Michel Bastos

Italy Roundup: Napoli hands Juventus rare Serie A loss

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Napoli snapped a remarkable Juventus run and slowed the coronation cruise control displayed by The Old Lady with a 2-0 home win on Sunday.

Juve posted a remarkable 20W-2D-0L mark in its previous 22 matches, but Napoli came to play with a goal in each half and strong defending. Jose Callejon and Dries Mertens scored for Napoli, which is far off the title chase, though the Juve loss gives a modicum of hope to AS Roma. Carlos Tevez was not suspended for Juve, with Dani Osvaldo getting the slot in Tevez’s absence.

I Lupi scored a controversial win over Sassuolo, now in severe relegation trouble after goals from Mattia Destro and Michel Bastos paced Roma to a 2-0 win. Sassuolo was given a penalty kick in the first half, only to have the call shockingly reversed by official Nicola Rizzoli. Our own Kyle Bonn has a recap of that ordeal here.

Roma has a match-in-hand on Juve, though even that 11-point lead dropping to eight at mid-week wouldn’t be a major cause for concern. Juve still has to visit Stadio Olimpico on May 11, but a few more wins will make the third-consecutive Scudetto all but in the bag.

Fiorentina gave some leeway to Inter Milan in the race for fourth place by sleepwalking to a scoreless draw at 12th place Sampdoria. Despite a combined 36 shots between the two clubs, no one put one across the line. Inter tangles with Livorno on Monday. Both Livorno and Catania are searching for Monday points in their quest to escape the drop zone. A Livorno win would do the trick, though three points for Catania against Udinese would still find them three points from safety.

Elsewhere

  • AC Milan 3-0 Chievo — Chievo’s relegation troubles are real; Kaka’s two goals backed Mario Balotelli’s single tally as all goals were scored before the clock struck 54.
  • Bologna 0-2 Atalanta — Giuseppe De Luca and Marcelo Estigarribia struck twice in four first-half minutes to lift the visitors’ quest for Europe.
  • Verona 3-0 Genoa – 10-men? No problem for Hellas Verona, with a late brace from Luca Toni making the score line defy game play. Marco Donadel also scored for the hosts, who saw a second yellow given to Michelangelo Albertazzi just before half.
  • Torino 2-1 Cagliari – Road woes continue for Cagliari (0W-7D-8L away from home) as goals from Alessio Cerci and Omar El Kaddouri lead Torino to win.
  • Lazio 3-2 Parma– Plenty of drama in Rome, as Antonio Candreva’s stoppage-time winner offseat an own-goal equalizer to keep the hosts in European contention.
  • Udinese vs. Catania – Monday
  • Livorno vs. Inter Milan — Monday

Standings

 

Team GP W D L GF GA GD Home Away PTS
Juventus 31 26 3 2 67 22 45 15-0-0 11-3-2 81
Roma 30 21 7 2 58 15 43 12-3-0 9-4-2 70
Napoli 31 19 7 5 59 32 27 10-4-2 9-3-3 64
Fiorentina 31 15 7 9 49 33 16 8-3-4 7-4-5 52
Inter Milan 30 12 12 6 47 31 16 7-7-2 5-5-4 48
Parma 30 12 11 7 49 37 12 6-7-2 6-4-5 47
Atalanta 31 14 4 13 37 39 -2 10-2-3 4-2-10 46
Lazio 31 12 9 10 40 40 0 8-4-3 4-5-7 45
Verona 31 13 4 14 46 52 -6 9-2-5 4-2-9 43
Torino 31 11 9 11 45 40 5 7-5-4 4-4-7 42
AC Milan 31 11 9 11 47 43 4 7-4-4 4-5-7 42
Sampdoria 31 11 8 12 40 43 -3 6-5-5 5-3-7 41
Genoa 31 10 9 12 34 39 -5 7-4-4 3-5-8 39
Udinese 30 10 5 15 33 42 -9 7-2-5 3-3-10 35
Cagliari 31 7 11 13 29 41 -12 7-4-5 0-7-8 32
Chievo 31 7 6 18 26 46 -20 5-2-8 2-4-10 27
Bologna 31 5 11 15 24 48 -24 3-7-6 2-4-9 26
Livorno 30 6 6 18 32 56 -24 4-4-7 2-2-11 24
Sassuolo 31 5 6 20 29 61 -32 4-1-11 1-5-9 21
Catania 30 4 8 18 23 54 -31 4-6-5 0-2-13 20

Highlights: A chance to pay homage to Burak Yilmaz, Galatasaray

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For as much talk as there’s been about Barcelona (and boy, have we contributed to it1, 2, 3), Galatasaray deserves their share of press. The Turkish champions went into Gelsenkirchen, knocked off a team coming off a victory over one of Europe’s best teams, and secured their first Champions League quarterfinal appearance since the 2000-01 tournament.

The person behind much of that success is Burak Yilmaz, a Turkish international who led the Super Lïg in scoring last season. That 32-goal campaign with Trabzonspor bought Yilmaz a ticket to Istanbul where he’s led his new team with 14 goals in 21 league matches.

It’s a goal rate that’s actually down from Yilmaz’s Champions League output. With eight goals in as many games, the Galatasaray striker is the competition’s leading scorer, outpacing Lionel Messi by two goals, Cristiano Ronaldo by one.

And it was Yilmaz’s eighth goal of the tournament that turned Gala’s tie with Schalke. Approaching the end of the first half, the teams were drawn 2-2, both sides having taken an away goal. Then a clearance out of Gala’s end put Yilmaz in on Timo Hildebrand. When the Schalke keeper mistimed his run of his line, Yilmaz beat Hildebrand to the ball at the edge of the penalty area. His chip gave Gala to a 3-2 lead.

Though his team would later add a fourth goal, Yilmaz’s score gave Gala a crucial away goal edge. When Schalke equalized through Michel Bastos in the second half, they were left chasing a winner, having only scored once in Turkey.

That chase eventually gave Gala their fourth goal, sealing a place in the final eight for Turkey’s champions.

Highlights from Tuesday’s game, above, are courtesy FOX Soccer.

Dear Germany: This is all the scouting report you need on Michel Bastos (Video)

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If there’s one thing the German Bundesliga needs to know about new Schalke winger Michel Bastos, it’s this:

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sTBoWMqK-eo%5D

The guy has a freakin’ amazing left foot, but one search of YouTube could have told you that. I guess that site’s blocked at Greuther Furth, which is unfortunate. This is literally all you need to know about Michel Bastos.

That may seem a bit harsh, but if you had to have one amazing trait, it would be a glorious left foot. The weapon got Bastos from Brazil to Lille to Lyon and won him a place on Brazil’s 2010 World Cup squad as a type of make shift left back. Along the way, opponents learned the key to stopping the 29-year-old: Don’t let him have space to hurt you. On dead balls, you can’t help it (and he does find a way to hurt you). In open play, just stay in front of him.

Just after halftime today in Gelsenkirchen, Greuther Furth saw why. A defender too concerned from keeping him from going wide gave him far too much room. With his outside foot, Bastos comes across the ball and puts in into the far side netting.

The list of players who can do that is short, and Bastos may be at its top. The Bundesliga best remember that.