Serie A round-up

Serie A round-up

Inter earn crucial victory

Three days after an embarrassing Europa League defeat to Israeli side Hapoel Beer’Sheva after which the Nerazzuri came under intense media scrutiny, Inter Milan overcame Maximo Allegri’s Juventus with a rousing 2-1 victory in the result of last weekend.

Frank De Boer’s position was certainly looking somewhat precarious on 65 minutes when Swiss international full-back Stephan Lichsteiner tapped home from an Alex Sandro cross to give the visitors the lead.

However, barely two minutes passed before Mauro Icardi powered a header past Gianluigi Buffon to clock his fourth goal of the season to level the derby d’italia. Full momentum was now with Inter who were being spurred on by a frenzied crowd. Icardi then showed perfect composure to deliver an inch-perfect cross with the outside of his boot for Ivan Perisic to nod in on 78 minutes.

Ever Banega was sent off in the final minute for a second booking but Inter held on for a crucial win that lifts the Nerazzuri to sixth and will buy Frank De Boer much needed time and patience at the helm.

Juventus were largely disappointing throughout the encounter and many will predictably question why the £75m summer signing Gonzalo Higuaín was left on the bench for the match; despite the Argentine smashing in two early goals past Sassuolo last week.

Fiorentina squeeze past Roma

Milan Badelj notched an 82nd minute winner against Roma with a low powerful strike that gave Paolo Sousa his second win of the season for the Viola.

Roma will be disappointed having boasted 54% possession and 14 attempts on target to Fiorentina’s 3; however it was the Tuscans who generated the clearer goal scoring opportunities.

Edin Dzeko wasted Roma’s best chance on 36 minutes, connecting to a wonderful Alessandro Florenzi pass over the top but blasted over the bar.

The second half grew into a more frenetic encounter as Diego Perotti’s volley was palmed out by Ciprian Tatarasanu whilst at the other end Nikola Kalinic found himself wide open in space only to nod his header into Wojiech Szczesny’s arms.

Roma’s creative threat was nullified for the most part of the game and Mohammed Salah, (who had been welcomed with a hostile reception on his return to the Artemio Franchi) was taken off after 67 minutes for Stephan El Shaarawy.

Francesco Totti was the next to enter the fray; replacing Diego Perotti with 13 minutes and provided an immediate threat to the Tuscans as he combined with Florenzi to setup Radja Nainggolan whose resultant piledriver was tipped onto the post by Tatarasanu.

Only a few minutes later, Milan Badelj struck the crucial strike to seal the points for Sousa’s men with a low, hard shot that was controversially dummied by Nikola Kalinic and found the net after the ball struck the inside of Szczesny’s post to send the Franchi wild.

Chievo snatch deserved late win at Udinese

Fabrizio Cacciatore scored a dramatic winner in the 5th minute of stoppage time for Chievo in a game they were trailing in until the 82nd minute at the Stadio Friuli.

Duván Zapata had given Udinese a 25th-minute lead after latching onto Emil Hallfredsson’s inch-perfect cross.

Chievo dominated proceedings from this point and pinned Udinese deep into their own half but took until eight minutes from the end of normal time to make a breakthrough. Perparim Hetemaj’s cross from the left was flicked on by Sergio Pellissier for Lucas Castro to bundle over the line at the back post off his knee.

Full momentum was with the side from Verona after their equaliser and there appeared only one possible winner. Castro turned provider for the second goal in injury time as his cross from the left fell to the unlikely full-back Cacciatore who turned in at the back stick for a rare goal.

Milan earn hard-fought late win at Sampdoria

Carlos Bacca came off the bench to prove the Rossoneri’s hero on Friday evening at the Stadio Luigi Ferrarris.

After a reported bust-up with head coach Vincenzo Montella, Bacca had been dropped to the bench but was introduced to proceedings in a game that appeared to be heading to a goalless stalemate until the Colombian forward latched onto the end of a through ball from midfielder Suso and gave the Sampdoria keeper Viviano no chance.

Montella’s men now sit in 3rd place only a point from table-toppers Napoli.

Elsewhere in Italy

-Napoli secured an impressive 3-1 victory at home to Bologna to jump to the top of the Serie A thanks to a Jose Callejon opener and a brace from Arek Milik.

