Buona sera. I apologize for the dereliction of blogging duties, but I've been buried under cases at work for the last little while and I've got a big presentation to prepare for on Thursday morning. I did get a chance to watch the match on Saturday evening in glorious HD TeeVee while I was resting up in preparation for the cherry blossom 10 miler on Sunday. I'll post highlights, share a few thoughts about Saturday's match and then get on to tomorrow's second leg.
Saturday's match has to be considered a decent performance. RickyMonty, in particular, had his swag right. With some talk last week that Fiorentina would roll over in the league match in exchange for Inter rolling over in the Cup match flying around, I was a little bit unsure of what to expect. Especially since Prandelli fielded far from his best possible 11. Gila Monster started on the bench, Bolatti partnered CaptianRickyMonty, LDS was rested and Vargas was looking scary as all hell in his street clothes. It made no difference, as the Viola withstood an early Inter onslaught and escaped a disaster as Milito's header crashed against the post. Santana showed some real flash and effectiveness on the counter attack, and Kerrison did well to finish his opportunity in the first half. Of course, considering the fact that the Viola's defense rarely keeps teams off of the board, I was nervous for the second half. Sure enough, Inter finished two chances and seized the league. But, Kroldrup equalized off of a corner and overall a draw was probably a fair result.
Two things struck me from the match, and I think Prandelli will have to focus on them to decide who he should start in tomorrow's match. First, Balotelli gave Pasqual fits. He looked dangerous and his pace and skill made things much more difficult for the Viola. For me, I think this means that Pasqual should stay on the bench and Gobbi should start at left back. He's got enough athleticism to stay with Balotelli and Vargas will be back on the left wing. The other was that Julio Ceasar looked very shaky on crosses and corners. I believe Commotto is a better crosser than LDS, and with Marchionni back healthy I'm not sure whether he'll get the start or Santana will get a chance. I think Prandelli would lean towards starting LDS and Marchionni, but who really knows for sure. Also, Zanetti should be good to go, which will be great.
The Viola are 1-0 down from the fist leg, so it will make sense to keep things tight and try to hit Inter on the break and from set pieces on the wings. Conceding an early away goal would be a disaster, so it will be crucial to keep things tight and not take too many risks early in the match.
Lineups, aka Blind Guess Dept:
Fiorentina: 4-4-1-1; Bassy; LDS, Kroldrup, Felipe, Gobbi; Marchionni, Zanetti, RickyMonty, Vargas; Jo-Jo; Gila Monster.
Inter: 4-3-3; Julio Butterfingers Ceasar; Maicon, Lucio, Samuel, Zanetti; Cambiasso, Chivu, Sneijder; Pandev, Eto'o, Balotelli.
Not on any channels I have. I believe GolTV televises the Coppa Italia, so check there from 2:45 EST. Post other options in the comments and we'll do the usual searching for streams.
Considering the bleak table situation, though I haven't given up, a victory in the Coppa Italia will give the VIola an entry into next season's Europa League. I've said before that there are 2 trophies I think the Viola can win, and those are the Coppa and the Europa league. Why not do both in the next 12 months? Fiorentina 4-Inter1. Vargas, Gila, and 2 from Jo-Jo against one from the mercurial Balotelli.
I'll try to do a recap/open post after this match, because I'm leaving Friday morning for a wedding in New Orleans, and the sazeracs, po-boys and abitas will limit my blogging capabilities. Forza Viola!