Cesena

Giuseppe Bellini/Getty Images

Serie B ref awards first-ever green card in Vicenza-Cesena match (video)

Leave a comment

Soccer fans have become more than accustomed to seeing yellow and red cards during matches, however, Sunday debuted another variation during a Serie B match.

History was made during Virtus Entella’s 4-1 win over Vicenza on Oct. 1 when Vicenza attacker Cristian Galano was handed out the game’s first-ever green card in a competitive game.

Instead of serving as a form of punishment, which is the purpose of yellow and red cards, the green card was established by Serie B as a reward to players and clubs that exhibit fair play throughout the season.

Galano was shown the green card after admitting to the referee that the ball hadn’t hit any Virtus Entella defenders before going out for a corner kick. The referee reversed the decision and awarded Virtus a goal kick.

With Serie B battling heavy scrutiny recently over the league’s match fixing scandal, president Andrea Abodi says that the concept of the green card is simply a way to promote those doing positive things during matches and cast a better light on the game.

“It’s a symbolic award,” Abodi said. “It could be something very simple. The important thing is to recognise it when a professional does something exemplary.”

“We think that football needs positive messages,” a Serie B spokesman added. “This sport is too often embroiled in controversy that drives people away from the stadiums.”

The player with the most green cards at the end of the Serie B campaign will be given a reward, according to the league.

Serie A roundup: Napoli miss Champions League spot, Palermo stun Roma

Leave a comment

Week 38 of Serie A soccer has finished.

The major storyline in the the last group of matches was Rafa Benitez’s upsetting conclusion with Napoli, falling short to capture a Champions League birth before his rumored move to Real Madrid.

Napoli 2-4 Lazio: Lazio were looking good in the third-place Champions League spot prior to this match, but if Napoli were to come out victorious, a better head-to-head record would have the Little Donkeys leapfrog their opposition. In the 33rd minute, Marco Parolo made a move inside and drove a high shot that accelerated past Napoli goalkeeper Mariano Andujar. Then as half time was seconds away, Antonio Candreva, in on goal facing just Andujar, received a feed from Senad Lulic and buried the effort to give Lazio a 2-0 advantage in the first 45 minutes. Gonzalo Higuain came on fire in the second half and notched a brace, though he missed a penalty kick that could’ve drawn his squad closer. After the 80-minute mark, Ogenyi Onazi and Miroslav Klose were the final scorers to put it away.

Roma 1-2 Palermo: Even Lazio’s victory didn’t mess with AS Roma’s second-place ending, while mid-table Palermo relied on a late goal to end their season on a great note. Nicolas Spolli dampened Roma’s beginning with handball that allowed Franco Vazquez to draw first blood in the 35th minute with a PK conversion, but forward Francesco Totti applied an nicely-weighted touch to draw the game level in the 85th minute. However, Andrea Belotti made up for his missed endeavor in the 70th minute with a strong effort to bang home the game-deciding goal in the fourth minute of stoppage time. Being promoted into Italy’s top-tier for this year, Palermo’s mid-table campaign has finished well. Manager Rudi Garcia, in his second season with Roma, has guided his side to second place again.

[RELATED: Ancelotti weighing offer for AC Milan return]

Inter Milan 4-3 Empoli: Mauro Icardi counted a brace in this one to become top goal scorer in Serie A alongside 38-year-old Verona striker Luca Toni. In the 53rd minute, the ex-Sampdoria striker had himself in superb position for his first goal, from an applaudable Mateo Kovacic assist, after providing the service on Rodrigo Palacio’s 49th-minute tap-in. Marcelo Brozovic found the back of the net in 70th minute and seven minutes passed before Icardi’s placed shot beat Empoli goalie Davide Bassi. The away side halved the scoreline on Levan Mchedlidze’s first–his second goal in the 88th minute–and drew level in the 62nd minute when Manuel Pucciarelli outclassed Andrea Ranocchia to alter the momentum.

Fiorentina 3-0 Chievo: Fiorentina qualified for a Europa League spot last week and saw out  a five-game winning streak with this triumph. As Napoli was downed by Lazio, the Lillies moved into fourth place at the Artemio Franchi clashing with a 10-man Chievo due to Isaac Cofie’s second booking in the 69th minute. Josip Ilicic commenced the scoring in the 12th minute from Mohamed Salah’s cross, while Federico Bernardeschi and Milan Badelj added the other two in the second half, subsequent to the decisive red card. Bernardeschi pounced on the rebound from Mati Fernandez’s seething strike, and Badelj’s left-footer was the stoppage-time sealer. Cheivo settled their season on a four-match winless stretch.

