Roma 1 - Catania 0
Last evening, before settling in for jumping sheep amidst giallo e rosso dreams, I caught Zlatan Ibrahimovic interview with the BBC in which he discussed a variety of football matters, including the nightly phone calls with nothing but decidedly Portuguese heavy panting on the other end.
In Italy it's score one goal, 'okay, now we have done enough - now we wait for the game to finish'.
If this game wasn't the posterchild for the Italian football stereotype, then I don't know under which rock it's hiding. Catania bolted out of the gates with fresh copies of How To Beat Roma, by Panathinaikos sticking out their back pockets and went straight to the corner flags for a set piece or seven. Things didn't come together, Roma got the goal and boom, the game was over. Tactical naptime for well over an hour with the entire idea not to bury Catania, but to preserve the lead.
(Like the other Sicilian team, but the exact opposite.)
That said, this game ends 2-0, 3-0, 4-0, etc. with any combination of Francesco Totti, Luca Toni and/or David Pizarro on the pitch.
Or if they hadn't flown in from Athens Thursday night.
Or if Catania had the quality to press in the Roman third.
Or if Daniele De Rossi trusted his left.
In other words: back to business.
- Cerci reminds of the Scarecrow from The Wizard of Oz: needs a brain. The physical talents are there, but the decision making can be downright woeful. Not quite Doni woeful, but woeful enough.
And voila, a nickname is born.
- Ranieri's "dribble less, pass more" lessons with Menez - was it CoppaCatania when he was brought off at the half precisely for dribbling more and passing less? - are starting to come good. There was a reason why he was once (carelessly) dubbed the New Zidane - aside from the French wildly overrating all of their children - and with the Totti/Pizza combo off the pitch, some vision and conducting, if you will, is necessary. (One with Perrotta near the end of the game inspired great French hopes.)
Next up: hitting teammates with those passes.
- Catania started seven Argentines today. SEVEN. None could beat Roma.
Panathinaikos managed to start only two and yet both skinned Roma: Sebatian Leto & Nicolas Burdisso.
- After starting off the year 0 for everything, Mirko has carved out a nice little 1 in 2 ratio for himself (9 in 18) since the beginning of November. In those same 18 games, he has managed to finish five without being subbed.
Think it's about time for Mirko to hit a treadmill.
- This was arguably the best case scenario with Doni in net:
He didn't have to face a shot and thus eliminated any chances of fucking up, which surely boosts his confidence, while we didn't have to peer through fingers for ninety minutes.
- And on that note, Catania had to realize that a) Doni's confidence is five and a half feet down, b) they weren't going to get any chances in the box and c) the best chance of scoring against Roma is on rebounds. So why weren't they peppering shots early and often from freakin
Sicily if they had to? Five shots. Total.
Sinisa Mihajlovic, ladies and gentlemen.
- Daniele's back to his best.
His very best: