Thursday, July 18, 2024

The Latest Football News and Opinions From 90 Minutes Online

Italian Serie A review – Kaka’s farewell, and p*ssing Inter the wind

On Saturday night all eyes turned to the San Siro and the God-fearing Brazilian whose proposed transfer has dominated the headlines.  


Prior to the match between Milan and Fiorentina, the Rossoneri faithful let their feelings be known as hundreds of banners were unfurled telling general manager, Adriano Galliano, in no uncertain terms that the sale of their prized asset would be an aberration. 



The match itself got off to a flying start with Fiorentina awarded a penalty five minutes into the game. The decision looked dubious with Christian Abbiati appearing to get a good chunk of the ball as he dived at the feet of Stevan Jovetic, and after consultation with his linesman the referee reversed the call. 


Two minutes later Milan were in front.  


With Ronaldinho dropped in favour of a more defensive outlook, David Beckham, starting his second consecutive game, was on set-piece duty. A poorly worked corner on the left-hand side led to the ball, somewhat fortuitously, falling to the feet of Alexandre Pato just inside the 18-yard-box. The young Brazilian didn’t need a second invitation and struck an unstoppable low drive into the corner of the net.  


After a frenetic opening, the game petered out from there on in, with Milan shutting-out Fiorentina as only an accomplished Italian side can.  


Fiorentina’s best chance to level came in the second-half, as a snapshot from Mario Alberto Santana drew a magnificent reaction save from Cristian Abbiati on the hour mark.   


After the game Kaka embraced every one of his team-mates and remained on the pitch to prolonged applause from the crowd - fueling rumours that the match would be his last in the red and black of the Rossoneri.  


Keeping it local, Jose Mourinho’s Inter made the short trip up to Bergamo to face Atalanta on Sunday.              


Although they were missing a number of first team players, including Sulley Muntari, Patrick Viera and Walter Samuel, Inter were woeful and found themselves three goals down with little over thirty minutes gone, thanks to Sergio Floccari’s opener and a quick fire brace from captain Cristiano Doni. 


Although Mourinho tried to shake things up at half-time by bringing on Adriano, Luis Figo and Hernan Crespo, it was to little avail as his side were unable to shake off their funk.  


Zlatan Ibrahimovic poked home a consolation goal two minutes into injury time as the match finished 3-1 to Atalanta.  


Inter’s defeat opened the door for Juventus to close the gap at the top to just one point, if they could overcome Lazio at the Stadio Olimpico on Sunday evening.  


The Bianconeri made a pedestrian start to the game. Lazio dominated the early exchanges, with Mauro Zarate’s class continuing to the defy fact he was turning out for Birmingham City last season.   


It was through a Zarate-won free-kick that Lazio took the lead in the 25th minute. Christian Ledesma’s looping cross caught Alex Manninger in no man’s land and the Austrian stopper only flapped at the ball as it arced over him and into the net. 


It should have been 2-0 two minutes later as Goran Pandev managed to scoop the ball over from eight-yards, after reacting quickest to a rebounded strike by Tomasso Rocchi. 


Instead, Juventus leveled the scores in the 30th minute as Olof Mellberg lost his marker to rifle home a header from Marco Marchionni's corner.  


Claudio Ranieri’s side came out looking for the win in the second-half, sitting higher up the pitch and maintaining pressure on Lazio’s defense. However, despite dominating possession and pinning Lazio into their own third they were unable to find the winner.  


Elsewhere, Roma continued their march up the table, but left it late with a 92nd minute strike by Julio Baptista earning them all thee points at Torino.    


Genoa beat Lecce 2-0 to move up into the fourth Champions League spot at the expense of Napoli, whose 2-1 defeat at bottom of the table Chievo saw two red cards and three disallowed goals.   


Results: Siena 1-0 Reggina, AC Milan 1-0 Fiorentina, Torino 0-1 Roma, Sampdoria 0-2 Palermo, Lecce 0-2 Genoa, Lazio 1-1 Juventus, Chievo 2-1 Napoli, Catania 1-2 Bologna, Cagliari 2-0 Udinese, Atalanta 3-1 Inter Milan

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