Tuesday, October 28 th, 2014
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Juventus alumni Del Piero and Trezeguet clashed in India: how it ended
Two legends of the Italian Bianconeri faced in the first matchday of the newborn Indian Super League. Alex has more reasons to smile than his French-Argentinian friend
by Shaan Sengupta
The third match of the Indian Super League saw FC Pune City travel to Delhi for a showdown between the ex-Bianconeri striking partners Del Piero and Trezeguet, marquee players for Delhi and Pune respectively. With such potent strikers leading their teams, one would have expected there to be atleast a few goals. Instead, this match ended up being a sometimes-tiresome and frustrating goalless draw.

Pune’s manager Franco Colomba deployed three Italians in his starting lineup, all in the defense: Ex-Reggina and Inter defender Bruno Cirillo and ex-Roma youth product Daniele Magliocchetti formed the center back partnership along with Emanuele Belardi (yet another Reggina alumnus) in goal. Pune had a decent start to the game and had a few bright spots in attack in the first half when Trezeguet made some probing runs, got into some dangerous positions and even tested the keeper from a distance. However, most of the attack was based on long through balls from deep in the midfield and the Pune midfield was woeful with their first touches and passing.

This ended up impeding any kind of flow in their attack and there was virtually no link between the midfield and attack. Trezeguet wasn’t at all helped with the lack of proper deliveries despite having a clear height and size advantage in the box. In defense, Cirillo and Magliocchetti were often either out of position or beaten to the ball by a more technical Delhi attack. Belardi, on the other hand, was fantastic in goal and made a number of spectacular saves to salvage a point for Pune in a game that they should’ve lost.

To Trezeguet’s credit, he kept trying to get his teammates to retain possession and link up with each other properly, often dropping deep himself. Going forward, Colomba needs to make some personnel and tactical changes if Pune intends to score goals in their next outing against regional rivals, Mumbai City FC.

On the other hand, Delhi put on a very strong display of possession football and was in control of the game for most of the time. Delhi’s manager Harm van Veldhoven made a smart move by electing to bring on Del Piero only late in the first half. The Juve legend entered the game and got the home crowd and the team instantly energized just when the energy of the game was starting to ebb.

Within the space of a minute, he was involved in two chances and several clever turns and moves, hence showing why he can still be an asset at the ripe old age of 39. He continued this good form into the second half winning multiple free-kicks and coming very close to scoring from a long range shot that just whizzed past the goal. The hunger to score goals and stick out his tongue in celebration is clearly still there! However, it ended up being a frustrating experience and they will surely feel that they lost 2 points.

The team’s style of play was clearly very effective though, and it suited Alex very well. He should be expected to score a goal in his next fixture, which will be an exciting match-up with Atletico de Kolkata.

Wednesday, October 15 th, 2014
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