts – that during a game between AC Milan and Juventus in 2005, the FdL managed to steal a banner from a Juve Ultra group known as Viking. Fossa proceeded to unfurl this banner in the Curva Sud as a trophy of their conquest however it later emerged that rather than stealing the banner, the Milanisti had obtained it “Senza Onore” (without honour). In other words the fans hadn’t physically fought to steal the banner and thus this went against what can only be described as an unwritten Ultras modus operandi. The Juventini desired revenge and a few days later an FdL banner was stolen by Viking and posted on the group’s fanzine. The plot thickens. The following Sunday the banners were back in the possession of their owners. Rumours spread that the swap had been organised in agreement with the police, a heinous crime in the world of the Ultras and much to the anathema of the other groups in the Curva Sud.

The FdL ceased to exist, yet the conflict in the Curva Sud went on. Internecine warfare ensued. An AC Milan fan was shot in the legs. Monza magistrates concluded that the attack was part of an internal war amongst Rossoneri Ultras over merchandising and tickets. Commandos and Brigate lived on while new groups such as Guerrieri Ultras (Ultras Warriors)– formed of ex-FdL members – were born. Their motto ‘Neither red nor black, just black and red’ encapsulated their apolitical stance. The peace was eventually restored and now the majority of the Curva Sud has united under the umbrella of Curva Sud Milano. Their headquarters lie in the industrial area of San Giovanni but their members spread across the length of the peninsula.

The infighting, the protests, their unabashed hubris and the revolving door in which groups form and disband all appears rather ludicrous. It is bemusing but undeniably beguiling. In the midst of all the chaos there are codes and rules that must be stringently followed. Its madness but there is a meticulous method to the Ultras madness. Imagine Italian football without them. Imagine the San Siro on a Champions League night without the Curva Sud, the match devoid of incessant chanting, flares, smoke and spectacular choreographies.

In 2010, when Manchester United faced AC Milan in the Champions League knockout phase, Sir Alex Ferguson was left in awe. Not by the superstars on the field but by the supporters in the terraces.

"The one thing that’s so amazing is that for the first 15 minutes I felt in shock, really in shock, because the atmosphere was unbelievable," Ferguson explained. "Coupled with the noise when they [AC Milan] scored, it unnerved me and it unnerved my players. No matter how much experience you have got, you get drawn into that cauldron of noise.”

Therein lies the seductive power of these Ultras.


Classic Player: Zvonimir Boban

Zvonimir Boban was arguably one of the most talented players to play for Milan in the 1990’s. An impressive feat considering he plied his trade in a team that was made up of legends.

When talking of Milan and ‘that’ great team, Marco Van Basten, Ruud Gullit, Frank Rijkaard, Paolo Maldini and Franco Baresi are just some of the very obvious choices that are not just ‘classic players’ but bona fide legends of the game.

Zvonimir Boban however, was the heartbeat of this team and is so often overlooked. Every FIFA accolade is bestowed on the likes of Maldini and Van Basten (as they should) but this talented Croatian is often overlooked.

Boban combined skill, intelligence, and an outstanding passing range with a devastating shot; he is sometimes easy to forget just how good he was. 

Signed by Fabio Capello for £8 million in 1991 from Dinamo Zagreb the Croatian initially was loaned straight out to Bari. After suffering relegation with the Southern team, he came back to Milan to embark on a golden journey. This would see him win four Serie A titles, three Italian Super Cups, a Champions League and a European Super Cup. The Croatian may not embody the memories of those not close to the Italian game. However, at this time this was perhaps because of the lack of International recognition, due to politics and not sport.

His partnership with Demetrio Albertini would become synonymous for having a touch of class and complete tactical awareness. Boban himself technically was a genius and had a devastating ability to produce breath taking goals. These were taken from distance, with his head or from a graceful and fluid running pattern with the ball which was fuelled by his raw aggression and determination. Those old enough to remember will remember how it was Boban and not his better known counter parts that James Richardson waxed lyrical about of Channel 4’s Football Italia.

Boban could play in any role in midfield and his ability to adapt and be flexible made him indispensable. He would not just be able to ‘fit in’ and ‘do a job’; in the role he was asked to fill. On the contrary, he would play that role as well as the man who was there before him, if not better. When you have a player like this it allows those around you to concentrate solely on their role and in turn produce the maximum impact. When those around him were the likes of Roberto Donadoni and company, you can see how important his role was.

Boban’s one downfall was perhaps his lack of goals (30 in 251 games). When he did score they were mostly spectacular but his ability to create for others was key. His temperament was also pointed out as being feisty to say the least however; many great players need this aggression in their game to make them what they are. It could even be argued that this could at times even be his greatest asset even if it did land in trouble on the pitch. Even so the Croatian was always willing to fight for the cause and for Milan over a decade when they swept all before them.

When Calcio ruled the World, Milan were the greatest team by some distance and Boban was one the heartbeat of that team.


Filed under milan san siro boban ultras van basten gullit rijkaard maldini baresi rossi milan derby

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Remember when? Last minute Milan slayed Sven


Sven-Göran Eriksson took his Lazio side north to the San Siro to face fellow title challengers AC Milan. The Rossoneri were on the back of a three game winless streak, so the pressure was beginning to mount on Alberto Zaccheroni and his men.  It didn’t get much harder than a Lazio team  with the likes of Pavel Nedved, Roberto Mancini, Siniša Mihajlović, Christian Vieri and Marcelo Salas all ready to light up the San Siro.

Milan welcomed back Roberto Donadoni and Massimo Ambrosini but had to do with out Zvonimir Boban. As for Lazio, Fernando Couto and Sergio Conceiçao would miss out but Sinisa Mihajlovic, Dejan Stankovic and Pavel Nedved all returned to the squad.

