In a new regular feature, Andrea Tallarita takes a look at the top three goals Serie A could offer from the weekend.
Third place – Paulo Vitor Barreto 49’ – Napoli 3-2 Bari
The long ball comes from a terrific distance and is all the more difficult to control. Barreto dampens the power of the ball with his right foot while cutting to the left, lets it bounce, then lifts a vertiginous arch over Morgan De Sanctis with his right. The execution is excellent on a ball that most players would have trouble keeping in play. Barreto’s right-foot hook that brings it down has the merit of taming the ball while simultaneously closing off the defender behind him. The moment that the Bari forward steps into the box, there is no way of stopping him without a penalty. De Sanctis sees this and rushes out to have his say. The charge is competent and Barreto is denied the time to put the ball down and devise a strategy. His solution, a looped ball which is as proportionally wide as the assist he received in the first place, is a demonstration of tremendous on-the-spot decision-making and delivery. The shift from right to left foot is quickly executed and seems to give no trouble to the forward, despite it being far from easy. A shame for the player that his effort was ultimately useless against a very effective and offensive Napoli.
Second place – Igor Budan 55’ – Palermo 2-1 Cagliari
Budan receives the ball with his back to the goal in Cagliari’s trequarti. He turns to his left, eluding the coverage of the man behind him, then cuts left and again right, evading a midfielder and a defender in the process. At the border of the box, he releases a thunderbolt of a shot which Cristiano Lupatelli – temporarily taking the place of Federico Marchetti – is impotent to arrest. The serpentine through the defenders is not as obviously spectacular as football can get, but the coefficient of difficulty is extraordinarily elevated. In the space of a prison-cell made of grass, Budan neutralizes the effect of three defenders and liberates himself into an optimal position for the shot. This is excellent in and of itself – a curving rocket that goes straight for the space between post and bar. A memorable goal which leaves an entire defence and its keeper with bad dreams for the night.
First place – Claudio Marchisio 58’ – Juventus 2-1 Inter
Marchisio is given the ball on a comparatively sterile counter for Juventus and is quick to open it on the right for Momo Sissoko. The latter manages a shot which is blocked by Julio Cesar. On the rebound, Marchisio returns like a hawk and surprises Walter Samuel (who is anything but a novice) with a left-to-right-foot dribbling on the spot. Faced now with a wall erected by Julio Cesar, Marchisio takes two swift short steps and chips it over him with his left. The goal is an easy win for the week’s first place. The play warranted a shot on goal by Marchisio, and the intuition to produce a sudden dribbling is an instantiation of fantasia of the most pristine quality. The chipped ball over Cesar, delightful for its delicacy and short-range accuracy, also belongs to that stylistic register. That the technical performance of a gesture which is not unworthy of Lionel Messi should be perfect only adds to the emphasis. Flashing in the middle of a game which was otherwise rather pedestrian, the goal by Italy’s young midfield prodigy is a flower pushing through the cracks of the sidewalk, no less sweet and no less unexpected.