Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : September 22nd 2015 Contents A51
Tuesday, September 22, 2015 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
ROME---Inter Milan s offseason
overhaul is paying off perfectly.
Four rounds into Serie A, the
squad coached by Roberto Mancini
is the only perfect team in Serie A
---the club s best start in 13 years.
And with four-time defending
champion Juventus and Roma
already paying the price of the
Champions League with injuries to
key players, Inter appears fresher
and is developing into an unex-
pected title contender.
Having finished a dismal eighth
last season, Inter failed to qualify
for Europe and went on a spending
New players like Stevan Jovetic,
Ivan Perisic, Felipe Melo, Geoffrey
Kondogbia, Miranda, Jeison Murillo
and Alex Telles are making an
A solid defence has conceded
only one goal and allowed Inter to
win each match by a one-goal mar-
While the attack is still a work
in progress, last season s Serie A
scoring leader Mauro Icardi scored
his first goal of the season in Sun-
day s 1-0 win over Chievo Verona
and is learning to play alongside
Perisic and Jovetic.
Felipe Melo and Kondogbia have
added physicality in midfield,
something that Melo was asked
about after Sunday s match.
"I never tackle with the aim of
breaking a leg," Melo responded.
"But football is a contact sport. If
you don t want to have contact
with your opponent you can always
choose to play tennis."
Juventus, meanwhile, will be
without Mario Mandzukic for three
weeks due to a torn right calf mus-
cle, with fellow forward Alvaro
Morata still being monitored for an
In Wednesday s midweek round,
Inter hosts Hellas Verona, which
will be without injured forward
The action begins Tuesday with
AC Milan at Udinese.
On Wednesday, it s: Carpi vs
Napoli; Chievo Verona vs Torino;
Fiorentina vs Bologna; Juventus vs
Frosinone; Lazio vs Genoa; Palermo
vs Sassuolo; and Sampdoria vs
Thursday s lone match features
Empoli vs Atalanta.
Here are some things to know
about this week s Italian league
After failing to win its opening
three matches of the season, Napoli
erupted to outscore the opposition
10-0 in its last two games.
First, Napoli beat Club Brugge
5-0 in the Europa League last week
then the southern club routed Lazio
by the same score in Serie A on
It was the perfect response to
wide-ranging criticism---even from
former Napoli great Diego
Maradona ---of new coach Maurizio
"Our approach was perfect,"
Sarri said. "But I don t think we ve
resolved all of our problems, just
like I wasn t worried at the start
of the season."
Napoli forward Gonzalo Higuain,
who missed a penalty last season
against Lazio that could have
secured his club a spot in the
Champions League playoffs, scored
"We want to bring Napoli back
into the Champions League, where
it deserves to be," Higuain said.
San Siro Forever
AC Milan has scrapped plans for
a new stadium, deciding to con-
tinue sharing the San Siro with
Earlier this year, Milan had
unveiled tentative plans for a new
48,000-seat stadium with a
retractable roof to be built next to
the club s recently opened head-
quarters in the Portell-Fiera area
The new stadium was backed
strongly by Milan vice president
Barbara Berlusconi. But club pres-
ident Silvio Berlusconi can t be torn
away from the San Siro.
"(Barbara) understands why we
had to backtrack," Silvio Berlusconi
said. "I m in love with the San Siro.
... I used to enter the San Siro hold-
ing my father s hand and he would
make me stay all small so he would
only have to pay one ticket. The
San Siro has a place in my heart."
In May, the San Siro will host
this season s Champions League
With a veteran coach in the 67-
year-old Giampiero Ventura and a
veteran striker in the 32-year-old
Fabio Quagliarella, Torino is off to
its best start in more than 20 years.
in second place, two points behind
Inter, with three wins and a draw
from the opening four rounds.
Quagliarella scored twice in Sun-
day s 2-0 win over Sampdoria, giv-
ing him four goals for the season.
Brazilian winger Bruno Peres has
also been in fine form---helping the
squad forget standouts like current
Sevilla forward Ciro Immobile and
Manchester United fullback Matteo
Darmian, each of whom departed
over the past two years.
PARIS---Marseille is making
more noise off the pitch than on
it these days.
Following a rocky summer
marked by the shock resignation
of coach Marcelo Bielsa, the nine-
time champion has only managed
two wins in its first six league games
to trail league leader Paris Saint-
Germain by seven points.
Marseille players stood up to the
challenge of Lyon despite having
one less man on the pitch for the
entire second-half in Sunday s 1-
1 draw, but their fine collective per-
formance was overshadowed by the
incidents that marred the game at
The match was suspended for
about 20 minutes in the second half
after fans threw projectiles including
glass bottles onto the pitch. Marseille
striker Michy Batshuayi was hit by
a fire bomb but escaped uninjured
and police forces were deployed in
front of the Marseille kop before
the match restarted.
Marseille fans also caused wide-
spread indignation in French media
after they hung an effigy of former
player Mathieu Valbuena, who was
booed during the whole game on
his return to the southern club.
With the 2016 European Cham-
pionship to be held in France next
year, Sports secretary Thierry Brail-
lard called for tougher security
checks in stadiums.
"This is unacceptable, sports
should be festive, this is not war,"
Braillard told TV channel iTELE on
Monday. "You can t show such a
bad image when you want to organ-
ise big (sporting) events. Indis-
putably, security procedures failed
at the Stade Velodrome."
Marseille president Vincent
Labrune condemned the incidents
but insisted they were sparked by
"some irresponsible persons who
put in danger the physical integrity
of the people taking part in the
Labrune said he met with the
club s security staff and that safety
nets separating Marseille hardcore
fans from the pitch will be reintro-
duced. He will also meet with the
club s supporter groups later this
Marseille, which now faces sanc-
tions from the French league
authorities, travels to Toulouse on
Wednesday. Here are other things
to know ahead of this week s
It was not just the fans who
vented their anger in Marseille. Club
presidents Vincent Labrune and
Jean-Michel Aulas also reignited
their war of words.
After defender Karim Rekik
headed in Marseille s equaliser in
the 68th minute, Labrune claimed
that Lyon benefited from complacent
referring and questioned the decision
to award Alexandre Lacazette the
penalty he converted in the first half
to put the visitors ahead.
Aulas anwer to his Marseille
counterpart? "I told Labrune he is
a muppet and that he won t last
in football as long as he thinks he
Ibrahimovic looking for goals
Still unbeaten after six games,
PSG is standing at the top of the
table but its recent displays have
been quite disappointing.
In comparison to the club s
impressive firepower, the back to
back draws against Bordeaux and
Reims have highlighted the team s
lack of rhythm. Forward Zlatan
Ibrahimovic s current struggles were
also striking at Reims.
In what is likely to be his final
season at PSG, Ibrahimovic has
played only two league games so
far---against Monaco and Reims---
and was never a threat during the
2-0 win against his former club
Malmo in the Champions League.
Ibrahimovic has yet to score a goal
and questions over his ability to
get back to his physical best are
rising ahead of Tuesday s match
PSG coach Laurent Blanc said
he will be patient with his star
Inter's offseason overhaul paying off
From left, Inter Milan's players Fredy Guarin, Juan Pablo Carrizo, Mauro
Icardi and Gary Medel celebrate at the end of a Serie A soccer match
against Chievo at Bentegodi stadium in Verona, Italy, Sunday. Inter won 1-
0. AP PHOTO
Marseille facing sanctions in French league
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