What: Catania v Inter
When: Wednesday, Jan 28, 8:30pm local time (11:30am pacific, 2:30pm eastern)
Where: Stadio Massimino, Catania
How to Watch: That has gotten tricky, see below for details.
Mou has been sent into the stands so it will be up to vice coach Giuseppe Baresi to lead from the pitch. For those of you who dont know, Baresi played midfield for Inter for 15 years, appearing a whopping 559 times. Walter Zenga, Catania's coach, is also an Inter legend. He played keeper for inter for 11 years, making 473 appearances. They even played for a couple of years together. Well, now they are on opposite sides of the pitch and both will be desperate to bring home 3 points. While there may be handshakes and hugs before the match, once that whistle blows there will be no time for nostalgia.
Inter have not lost a game to Catania since 1966. Last February, we beat them 0-2 in Sicily (Cambiasso and Suazo). Once again, a similar result would make me quite a happy camper. Here is what happened last time (sorry for the crappy video, it was all I could find):
Although there is a Catania blog alive and well on the Offside, it is updated infrequently, and I dont think I have ever seen a preview - one assumes that Chris has more pressing, Roma-related matters to attend to. I will do my best to give a brief run-down. First, as a caveat, I must say that in all my extensive travels through Italy, Catania is the only place I have no desire to go back to. Ever. Don't get me wrong, I love Sicily. If I could, I would drop everything and get on a plane tomorrow, I just see no reason, outside of the airport, to ever go to Catania again. I didn't like it. I will attempt not to let my distaste for the city taint my feelings for the team.
Zenga has called up 20 players:
Portieri: Bizzarri, Acerbis.
Difensori: Capuano, Maccarrone, Sabato, Sardo, Silvestre, Silvestri, Stovini.
Centrocampisti: Baiocco, D'Amico, Biagianti, Ledesma, Llama, Tedesco.
Attaccanti: Martinez, Mascara, Morimoto, Paolucci, Spinesi.
Il Corriere dello Sport thinks Zenga will play a 4-3-1-2:
Silvestri Silvestre Stovini Capuano
Baiocco Ledesma Tedesco
Catania are in 12th place, after holding Genoa to a scrappy 1-all draw last weekend. Catania has had a rocky path since returning to Serie A in 2006. Last season a draw against Roma on the last day of the season saw them narrowly escape the drop. This season, with Zenga in charge from the start, the team has had a bit of a resurgence, and, instead of fighting to avoid relegation, has been steadily working towards an Europa Cup spot. Catania are without Mariano Izco, Christian Terlizzi and Ezequiel Carboni, all are suspended for this match. Up front, Catania have shown themselves to be dangerous foes (just ask Roma). In defense they can be equally frustrating. I think we all remember Bizzarri's amazing performance at the San Siro. He can be crazy good sometimes. Still, they have allowed 24 goals so far, so there are chinks in the armor. Really, what sticks in my mind about Catania is 1) great keeper and 2) Baiocco, who a FSC announcer accused of having "no athletic ability whatsoever." Oh ya, and the city is a pit.
Adriano is out. Inter appealed the ban but to no use. He is out for three matches, which would see him back for the Derby on February 15th. Chivu and Samuel are injured, as are Marco, Vieira (who has gone back to France), and Bolzoni. Nico and Maxi have apparently gotten over their flu.
Mourinho via Baresi has called up
20 19 players:
Goalkeepers: Toldo, Julio Cesar, Orlandoni;
Defenders: Cordoba, Maxwell, Maicon, Burdisso, Rivas, Santon.
Midfielders: Zanetti, Stankovic, Figo, Jimenez, Cambiasso, Muntari, Mancini, Quaresma.
Strikers: Ibrahimovic, Cruz,
Baresi played the press conference very close. When asked about a possible paring of Burdisso and Cordoba in central defense, Baresi said only:
"I believe that in this round of the championship we will decide everything at the last minute."
When asked about Balotelli, all he would say is that Balotelli is an Inter player and will not be put on the market. So there you go.
First of all finding a way to watch this match may be a little tricky. Fox Soccer Channel is showing the game, but not until Thursday. Myp2p will not be compiling links to feeds for Serie A games due to "pending legal proceedings," so we must find them for ourselves. In the past, I have found pretty good streams from adthe. Failing that, there is Justin.tv. I dont use uusee or sopcast, so I have no links for those sources. I will be feverishly searching for a stream tomorrow, so check back then. If any one finds a good one, please post a link here - I may be desperate.
Back to the game
This will be trying. Sure, Ibra is back, but the rest of the squad is battered and our defense is a bit of patchwork. Then there is the ubiquitous question of who will partner with Ibra. La Gazzetta thinks it will be Cruz. Cruz has his moments and has certainly brought home the points over the years, but I just dont think that he can play a full 90 at his age. The only other striker we have along is Crespo. I know that he has really been trying, especially when Maradona is watching, but I am afraid that trying is just not good enough any more. Maybe if could actually score everything would turn around for him. Maybe tomorrow will finally be the day. So, might this game see the return of Quaresma? He is along for the ride so it is at least a possibility.
What we really need is to score a whole lot of goals - like maybe 3 or 4. That will make the team feel better about themselves, everyone will calm down, and we can get back to the business of winning the scudetto. Everyone think positive thoughts.
The winter market window is quickly coming to an end and it looks like Moratti and Branca were true to their words when they said that Inter would not participate. So where does that leave us? Tired and with only 1.75 strikers that are allowed to play anymore (Ibra = 1, Adriano = 0.5, and Cruz = 0.25; Crespo, sadly is 0). Mourinho reiterated in his ESPN interview that 29 players is far too many, hinting that the large squad may be why we are having issues at the moment. Orali and Branca better get a move on, then, because there is not a whole lot of time left.
Oh, and it looks like Marco is staying! Hooray! Tottenham wanted him but Mourinho wouldn't let him go.
Allora Raggazzi, ci vediamo domani.
A little Stankolicious and Matrix on vacation - what's not to love?
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