-Genoa’s 100% record this campaign came crashing to an end at the Mapei Stadium as Sassuolo continued their impressive start to the season with a 2-0 victory thanks to goals from Matteo Politano and Gregoire Defrel.

-Joe Hart secured his first clean sheet with Torino as his side drew 0-0 at home to Empoli in an uneventful encounter.

-Goals from Sergej Milinkovic-Savic, Stefan Radu and Ciro Immobile secured a comfortable 3-0 for Lazio at home to newly-promoted Pescara.

Safe Standing terraces: Something for the future or past for British football?

Safe Standing terraces: Something for the future or past for British football?

West Ham United’s much publicised move to the Olympic Stadium has inadvertently carried the issue of safe-standing in modern domestic English football to the surface.

Three mixed home performances have not helped an uneasy and somewhat uncomfortable atmosphere in an arena that will certainly take time to feel like home for the Hammers.

The distance the fans are seated from the pitch is one major negative which fans will simply have to adapt to but many feel they are simply being alienated by the club’s hierarchy. Many have voiced concerns that the club are showing signs of losing their unique identity as Vice-Chairman Karen Brady has released a strict statement to supporters, warning them their season tickets may be revoked if they persistently stand and block the views of the elder and younger supporters.

It is enormously disappointing that a large number of children and elderly supporters had their enjoyment of these opening games affected by the decision of individuals in the rows in front of them to stand throughout the games. Therefore, those who stand persistently are at risk of having their Season Tickets permanently revoked. We are obviously reluctant to take any such action against loyal fans, and we hope that we will not be put in that position. So we urge all our supporters to play their part, stay seated so that everyone can see and enjoy the game, and join together in creating a new era in our club’s history.”

Specific to West Ham’s move, the problem lies in the fact that a blind eye was unofficially turned to standing in particular areas of Upton Park; namely the Bobby Moore and Trevor Brooking Lower Stand. The season-ticket holders in these areas of the ground have since been re-located to the new West Stand Lower at the “London Stadium” and have maintained their match routine viewing habits.

It must be said that there is no debating that it is completely disrespectful and ill-mannered to stand up directly in front of children or fans who will be unable to see or stand the entire game.

However, it is becoming widely that viewed that English football is now at a stage in development where actions need to be made to introduce safe-standing sections in football stadia.

Only fourteen months ago, West Ham’s co-chairman David Gold voiced his support and congratulations on Twitter to Celtic’s introduction of a safe-standing section with rail seating in one corner of Celtic Park; “Congratulations Celtic for being the first club to introduce a safe standing area and I am confident this is just the beginning…Purpose built safe standing areas are considerably safer than the illegal and anti-social standing we have at present.”

The club, who now have a capacity for 2,900 fans to safely stand throughout games, have revealed that the proposed changes had taken five years to come to fruition after two initial application rejections from Glasgow City Council.

A new report published by the free-market think tank “The Adam Smith Institute” has called on the Minister for Sport, Tracey Crouch to repel the ban on standing areas in top-flight English football.  The report also strongly suggests that safe-standing would allow clubs to lower attendance prices with further campaigns like last year’s successful “Twenty’s Plenty” initiative that has successfully introduced a £30 cap on all Premier League away tickets from the start of the 2016/17 season.

The Premier League needs to look to its European counterparts to guarantee the correct form of passion remains in the stands and to ensure future generations will continue flooding through the British turnstiles for decades to come.

Matchday tickets in the German “Bundesliga” range from between £9-£22 with the average season ticket priced as low as £207.22. Many German clubs also provide free local rail and bus travel as complimentary, making the matchday experience all the more affordable. One could argue such prices are maintaining the sport in their homeland as “the working man’s game”; whereas the same cannot be said for the billion-dollar industry that is our revenue-fuelled Premier League.

The Bundesliga’s structure needs to be closely looked at by the FA and modelled as the future standard.

Affordable ticket pricing, reasonable food & drink rates inside the stadia and dedicated safe-standing areas are ensuring packed out terraces, resounding atmospheres, low rates of crowd violence and thriving attendances in addition to the increased football participation from the younger generations. The future of the game is healthy in the Bundesliga and no social classes are being priced out of following their football club.

This will not be a simple overnight transformation to make for the English Football Association but the reversal of the safe-standing ban will be the first significant step in the right direction.