Milan, Inter, Lazio and Roma take 10 out of 12 (Champions League Matchday 4)

Matchday 4 of the UEFA Champions League was pretty productive for Serie A teams: out of the 4 Italian clubs in contention (AC Milan, Inter Milan, Roma and Lazio), 3 managed to clinch away the victory. Only Roma had some trouble in their match against Sporting Lisbon, but the Giallorossi fought back valiantly to tie the game in the dying minutes, and obtained a valuable point in light of next round qualification. At the end of the day, 10 points out of 12 isn’t bad at all.

Champions League Matchday 4 - 10 Points Out of 12 for Italian Teams


Shakhtar Donetsk 0-3 AC Milan

Inzaghi and Kaká celebrate, might Milan be back on the winning track?To anyone following AC Milan these last few years, the following sentence should come as no surprise: “Pippo Inzaghi came on from the subs bench, and provided the Rossoneri with the winning goal(s)”. It really reads like the script of a movie seen many times before, one that the Milan supporters know all too well: SuperPippo entered the field in the 63rd to replace an out-of-touch Gilardino, and within 7 minutes it was curtains for Shakhtar.

In the cold night of Donetsk, the first half of this match was rather drab. It almost seemed as if both teams were happy with a tie, and did little to modify the 0-0 scoreline during the first 45 minutes. Perhaps it was due to the cold Ukrainian temperatures, but the only highlights of the first period were sporadic attempts by the home team, such as those of Dmytro Chygrynskiy (central shot onto Dida) or Darijo Srna (a vicious diagonal effort parried away by the Milan keeper). The Croatian winger in particular was a constant thorn in the Rossoneri side, with his fast accelerations and creation of space for the cross. Ex-Livorno’s Cristiano Lucarelli on the other hand was keeping rather quiet, well surrounded by Nesta and Kaladze.

Read the rest of the Shakhtar-AC Milan match report here


FC Shakhtar Donetsk
 AC Milan
GOALSCORERS: 65′, 93′ Inzaghi (M), 72′ Kaká (M)
SHAKHTAR DONETSK (4-3-1-2): Pyatov — Srna, Yezerskiy Chygrynskiy, Rat (73′ William) — Ilsinho, Hubshman, Fernandinho — Jadson — C.Lucarelli (78′ Castillo), Brandao (85′ Gladkiy). (bench: Virt, Duljaj, Lewandowski, Gai).Coach: Lucescu.
MILAN (4-3-2-1): Dida — Bonera, Nesta, Kaladze, Serginho (85′ Brocchi) — Gattuso, Pirlo, Ambrosini — Kaká, Seedorf (80′ Maldini) — Gilardino (63′ F.Inzaghi). (bench: Kalac, Oddo, Gourcuff, Ronaldo). Coach: Ancelotti.


Lazio 2-1 Werder Bremen

Meanwhile for Lazio, these were times of great uncertainty. The European campaign going average, Serie A going worse, it was time for Delio Rossi’s men to obtain a vital 3 points and prove that their team didn’t deserve the current standings. The mission was more or less accomplished tonight.

Tommaso Rocchi celebrates his goal by leaping over the advertisement boardsThe first 45 minutes could have been psychologically shattering for many struggling teams, because it looked like this was one of those days where no matter how hard you try nothing seems to work. At the 10′ minute mark, the Biancocelesti had already 3 distinct scoring chances on the counter, through Tommaso Rocchi, Luciano Zauri, and Guglielmo Stendardo. Midfield playmakers Mourad Meghni and Cristian Ledesma seemed to be in great form tonight, constantly finding opening passes for their teammates up front, but Lazio lacked considerably in finishing touch at this point. Meghni was forced to shoot over the bar under pressure, then minutes later a pinpoint pass from Ledesma to Stephen Makinwa was wasted by the Nigerian, who went for power instead of accuracy and found Tim Wiese‘s foot ready.

Read the rest of the Lazio-Werder Bremen match report here


S.S. Lazio
 SV Werder Bremen
GOALSCORERS: 57′, 68′ Rocchi (L), 88′ pen. Diego (W)
LAZIO (4-3-1-2): Ballotta — Behrami, Stendardo, Cribari, Zauri (18′ De Silvestri) — Mudingayi, Ledesma, Mutarelli — Meghni (74′ Manfredini) — Rocchi, Makinwa (88′ Scaloni). (bench: Muslera, Firmani, Baronio, Tare). Coach: D.Rossi.
WERDER BREMEN (4-3-1-2): Wiese — Fritz (76′ Harnik), Mertesacker, Naldo, Pasanen — Andreasen, Baumann (32′ Jensen), Borowski — Diego — Rosenberg, Almeida. (bench: Vander, Vranjes, Carlos Alberto, Tosic, Schindler). Coach: Schaaf.


