BLOG ITALIA
Monday December 3 2012
Red and dead

A plethora of dismissals had a major effect on results in Serie A this weekend. Giancarlo Rinaldi wraps up the action.

In ice hockey, they understand the importance of the power play. Numerical superiority over your opponents is something to be exploited to your advantage. It is a lesson that is clearly catching on among the big hitters of Italian football.

Nowhere was that story more stark than in the unforgiving surroundings of the Juventus Stadium. For a little more than half an hour Torino held their own in a gripping Derby della Mole until Kamil Glik intervened on Emanuele Giaccherini’s ankle. He did get some of the ball, but seemed to catch much more of his opponent’s leg. The replays made for more painful viewing than a box set of I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here.

From that point on, the Granata ceased to be a factor in the game. Their agony was only prolonged by an Andrea Pirlo penalty which got no closer to the goal than a razor blade does to his chin these days. There were times when you wanted to put your arms round the whole Torino team, as if they were a boxer, to spare them further suffering.

Goals from the boys of the Juve youth set-up, a Claudio Marchisio double and a critic-silencer from Sebastian Giovinco, eventually put their city rivals on the canvas. It was an important tonic for the Bianconeri, who were ruthless in their exploitation of their man advantage. Even if, as I cruelly suggested on Twitter, the introduction of Nicklas Bendtner did its best to even things up.

Stand-in boss Angelo Alessio looked almost relieved at the end of the game that his spell on the Bianconeri front line is almost over. He is not a natural in front of the cameras and gives the impression he will gladly give way to Antonio Conte when he returns after his ban as part of match-betting investigations. If nothing else, it should definitely liven up post-match interviews.

As for Toro, they were left to wonder what might have been. They had more than held their own until Glik saw red. Their fans were defiant at the final whistle and the club defended its Polish international.

“Kamil does those English-style tackles in training, it’s part of his way of playing the game – tough but fair,” insisted teammate Angelo Ogbonna. “He was going for the ball, not his opponent’s legs. When we went a man down after half an hour, a difficult task became impossible.”

There were similar feelings in Sicily where Catania were threatening to upset the Milan revival until Pablo Barrientos received his marching orders. Even then, the Rossoneri needed a helping hand from the match officials for the second week in succession to break their duck. Stephan El Shaarawy looked clearly offside for the goal which levelled the match. And he really needs no such assistance at the moment.

A beauty from Kevin Prince-Boateng, later red-carded himself, and another from Il Faraone completed the comeback after slipping behind to a Nicola Legrottaglie strike. It is starting to look like those who said this squad was nowhere near as bad as its early League position suggested might have been right. Although after the injustice they suffered against Juve earlier in the season it was hard not to feel a little bit sorry for Catania when the final whistle blew.

Even lowly Pescara had their chance to pull off a shock before they, too, went down to 10 men. Napoli looked to be cruising in Sunday’s lunchtime match when Gokhan Inler and Marek Hamsik gave them an early lead. But a goal from Birkir Bjarnason started nerves jangling in the San Paolo as Walter Mazzarri’s men looked to close the gap on Juve at the top.

It took nearly an hour for the red card that put them on easy street. Local boy Antonio Bocchetti did his hometown club a favour by conceding a penalty and taking an early bath which ensured the Partenopei could relax. It finished 5-1 but they could have had just about as many as they wanted after that.

A helping hand was also needed by Inter as Palermo’s Santiago Garcia put into his own net to give them three much-needed points in the San Siro. At least, for a moment, the questions about Wesley Sneijder fell silent for Andrea Stramaccioni. They will no doubt resurface at the next poor result.

The red card came too late to assist Fiorentina in Sunday’s night game. The Viola had a couple of shouts for a penalty in their exciting 2-2 draw with Sampdoria but, with a patched-up squad, they struggled to produce their usual flowing play. It took two goals from defender Stefan Savic – which may surprise Manchester City fans – to match a strike from Nenad Krstitic and a Gonzalo Rodriguez own goal. Credit also to the visitors for doing their homework and stifling the boys from the Artemio Franchi and creating plenty of chances of their own.

A winning weekend for the capital clubs saw both of them improve their League situation significantly. Lazio held off Parma while Roma’s come from behind victory in Siena was as gutsy as it was deserved. There was no sentiment from Mattia Destro as he celebrated his double against his old club in more manners than seemed possible.

Udinese unleashed a surprise thrashing on Cagliari while Bologna got precious points at home to Atalanta. But the biggest pain was surely suffered by Genoa who lost at home to previously hopeless travellers Chievo. The Gigi Del Neri effect has been a truly miserable one for the Grifone as they stack up defeat upon defeat. Indeed, they were the only team of the weekend for whom playing against 10 men proved no advantage at all.

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Have your say...
@ viktor.Your coach said the penalty shouldnt have been awarded so i dont see how we were sore losers.Secondly,juve played awful against Milan,but as someone who supports football and respects teams like milan with an illustrious history,i find it very depressing that some people think Milan actually played a good game.The match was miserable and in the end it all came down to who was the lesser of the two evils.
on the 7th December, 2012 at 6:34pm
"Although after the injustice they suffered against Juve earlier in the season it was hard not to feel a little bit sorry for Catania when the final whistle blew."Why is it that when a refereeing decision goes juves' way the really big words like injustice have to come out?
on the 7th December, 2012 at 6:25pm
@Mustafa

"the back of isla" REALLY?? lololol
on the 5th December, 2012 at 6:29pm
I'm actually glad Destro celebrated like he did. This recent trend of not celebrating against teams you had played for just one - two season or even half a season in some cases was becoming ridiculous.
on the 5th December, 2012 at 4:00pm
Yeah yeah yeah,

When Milan or Inter get gifts from referees, you don't see any blogs or headlines talking about it. But when it comes to Juve, you see "Scandal" capitalized in the match report headline and more than one blogs about it.

