Football Italiano’s Game of the Year 2008/09
There were a fair few contenders for Football Italiano’s Game of the Year, with the voting split between season-deciding encounters and high-scoring thrillers, both of which were common place in the 2008/09 campaign. Ultimately there was a stand-out game that defined the magic of Serie A perfectly, with goals, a red card and high stakes all piled into one pulsating 90-minute epic. Below is a selection of some of our writers’ musings on some of the candidates for Game of the Season followed by the result.
Inter 3-3 Roma
(Week 26 – March 1, 2009)
Possibly the most absorbing game of the season, it was not just its end-to-end nature, but the fact that it is the closest José Mourinho came to losing a home match this year. In many ways, the 90 minutes are a snapshot of why the respective teams finished where they have this season. Roma’s disappointing inability to hold on to a 3-1 lead with just over 30 minutes remaining epitomises their problems this campaign, whilst Inter’s desire (coupled with Mourinho’s clever use of substitutions) to keep their undefeated streak at home intact was a huge contributing factor to their Scudetto success.
Roma 4-3 Catania
(Week 36 – May 16, 2009)
On first glance this game would not appear one for the neutrals. Catania had already made sure of Serie A survival, whilst Roma could no longer make the Champions League. Yet a thrilling game, which could have seen up to six goals a-piece took place, with Simone Perrotta and Giuseppe Mascara the best players for their respective sides. Roma would take the lead, only for Catania to peg them back again, with end-to-end action for the full 90 minutes, before Christian Panucci popped up with an injury-time header to give Roma all three points.
Juventus 4-2 Milan
(Week 16 – December 14, 2008)
Dubbed ‘The real Derby d’Italia,’ the tension was bursting inside the Stadio Olimpico prior to kick-off. The game did not disappoint as the most celebrated Italian teams took each other on in a goal thriller that saw Juve thrash their Rossoneri rivals. With both Alessandro Del Piero and Paolo Maldini, this game truly was the battle of the icons. Playing in the pouring rain, Alexandre Pato showed off his scorching talent and whilst compatriot Amauri scored the brace that sunk Milan. The game had every aspect of a thriller – a red card, a penalty, a goal by a defender and bursting young talent! How was this not the best game of the season?
Milan 2-3 Roma
(Week 37 – May 24, 2009)
As well as being Paolo Maldini’s last game at the San Siro before retirement, this match saw Milan aiming to gain a grip on the second automatic Champions League place while Roma aimed to clinch a place in next season’s Europa League after a disastrous domestic campaign. John Arne Riise hammered home a trademark 30-yard blockbuster of a free-kick to give the Giallorossi a first-half lead. After a number of chances went begging early in the second half, the game entered its last 15 minutes with Milan heading for a defeat on Maldini’s big day, only for Massimo Ambrosini to slam home the equaliser. Jeremy Menez restored Roma’s lead with a pacey run and finish, only for Ambrosini to drag Milan level again within a minute. However, the visitors were not to be denied and Francesco Totti rammed home a free-kick with only five minutes remaining, from the edge of the area, to finally wrap up the win and vital qualification for Europe and end Maldini’s career at the San Siro in sadness.
Football Italiano’s Game of the Year 2008/09
Genoa 3-3 Fiorentina
(Week 24 – February 15, 2009)
Chris Sloley: A finely worked team goal from Thiago Motta, a cool finish from Rafael Palladino and a Diego Milito penalty looked to have cemented the Rossoblu as the real deal even before the hour-mark. However, Fiorentina refused to take it lying down, with a reinvigorated Adrian Mutu bagging a penalty himself, seeing his free-kick deflect in and then, in a scrambled melee, curling a neat bending effort from the edge of the box as the clock ticked round to 93 minutes. It was the moment that marked Fiorentina’s return to the hunt for the Champions League with only seconds to spare.
Mike Carre: Well let’s face it – this game had everything. Thiago Motta got the scoring going after rounding off a superb team move for the Rossoblu before Biava received his marching orders for two bookable offences. But even with 10 men, the home side extended their lead when Mesto’s fantastic run ended with the former Reggina man crossing for Palladino to tap in. A clumsy lunge from Gamberini on Criscito allowed Milito to convert the resulting penalty and seemingly hand Genoa the win. But enter Adrian Mutu, as the Romanian converted a penalty before curling home a stunning free kick to leave the match on a knife-edge approaching the final stages. And would you believe it – Mutu stunned the home crowd with a beautiful curling effort from outside the box that found the far corner with almost the last kick of the game. What a game between the two sides fighting it out for that much coveted fourth spot.
Genoa 3-3 Fiorentina – Thiago Motta 12, Palladino 38, Milito (pen) 57; Mutu (pen) 60, 81, 94
Biava sent off 30 (second bookable offence)
Genoa – Fiorentina
Rubinho – Frey
Ferrari – Gamberini
Biava – Dainelli
Mesto – Comotto
Bocchetti – Vargas
Criscito – Montolivo
Thiago Motta- Donadel
Rossi – Kuzmanovic
Juric – Jovetic
Milito – Gilardino
Palladino – Mutu
Milanetto (46 for Palladino) – Semioli (54 for Kuzmanovic)
Papastathopoulos (69 for Mesto) – Bonazzoli (82 for Comotto)
Vanden Borre (77 for Rossi) –