• Monday, 16 April 2012

    TW3 #8

    The weekend's football was largely overshadowed by the tragic death of Piermario Morosini in a Serie B clash between Livorno, with whom he was on loan from Udinese, and Pescara. The Lega Calcio immediately cancelled the rest of Italian programme for the weekend - Milan and Genoa learning this during their pre-match warm-up - with nobody in the mood for a game. Questions are being asked. There is a rigourous testing regime in place, but all the screening in the world isn't going to help, especially if pitchside treatment isn't up to scratch or ambulance staff are prevented from accessing a stricken player by a badly parked traffic officer's car.

    Morosini has been talked about in glowing terms in the aftermath and seems a genuinely liked person. Not that he'd had it easy. Both his parents died when he was still a teenager, his severly disabled brother committed suicide in between. And yet at no point does it appear to have affected him negatively, rather to spur him on. If anyone had the right to dwell on things and wear 'why always me?' t-shirts, it was Morosini. That he took such a philosophical outlook on things only serves to increase the sense of tragedy. He leaves behind a physically handicapped sister, but just when you thought you couldn't respect Antonio di Natale any more, he goes and pledges to ensure she's looked after. When tragedy strikes, real heroes emerge. Di Natale has always been a footballing hero. He's so much more than that now.

    Football does pale in light of that, but it did go on as it always will, the unstoppable behemoth that it is. We'll have a whizz round the leagues very quickly.

    Cup joy for both Marseille and Benfica. Brandao's extra-time goal settled a dull Coupe de le Ligue final in St Denis while a late Javier Saviola strike snatched glory for Benfica just after Zé Luís had equalised for Gil Vicente. In Ligue 1, Montpellier still lead despite losing to Lorient as PSG were held by bottom club Auxerre.

    Dortmund won the big derby in Germany at the home of their rivals Schalke. Bayern and Mainz struggled to a goalless draw, opening the gap out to eight and almost certainly ensuring that the salad bowl remains at the Westfalenstadion. Gladbach hammered sorry Koln - without a manager after offing Stale Solbakken in the week - to all but seal a place in the Champions League qualifiers. In 2.Bundesliga, Greuther Fürth and Eintracht Frankfurt are all but promoted. It would take a monumental collapse to deny either as with Fortuna beaten by Dynamo Dresden on Monday night, Greuther need one point, Eintracht two.

    AZ losing to PSV and Twente drawing with NAC has allowed Ajax to pull out a six-point gap at the top of the Eredivisie. Zwolle will be promoted after a 0-0 draw with FC Eindhoven sealed the Eerste Divisie title. In Spain, wins for the top two left everything as was, with Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi both moving on to 41 league goals for the season.

    Unseemly goings-on in Turkey where Didier Zokora accused Emre Belozoglu of racially abusing him during the Fenebahce v Trabzonspor game. Emre coughed to it and apologised, in fairness. In the big game, Galatasaray triumphed over Besiktas and remain five points clear.

    The Champions League semi-finals take centre stage in midweek while Lega Calcio have confirmed that Italian football resumes next weekend.

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