Monday, 10 December 2007

Spotlight - Week 15: Pozzi plays poker

Here's a round up the winners and the losers from Week 15 of the Serie A season.

Nicola Pozzi (Empoli): It is not a day he is likely to forget. Having scored eight Serie A goals in his entire career, the Under-21 international netted four in one game to demolish Cagliari. It would have been five, but the woodwork spoiled that particular party.

Pavel Nedved (Juventus): The Czech has been the most disappointing of the Juve old guard this season, but showed he still has what it takes when it counts by pulling a goal out of nothing when a stalemate with Atalanta seemed inevitable. As the new crowd slowly take over the midfield, only Nedved is sure of his spot.

Fabrizio Miccoli (Palermo): It is probably no coincidence the Sicilians ended their winless streak on the pocket striker’s comeback and that he scored the opener. To make it even more special, it was against Fiorentina, the club that decided he wasn’t worth signing on a permanent basis despite his 12 goals for them in 2004-05.

Alvaro Recoba (Torino): Returning to face your old club and losing 4-0 has got to be painful, but not half as embarrassing as proving to them you can’t even command a first team place at Torino. The setting may have changed, but El Chino’s problems remain the same – too infuriatingly inconsistent and injury-prone even for the Granata.

Marco Amelia (Livorno): The goalkeeper always said he was a lifelong Roma fan and wanted to return to the Giallorossi, but he truly gifted them a goal with a terribly sluggish attempt to capture the corner kick, allowing Daniele De Rossi to get in front of him. Hardly likely to enhance his reputation in Luciano Spalletti’s eyes.

Gian Piero Gasperini (Genoa): If he didn’t risk the sack before, the Genoa coach certainly does now. He dubbed the 3-1 home defeat to Siena "our worst ever performance," but the scoreline doesn’t reflect how totally one-sided this game was. The all-attack Grifoni have disappeared and been replaced by a confused, arrogant, lifeless squad.

Marcelo Zalayeta (Napoli): An all South American affair. Ezequiel Lavezzi’s backheel, Mariano Bogliacino’s chip over the defence and Marcelo Zalayeta for a perfect right-foot volley.

Fabrizio Miccoli (Palermo): Much of the credit must go to Amauri for the absolutely stunning mid-air heel flick that sent Miccoli clear on goal for a cool lob. Zlatan Ibrahimovic must’ve watched and taken notes.

Fabio Quagliarella (Udinese): Turning back the clock to the kind of strike that made him famous at Sampdoria, he beat his former club by unleashing a right-foot rocket that dipped mercilessly over Luca Castellazzi.

Quad brothers: Nicola Pozzi becomes the first Serie A player to net four since May 1, 2005, when both Alberto Gilardino and Cristiano Lucarelli went goal crazy in Parma’s 6-4 win over Livorno. In all this has happened 83 times, but there have also been 12 five-goal hauls and two who got six – Silvio Piola and Omar Sivori.

Del Neri decade: Atalanta Coach Gigi Del Neri has faced Juventus 10 times in his career and emerged defeated from every single encounter.

Frey defeated: Fiorentina have not beaten Palermo in Sicily since Kurt Hamrin’s only goal on October 4, 1961. The Stadio Barbera marked the end of their unbeaten away record this season and Fabrizio Miccoli became the first man to beat Sebastien Frey from open play outside Florence, as previously only Kaka had scored against him from the spot.

Source: Susy Campanale (C4 Football Italia)

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