Lazio started the game brighter and seemed hungrier perhaps due to the shock 2-0 defeat away to Venezia the week before.

The first real chance came on the 10th minute as Sinisa Mihajlovic sent in a whipped free kick from the left foot. This whipped right across the Milan six yard box however, Salas just couldn’t connect and sent the ball wide.

Milan settled after a poor start and they came close to taking the lead as George Weah headed down a long ball to Maurizio Ganz, he cut inside to shoot but Paolo Negro got in a last ditch slide tackle. This sent the ball onto the cross bar with Luca Marchegiani beaten.

Zaccheroni’s men were on top now and George Weah was starting to cause problems. He forced a comfortable save out of Marchegiani with a snap shot from the edge of the box. Lazio’s custodian again would deny Weah moments later, after a lovely Milan move. The Lazio stopper smothered low to his right, to frustrate the Liberian striker. It was Oliver Bierhoff’s turn next to waste a good chance as Weah split the defence with an incredible pass but the big German just couldn’t get a clean strike on it and Marchegiani saved again.

As half time fast approached AC Milan really should have taken the lead as George Weah picked out Oliver Bierhoff at the back post, unmarked he had all the time in the world to pick out his two strike partners. They were unmarked at the opposite post and he could and should have burst the net himself, instead it was neither a cross or a shot and the ball rolled out for a goal kick. The Rossoneri faithful were beginning to get frustrated as Bierhoff blazed over another glorious chance moments later.

Both sides went in level at the break, Zaccheroni looked the happier of the two coaches as he knew if his team kept this dominance, it would only be a matter of time before they scored. As for Erikkson I’m sure he had a few harsh words for his under-performing stars.

The second half began as the first ended with Weah, Beirhoff and Ganz causing all sorts of trouble for Lazio. The Liberian thought he’d broken the deadlock with a fine strike from the edge of the box, only for it to be ruled out as his two strike partners were both offside. Zaccheroni decided to change things as Brazilian Leonardo replaced Maurizio Ganz. This change almost worked immediately, as Leonardo burst down the right into the Lazio box only to fire wide of Marchegiani’s goal.

Milan had to stay switched on though as Roberto Mancini fired a warning shot just over the bar from 20 yards with Sebastiano Rossi beaten. Nedved was next to beat Rossi but his effort was off target too.

On came Roberto Donadoni for Milan as they pressed for that vital goal which would eventually did come in the 90th minute. Substitute Leonardo let fly from the edge of the box to beat Marchegiani low at his near post sparking wild celebration. It was nothing more than they deserved and they knew the points were in the bag.

They might not be title challengers any more but we should still be in for an intriguing game as Filippo Inzaghi’s new look Milan welcome Lazio to San Siro this weekend.

By Giovanni Dougall

Filed under lazio milan serie a 1998 stadio olimpico leonardo

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Six minutes of winter madness in the Delle Alpi

Torino 1-2 Inter (1992/93)

Inter were a much changed team at the start of the 1992/93 season.  They had sold their three German internationals Andreas Brehme, Lothar Matthäus and Jürgen Klinsmann back to the Bundesliga after a poor year the season the year before. This was a new era with some new talent.

In the pre-season the Nerazzurri had brought in some new foreign talent and mixed it with some of the best in Italy. Walter Zenga was still at the club as was Guiseppe Bergomi and Riccardo Ferri firming up the back.  Davide Fontolan and Nicola Berti were still marshalling the midfield and Matthias Sammer and Igor Shalimov were brought in increase the danger from that part of the field. Up front, Italia 90 legend Salvatore Schillaci, was teamed up with Ruben Sosa and Darko Pancev.

It was a frosty January day when the Stadio Delle Apli awaited the teams on match day 17. The sun was trying desperately to break through the clouds as the players came onto the pitch in the afternoon. Torino were disappointing in Serie A but were doing extremely well in the Cup Winners Cup that year, their team certainly had some talent that year also. Luca Marchegiani, Guilio Falcone, Paolo Poggi, Enzo Scifo and Carlos Aguilera were just some of the players facing the Nerazzurri.

Torino had however, drawn three and lost four in their last seven but despite this 31,879 spectators braved the frosty weather and set out in hope that their team could overturn Inter. The Milanese club had in contrast won their last three games scoring nine goals in the process. The new look Inter had been privy to some poor performances this term but overall it was a good season so far.

The first half promised much but offered little. One common feature throughout the game was the link up play between Fontolan and Sosa and this was seen early on as the former blasted over the bar after the Uruguayan had crossed the ball in.

Torino had been woken up by this early chance and replied with a Roberto Mussi header that was cleared just off the line. Walter Casagrande also huffed and puffed and as Enzo Scifo pulled the strings in the midfield ‘Toro’ left the field after the first half looking more dangerous.

The second half got off to a slow start but when Inter won a corner on 60 minutes, a rash challenge saw Berti scythed to the ground. The penalty was awarded and Ruben Sosa obliged, smashing the ball down the middle of the goal.

The second goal came unbelievably a minute later and again it went to Inter. The lesser known and lesser played, Mirko Taccola, played a lovely cross field ball that fell to the feet of Fontolan. He controlled it perfectly and smashed it passed Luca Marchegiani in the Torino goal.

In what was a crazy six minute period, Torino then pulled one back. Enzo Scifo, who had looked dangerous all game, rifled one of his iconic drives at Zenga. The ball took a huge deflection off Antonio Paganin and flew passed the despairing Inter custodian.

The game finished 1-2 in favour of Inter. The Nerazzurri would go on to finish second in Serie A whilst Torino although successful in Europe finished in a disappointing ninth position.

Filed under inter torino stadio delle apli zenga sosa fontolan