Azzurri painted purple

Azzurri painted purple

Fiorentina striker Alberto Gilardino was Italy's hero on October 10 as his last-minute equalizer against Ireland earned the Azzurri a 2-2 draw in Dublin and ensured the defending World Cup Champions a place at this summer's World Cup in South Africa. Gilardino, who was brought on

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Thu 22 Oct 2009 12:00 AM

Fiorentina striker Alberto Gilardino was Italy’s hero
on October 10 as his last-minute equalizer against Ireland earned the Azzurri a
2-2 draw in Dublin and ensured the defending World Cup Champions a place at
this summer’s World Cup in South Africa. Gilardino, who was brought on as a second-half
substitute, scored in the 89th minute, three minutes after Ireland
had taken the lead and was poised to take a historic victory.  Along with the qualification, the match also
bore a special significance because Ireland
is coached by former Italy
and Fiorentina maestro, Giovanni Trapattoni, nicknamed ‘Trap’. Four days later,
Gilardino followed up his marvelous evening with an impressive encore, when he
scored a hat trick to secure a 3-2 victory for Italy over Cyprus in their final
World Cup qualifying match.

 

 

MUTU SENTENCING POSTPONED

Viola striker Adrian Mutu breathed a sigh of relief as
his TAS sentencing date was postponed until the end of November, thanks to an
appeal from the player’s legal team. Mutu was ruled to have breached his
contract while playing with English club Chelsea and has been ordered to pay a
settlement of 17 million euro. While the postponement certainly comes as good
news to both the player and the city, the striker is the first to admit that
the ordeal is far from over. However, he has said that he would rather not
discuss the case.

 

 

CONTROVERSY REIGNS AS FIORENTINA DRAW WITH LAZIO

Fiorentina missed an excellent opportunity to reach
the top of the Serie A table as they drew 0-0 with Lazio in Florence
on October 4. The Viola showed little signs of Champions League fatigue from
their midweek match, although both teams were lively and chances were had at
both ends. Fiorentina goalkeeper Sebastien Frey was called upon to make a few
crucial saves and, as usual, was more than up to the task. On the offensive
end, the Viola appeared to have taken the lead with 10 minutes remaining when
substitute Gilardino rounded Lazio keeper Muslera and sent in a shot that
appeared to cross the goal line. However, the referee allowed play to continue
despite the home side’s strong protests. Both the team and the supporters will
feel more than hard done as video replays confirmed that the ball had indeed
crossed the goal line.

 

 

GILARDINO’S CHAMPIONS LEAGUE BAN REDUCED

Gilardino, seemingly at the center of all the recent
headlines, was given the good news that his Champions League ban will be
reduced from two games to one. The striker will now be available for
Fiorentina’s next group phase fixture, in an away game against the Hungary’s
Debrecen
on October 20. The ban originally stemmed from Gilardino’s controversial
sending off in the Viola’s opening Champions League clash with Lyon.

 

 

FIORENTINA MAY INVEST IN NEW PLAYERS IN JANUARY

According to Fiorentina sporting director Pantaleo
Corvino, the club’s success in the Champions League will ultimately decide the
team’s fate in the upcoming transfer market. Qualification for the Champions
League knock-out round would bring a handsome payday and could see Corvino more
aggressive on the transfer front. Names that have already been mentioned
include Palermo’s Danish defender Simon Kjaer, Atalanta’s Hungarian midfielder
Gyuri Garics, San Paolo’s Brasilian defender Miranda and Lazio’s malcontent
Argentine midfielder Christian Ledesma. On the other side, it appears that
Adrian Mutu may leave the club in January, with his agent recently revealing
the possibility should an interesting offer present itself. 

 

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