Serie A Teams in Champions League: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly
It was a typical Barcelona match. The Spanish champions passed the ball around the pitch with ease, albeit after conceding a very untypical-Barca goal in the first minute. They scored two goals off some brilliant movement and looked certain to take three points comfortably. That is until Thiago Silva expertly finished a shot off a corner and stunned the crowd at the Camp Nou into silence. Milan may not have deserved the point, but they earned it nonetheless with a determined defense that kept them in the game right up to the final whistle.
The Bad: Well, Maybe That’s Bad in a Good Way!
Maybe I mean a little good and bad, now that I think of it. On the good side, Napoli introduced themselves to the world last night with a 1-1 draw at the City of Manchester Stadium. In the first half, the Italian side withstood an assault by City and survived to remain scoreless at the break. Napoli is certainly not known for the Italian defense-first stereotype we hear so much about in English-language media, but still they played organized and committed in front of their own goal. Then in the 69th minute, Napoli broke out on the counter-attack and took the lead, as Edison Cavani slotted the ball into the net past a closing Joe Hart. The goal put the Napoli fans into rapture and announced to the football world the return of this proud and historic club.
On the bad side, Napoli truly had a chance to win this game and they would have deserved all three points if they were able to hold the lead. But Aleksandar Kolarov’s freekick goal in the 74th minute sealed a draw. It was a well taken set-piece, but veteran goalkeeper Morgan De Sanctis was rooted to the ground and should have done better. It was an opportunity lost for Napoli, but in a group as tough as their’s they should be thrilled with the road point.
The Ugly: One word…Gasperini
Quite honsetly, it doesn’t much matter how it happened. Even if Inter created more chances or Trabzonspor just got lucky. No matter what the tactical mistakes or missed opportunities, the only thing that matters is Inter lost at the San Siro to a club they had no business losing to. For coach Gian Piero Gasperini, already under fire for a couple of sluggish performances leading up to last night’s match, it is the nightmare scenario. After two matches, the coach is holding on to his job by the thinnest of threads.