Zdeněk Zeman began his second spell in charge of Roma with a 2-2 draw against Catania at the Stadio Olimpico on Sunday. The 65-year-old has previously managed the Rome outfit between 1997 and 1999, overseeing the progression of a fresh-faced Francesco Totti. Zeman, whose love and understanding of handball contributed to his success at Foggia in the early 1990s, replaced Luis Enrique at the club earlier this summer. Roma’s American owners want attacking football, and where Enrique failed, Zeman will certainly deliver entertainment. The Czech manager led Pescara to the Serie B title last season, scoring 90 goals in the process – a staggering 33 more than second-placed Torino. His preferred style of play involves high tempo, all-out attack, with three forwards and two overlapping midfielders. For Roma supporters who were too young to remember Zeman’s first spell at the club 15 years ago, Sunday night’s match gave an insight into what they can expect. Giovanni Marchese gave the visitors a 28th-minute lead, although the midfielder was offside, before Pablo Osvaldo’s stunning overhead kick levelled the match. But Roma were punished for throwing too many men forward for a set-piece with 21 minutes remaining, and Catania countered to devastating effect as Alejandro Gomez finished from close range. Roma did salvage a point in stoppage time as Nicolás López fired past Mariano Andujar. Whether Zeman’s unorthodox methods will still work two decades after they originally bamboozled Italian football remains to be seen – but Roma fans will be entertained.
AC Milan are facing a long, unhappy season unless Massimiliano Allegri is given the funds to bring in a number of quality signings before the transfer window closes on Friday. The Rossoneri have been virtually gutted this summer, with Zlatan Ibrahimović and Thiago Silva both lured to cash-rich Paris Saint-Germain where former Milan boss Carlo Ancelotti is in charge. In addition to their two talisman departing, veterans Alessandro Nesta, Gennaro Gattuso, Mark van Bommel and Clarence Seedorf have all left the club, while Antonio Cassano has joined rivals Internazionale. Dissatisfaction with a lack of transfer activity was evident, with only 36,288 of the 80,018 seats filled for their 1-0 defeat by Sampdoria at the San Siro. The newly-promoted side scored the winner in the 58th minute, with Andrea Costa rising highest form a corner and beating Milan keeper Christian Abbiati. Talk of Kaka’s return on a season-long loan from Real Madrid would appease Milan supporters, but with Juventus continuing their unbeaten record, and Inter recording a 3-0 win away at Pescara, it could be a long season for Allegri’s side.
After such electrifying performances in both domestic and European football over the past two seasons, it was inevitable that Napoli’s three key men – Marek Hamšík, Edinson Cavani and Ezequiel Lavezzi – would attract interest from a host of top clubs this summer. To date, Walter Mazzarri has only lost Lavezzi to PSG in a €30m deal, and despite interest from Champions League winners Chelsea and Premier League champions Manchester City, Cavani is still at the club. In fact, the 25-year-old, who has scored 49 goals in 68 appearances in Serie A over the past two seasons, is set to pen a new deal which would see the Uruguayan command a €50m buyout clause and earn a reported €4m a year. Marek Hamsik, who had previously been touted as a target for Manchester United, also appears content at the San Paolo outfit. Napoli have signed five new players during the summer, most notably former West Ham United midfielder Valeron Behrami. And Mazzarri’s side, who missed out on a second successive season in the Champions League by three points, got the new campaign off to an emphatic start with a 3-0 victory at Palermo. Slovakia international Hamšík opened the scoring with a venomous shot on the stroke of half-time, before Mazzarri’s side ruthlessly exposed Palermo’s defence on the counter-attack in the second half, with Christian Maggio netting a superb solo-strike and Cavani sealing three points with a simple header.
Osvaldo’s stunning second-half overhead strike is this week’s goal of the week, with the Spaniard netting his 12th goal for the club since joining from Espanyol last summer.
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