Inter Milan 4-2 CSKA Moscow

Most pundits predicted that after this match the Nerazzurri would have one foot solidly into the next ground, but few were expecting such a dramatic come-from-behind victory. From 0-2 to the final 4-2, Inter brought the San Siro house down with 2 goals by Esteban Cambiasso and Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who contrary to his average performance against Juve this week-end, was absolutely on fire.

Jo and Vagner Love celebrate the early CSKA leadInter coach Roberto Mancini had a few line-up problems for this one, his injury list already looking pretty long and receiving the addition of Luis Figo recently, hurt in the match against Juve this week-end. As a result, the utilization of otherwise-would-be defenders was necessary, Maxwell in this case who took onto the role of left midfield. The striking force for the Nerazzurri was composed of Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Hernan Crespo, with the week-end hero Julio Cruz receiving a turn of rest. On the other wide, coach Gazaeev displayed his usual Brasilerao-rejects formation (ok, I’m being harsh, but come on the formations for this match were almost ridiculous: no Italians for Inter, and less than half of CSKA with Russian players… Platini must have thrown up in his mouth watching this game): Dudu behind Carvalho the playmaker, and Jo and Vagner Love to provide the finish.

Read the rest of the Inter-CSKA Moscow match report here


F.C. Internazionale Milano
GOALSCORERS: 23′ Jo (C), 30′ Vagner Love (C), 32′, 75′ Ibrahimovic (I), 34′, 67′ Cambiasso (I)
INTER (4-4-2): Julio Cesar — Maicon, Córdoba, Samuel, Chivu — J.Zanetti, Dacourt, Cambiasso, Maxwell (67′ Solari) — Ibrahimovic (84′ Suazo), Crespo (63′ Cruz). (bench: Orlandoni, Rivas, Bolzoni, Jiménez). Coach: R.Mancini.
CSKA MOSCOW (3-4-1-2): Afinkeev — A.Berezutski, V.Berezutski (69′ Eduardo), Grigoriev — Zhirkov, Dudu (84′ Taranov), Rahimic, Krasic — Carvalho — Jo (46′ Aldonin), Vagner Love. (bench: Mandrykin, Ramon, Janczyk, Caner). Coach: Gazaeev.


Sporting Lisbon 2-2 AS Roma

All things considered, in terms of the quality of play they provided this was a modest Roma team tonight, but one that maximized the benefits from their efforts and obtained a capital away result. Something usually uncommon for the Gialorossi: they were forced to let go of the playmaking reins to the benefit of a very well organized, technical and combative Sporting team, something Spalletti’s men aren’t exactly used to in Serie A (usually, they are the ones dictating the play). In addition, they had to deal with last-minute injuries (Max Tonetto in the pre-game warm-up and Philippe Mexes during the match) which didn’t exactly help in their mission. However, for once Roma were as cynical and productive as teams hungry for results should be: they didn’t rest on their “beautiful play” laurels, and when forced to fight for the points they gave a fierce display, and grabbed the equalizer at the death.

Cassetti-goal, Roma 1-0This match even started in the best of ways for the Giallorossi, who only 4 minutes in had already scored the first goal. On the left wing, Mançini fed the ball for Marco Cassetti in the center, and the Italian wing-back eluded the defensive wall of a few opponents, converged on the edge of the box and let a hard shot rip inside the top right corner. A great goal for the 1-0 scoreline.

Read the rest of the Sporting Lisbon-Roma match report here


Sporting Clube de Portugal
A.S. Roma
GOALSCORERS: 4′ Cassetti (R), 22′, 64′ Liedson (S), 89′ Polga o.g. (R)
SPORTING LISBON (4-1-3-2): ): Tiago — Abel, Tonel, Polga, Ronny — Veloso — Izmailov (89′ Pereirinha), Romagnoli, Moutinho — Djalò (63′ Vukcevic), Liedson. (bench: Rui Patricio, Paredes, Purovic, Farnerud, Gladstone). Coach: Bento.
ROMA (4-2-3-1): Doni — Cicinho, Mexès (46′ Ferrari), Juan, Cassetti — De Rossi, D.Pizarro — Giuly (91′ Brighi), Perrotta (80′ Esposito), Mançini — Vucinic. (bench: Curci, Antunes, Pit, Barusso). Coach: Spalletti.

Marco Pantanella writes on the mCalcio blog

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  1. Tuga 8 November, 2007
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  3. Frankie 9 November, 2007