Fiorentina 0-2 Inter Milan
Classy Match between Nerazzurri and Viola, and Not Only Because of Technical Displays
Really exciting stuff at the Stadio Artemio Franchi of Florence today. The match itself was quite enjoyable to watch, with plenty of opportunities for either side (even though in the end, Inter-“bulldozing tank”-nazionale got the upper hand again, through goals of Jiménez and Cruz). The real class act however was at the end of match, when the entire Fiorentina team lined up close to the stadium tunnel and awaited their Inter opponents to shake hands, one by one (just like in rugby matches). With the heart-warming tribute of the Viola fans to their coach Cesare Prandelli (who recently lost his wife Manuela due to a long-time illness), we’d wish to see things like that more often on a soccer pitch, things which at the end of the day, matter more perhaps than the 3 points in the league rankings.
As for the match itself, this was another exam which Inter passed with flying colors. Surfing the wave of their Champions League victories and the good results against Roma and against Juve (win and away draw respectively), Roberto Mancini’s boys got rid of the Viola obstacle, by earning a 2-0 away victory at the Stadio Franchi of Florence. Providing the Inter glory: Jiménez and Cruz, two players which coincidentally had gotten on the scoresheet earlier this week against Fenerbahce, and who tonight contributed to add another match to Inter’s loss-less Serie A streak.
Before the match begun, the entire Franchi stadium paid tribute to Cesare Prandelli and his wife Manuela, with a long round of applause and hundreds of white roses thrown off from the Franchi stands, to precede the traditional minute of silence. Then, the Fiorentina coach concentrated his mind on soccer (for a full 90 minutes at least) in which he had to deal with pretty much an improvised defensive set-up (due to a last-minute injury of Dario Dainelli). This forced the repositioning of Alessandro Potenza to the right wing and Tomas Ujfalusi in the center.
|GOALSCORERS: 10′ Jimenez (I), 45′ Cruz (I)|
|FIORENTINA (4-3-3): Frey — Potenza, Ujfalusi, Gamberini, Pasqua — Kuzmanovic (46′ Jorgensen), Liverani (59′ Santana), Donadel — Semioli, Pazzini (46′ Vieri), Mutu. (bench: Lupatelli, Balzaretti, Osvaldo, Gobbi). Coach: Prandelli|
|INTER (4-3-1-2): Julio Cesar — Maicon, Cordoba, Samuel, Chivu — J.Zanetti, Dacourt (21′ Maxwell), Cambiasso — Jimenez (82′ Materazzi) — Ibrahimovic, Cruz (73′ Suazo). (bench: Orlandoni, Burdisso, Pelè, Crespo). Coach: Mancini|
AC Milan 0-0 Juventus
No Goals Between Rossoneri and Bianconeri, but Chances Aplenty
Milan-Juve ends 0-0. All in all it’s a result that makes sense, given what the level of play the two teams displayed during the 90 minutes. At the end of the day, a point is probably a better result for Juve than AC Milan, for two reasons: firstly, for the Bianconeri this is an away draw at San Siro (never an easy feat whatever the form of the host team may be) which temporarily puts them 2 points behind leaders Inter (albeit with 2 extra games played). Secondly, this result will only feed the doubts of the Rossoneri, in believing they are under a curse of not being able to win at home this season. A look at the history books marks this as a negative record for AC Milan: counting the winless matches of last season, this brings the streak to 9 consecutive games without a win for Carlo Ancelotti’s boys (earlier record being 8 matches, dating from the prehistoric times of 1934-35).
Tactically, this game had in store some early surprises compared to what the pre-match studies had anticipated. Carlo Ancelotti decided to field his usual “Xmas tree” formation, but gave Kaká the task of getting up almost in line with Alberto Gilardino (with the playmaking tasks as nº10 being left to Clarence Seedorf). In addition, Serginho was given a starting role over Paolo Maldini, a sign perhaps that the Milan coach wanted his wing offensives to be more pungent. On the other end, with Camoranesi out injured, Claudio Ranieri surprised everyone not only by not starting Alessandro Del Piero from minute 1, but by preferring Hasan Salihamidzic as right midfielder over Marco Marchionni or Raffaele Palladino. A choice justified by the Bosnian’s better defensive abilities over his two counterparts.
The match started with an incredibly active Juventus side, who pushed up on the Rossoneri defense right from the get-go. Both Iaquinta and Trezeguet were supported by the Bianconeri mid-line, and forced the AC Milan players to commit some mistakes which could have been very costly, the most notable of which the ball lost by Andrea Pirlo in minute 12, which set up Cristiano Zanetti for a nice aerial ball to Trezeguet on the right, but the Frenchman’s strike hit the base of the post.
|MILAN (4-3-2-1): Dida — Oddo (79′ Bonera), Nesta, Kaladze, Serginho (64′ Maldini) — Gattuso, Pirlo, Ambrosini — Seedorf, Kaká — Gilardino (64′ Inzaghi). (bench: Kalac, Cafu, Brocchi, Gourcuff). Coach: Ancelotti.|
|JUVENTUS (4-4-2): Buffon — Zebina, Legrottaglie, Chiellini, Molinaro — Salihamidzic (71′ Marchionni), Nocerino, C.Zanetti, Nedved (82′ Palladino) — Trezeguet, Iaquinta (71′ Del Piero). (bench: Belardi, Birindelli, Criscito, Tiago). Coach: Ranieri.|
Marco Pantanella writes for the mCalcio blog