Or to be fair, one time I saw them describe the penalty awarded for Milan against Juve as "dubious" where the ball hit the back of Isla.
on the 5th December, 2012 at 1:45am
@Aidencav

Your comment shouldn't warrant a response but blame the uneducated people who post constantly on these blogs and my irritation with posts that are rarely based on facts.
So here is my response to you mate:
Juve was never convicted of any cheating If you are however referring to Calciopoli as i said before the only real cheaters were and still are Inter. You were clearly never a Juve fan because if you were you would have looked up all the facts before scrutinizing Juve's actions.
on the 4th December, 2012 at 6:00pm
All you juve fans are a joke and clearly uneducated...the article.is about how rthe teans with 11 players are starting to take advantage of the teams who get red carded... like they should... i lived in torino for 3 years. Loved juve as aid... but they ended up being cheaters and still are. All juve fans must com out of the cave they hde and and see whats really going on.
on the 4th December, 2012 at 2:42pm
Why no headlines when Milan and Inter were helped by the refs??? Why nobody is complaining??? Why??? BECAUSE!!! Because Juve was not involved but for others it's ok. All of you JUVEhaters,watch out.
Antonio will be back next week and the journey will go on!!! Forza Juve!!!
on the 4th December, 2012 at 6:26am
Oh Alberto, wake up! Why would a daily want to side with any one team [if uniform favour was even possible amidst a secular editorial staff]?
Do you not think FI could make more hay remaining neutral so that they can then pick on whomever they need to to provide better editorial copy? FI needs to write something every day...filing before deadline, I would submit, weighs on the mind of the editorialist and therefore the best 'story' is chased, not their team bus.
on the 4th December, 2012 at 1:29am
@ Alberto

Even Gigi Buffon said Juve deserved to lose and the penalty decision was harsh but there may have been slight contact on the underside of the arm, its debatable! Maybe you have a point and maybe you dont!

As for the Catania game you are way out of line! Barrientos deserved to get sent off. The goal was offside but what about the yellow card that Il Faraone got for diving when he was clearly tripped in the box! Milan deserved their 2 goal advantage!
on the 3rd December, 2012 at 11:28pm
@Alberto This article does talk about Milan's helping hand over the past 2 games so perhaps you need to get off your high horse and actually read?
on the 3rd December, 2012 at 10:59pm
The red card for Glik was both merited and just.I just wish Juve wouldn't wait until the 2nd half to show intensity. The performances will pick up when Antonio Conte returns to our bench.One thing is clear and that is how Juve need Chiellini,he is an uncompromising rock.
on the 3rd December, 2012 at 10:24pm
......welcome back our coach, long has been missed to take BACK HIS REINS!
on the 3rd December, 2012 at 6:42pm
@albertui

"Milan have robbed juve and cataniatwo weeks in a row now??! Are you serious, didn't I tell you to stop being a sore loser. You lost to ac Milan cause we were a better team. Same thing against Catania.. It could have ended 1-5. Sick of listening to all juve supporters. Yes u won the league and you might qualify for CL. Now calm down. Hopefully you'll get a striker that carries you bit further.
on the 3rd December, 2012 at 6:26pm
I can't wait for Conte to be back. Juve would go undefeated again.

Forza Juve, forza Conte
on the 3rd December, 2012 at 4:36pm
Keep hating on Juve football Italia. It's clear you guys can't wait for something to happen in a Juve game which benefits Juve so you guys can comment front page on it! Milan have robbed Juve and Catania 2 weeks in a row. Maybe someone at football Italia should make an article to point that out???
on the 3rd December, 2012 at 4:08pm
@ Nick, i am a juve supporter through and through but let's be honest if it wasn't for Juventus' demotion, Marchisio would have ended up playing for someone else. A lot of players got their break because of that demotion... still i am happy he did get his chance, he is a class act.
on the 3rd December, 2012 at 3:08pm
I dont hear anyone speaking of how appropriate
It was for marchisio to net a brace in this game... With delpiero
Far away he is the center of the city.. Born in torino
And coming up thru the juve ranks its truly amazing
What a story he is.. And then to be the game winner
In the torino derby.. Unreal!! Though the red card was
Merited, it was still unfortunate. But juve showed
A true test of champions by capitalizing on it as they
Did
on the 3rd December, 2012 at 2:14pm
I've been reading a lot about the Juve-Torino match and how unfortunate Torino were. The red card was as clear cut as they come and it's shocking that Glik is being defended - bones have been smashed in less aggressive challenges. Juve fielded their B Team out struggled for with the unfamiliar 4-3-3. Juve with Pogba, De Ceglie and Giaccherini and missing Chiellini through injury is as much a B Team as Conte fields these days. In a derby context they did quite well.
on the 3rd December, 2012 at 1:17pm

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