Other results from Sunday

Cagliari 4-3 Udinese

Torino 5-0 Cesena

Sampdoria 2-2 Parma

Sassuolo 3-1 Genoa

From Saturday

Verona 2-2 Juventus

Atalanta 1-3 Milan

La Liga and Serie A roundup: Real Madrid smokes Deportivo, Juve downs Milan

Leave a comment

Across the world of soccer, La Liga and Serie A boast some of the most talented teams on the globe beside the Premier League, and below is listed a brief recap of few matches in each league this weekend (Saturday and Sunday).

LA LIGA

Deportivo 2-8 Real Madrid: There really wasn’t anything Deportivo could do in hopes of matching the obvious star power of Real Madrid. The scoring was led by a hat trick from Cristiano Ronaldo, who started working his magic in the 29th minute with a powerfully hit header inside the penalty area. James Rodriquez then struck a left-footer that sailed into the upper right-hand corner of frame, another wonderful goal. Ronaldo scored on an open net in the 41st minute, and Gareth Bale rolled the fourth one past Deportivo goalkeeper German Lux.  New loanee from Manchester United Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez notched a brace, including an magnificent volleyed goal in the 88th minute. Real Madrid, currently at seventh place in the league standings, looks poised to shoot up the table.

Atletico Madrid 2-2 Celta Vigo: Atletico Madrid needed a win to get to first place in La Liga past Barcelona (prior to the win at Levante). Unfortunately for them, Celta Vigo was sturdy competition, drawing first blood in the 19th minute on Pablo Hernandez’s eye-popping back-heeled volley. Gabi fed world class center back Diego Godin to head home the score just before halftime. In the 31st minute, Atletico defender Mirando managed to level the scoreline, but he also conceded the penalty kick that essentially handed the Celts an equalizer in the 53rd minute. Four points behind Barcelona, Atletico still has a solid position in league play, cemented in third place (with 8 pts.) for now.

Levante 0-5 Barcelona: Barcelona remains undefeated with a win streak that hasn’t broken since the beginning of the season. Match highlights and recap are available here.

SERIE A

Juventus 1-0 AC Milan: Two Italian powers clashed, and Juve came out of the match victorious on Carlos Tevez’s lone goal. Pogba held up with his back to the net inside the penalty box prior to his turn and pass that put Tevez through for a close-range finish. Fernando Torres, on loan to AC Milan from Chelsea for two years, made his debut as a substitute in the 76th minute. Milan didn’t have many occasions when they were solidly on the attack, but both squads stand in the top of the table.

AS Roma 2-0 Cagliari: Alessandro Florenzi provided the service on Mattia Destro’s 10th minute goal, and he the scored the second goal of the match, set free on a through ball before burying the low attempt and celebrating with his grandmother in the stands. Roma midfielder Gervinho displayed the best quality during that match, setting up Florenzi’s tally and generally urging his team forward with his playmaking abilities. With Juventus, Roma is the only team in Serie A to have won all of their league games so far. Cagliari’s fighting to remove themselves from the relegation area.

Palermo 1-1 Inter Milan: For Inter Milan, the goal was to get three points when they faced Palermo, but the Eagles made it difficult on the Black and Blues, notching the opening score of the match in the third minute to force a deficit right off the bat. Franco Vazquez picked Inter defender Nemanja Vidic’s pocket and then nailed his goal past Palermo goalie Stefano Sorrentino from a tough angle. Sorrentino was Palermo’s saving figure at points during the match, and Vidic nearly had a headed game-winner only to be ruled offside. Inter is positioned in sixth place, one point behind Udinese in the fifth spot and AC Milan in the fourth rank.

 

Sunderland add Giaccherini to midfield

Leave a comment

Jozy Altidore will be part of a vastly improved Sunderland side, as the Black Cats have secured another piece to the puzzle for the upcoming season.

Juventus president Antonio Conte has admitted to reporters that winger Emanuele Giaccherini will be sold to Sunderland for somewhere around €8 million ($10.5 million).

The 28-year-old had a disappointing campaign at Juventus Stadium last season, but his form swung upwards while featuring in Italy’s Confederations Cup side.

“For Juventus, it is necessary to sell at this moment. He will do well at Sunderland” said Conte. “I’m happy for Giaccherini because Sunderland is a good chance for him, but I’m sad for me.  I’m not happy with the sale of Giaccherini but in times of crisis when you buy you must also make sacrifices.”

Giaccherini has spent his entire career in the Italian leagues, beginning his career at Cesena in 2004, although out on loan for three years before breaking into the first team side.  Juventus purchased him in 2011 for just over €7 million ($9.2 million).

Juventus ran away with the Serie A title last season, but struggled to compete with other top-level clubs in the Champions League, winning their group but bowing out meekly to eventual champs Bayern 4-0 on aggregate in the quarterfinals.

Conte admitted earlier Thursday that the club was indeed lagging behind other soccer giants such as Bayern and Barcelona, thus the club’s desire to make some changes.