Atalanta and Genoa stage spectacular fightbacks in opposition to the bullies | Nicky Bandini

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Research inform us college bullies have usually been victims of bullying themselves. Watching Atalanta humiliate Udinese on Sunday afternoon, it was tempting to wonder if one thing related would possibly apply to soccer groups.
Crushed 5-1 by Manchester Metropolis in midweek, the Bergamo membership returned residence to thrash their subsequent opponent 7-1. They even allowed Udinese the illusory pleasure of scoring the primary aim, simply as that they had skilled on the Etihad.
It was an astonishing end result. Udinese arrived boasting the stingiest defence in all of Serie A, having conceded simply six occasions of their earlier eight video games. A primary-half purple card to the defender Nicholas Opoku contributed, however Atalanta dazzled with the relentless tempo and directness of their assaults. Gian Piero Gasperini ended the day keeping off journalists’ questions on whether or not his workforce may problem for the title. They sit simply three factors off first place, after Juventus, Internazionale and Napoli drew, and have outscored each workforce besides Metropolis (who’ve performed a sport extra) throughout Europe’s high 5 leagues.

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⚽ It is a second for Luis Muriel, and Atalanta are operating riot in opposition to Udinese!4⃣-1⃣ to Gasperini’s males pic.twitter.com/mnEE9k1VYV

October 27, 2019

This weekend, nevertheless, Gasperini needed to share the limelight along with his personal teaching protege. Thiago Motta couldn’t coax seven objectives out of Genoa in his first sport. However he did obtain one thing no different Serie A supervisor had ever accomplished earlier than: sending on three substitutes, who all went on to attain.
Trailing 1-Zero at residence to Brescia, Motta launched Kevin Agudelo at half-time, Goran Pandev after 58 minutes after which Christian Kouamé within the 65th. The final of these gamers hit the crossbar inside seconds of coming into the pitch. The primary of them equalised a couple of moments after that.
Signed from the Colombian membership Atletico Huila in the summertime, Agudelo had by no means made an look below Genoa’s earlier supervisor, Aurelio Andreazzoli. Motta’s resolution to supply him a debut right here was justified because the participant swept residence a assured end from Andrea Pinamonti’s cut-back contained in the field. Kouamé scored subsequent, assembly Paolo Ghiglione’s cross with a spectacular scissor-kick. Their closing aim got here on the counter, Pandev exploiting the house left by an exhausted and overstretched Brescia workforce as he reduce throughout Ales Mateju to bury a shot into the far nook.
This was a vastly vital win for Genoa, who had begun the weekend second from backside. They’d taken only a single level from their closing six video games below Andreazzoli, and conceded 19 objectives in eight matches general. The temper at their Marassi stadium has been mutinous. Ultras left the northern stand empty for the primary 10 minutes on Saturday, and a banner hung in that part warned that they might keep away for a complete season in future if nothing improved.

Christian Kouamé was one in all three Genoa substitutes to return off the bench and rating within the 3-1 victory over Brescia. {Photograph}: Simone Arveda/EPA
Even the appointment of Motta had been divisive. Though common throughout his time at Genoa as a participant, his solely teaching expertise was a single season answerable for Paris Saint-Germain’s Underneath-19s. He had been ridiculed within the Italian press final 12 months for supposedly suggesting that his workforce’s formation could possibly be described as a 2-7-2, with the goalkeeper becoming a member of midfield.
In actuality, Motta’s phrases had been grossly misinterpreted. Requested which formation he most popular throughout an interview with Gazzetta dello Sport, he sought to make the purpose that the numbers do probably not matter – since fashionable soccer is a fluid sport by which a workforce should continuously readjust its form.
To strengthen his level that formations themselves have been summary, Motta proposed that you may learn a 4-3-Three formation as a 2-7-2 in case you learn it from left to proper (ie: two gamers within the large left zone, seven within the center, two in the precise) as an alternative of going from again to entrance. None of which stopped the papers from evaluating him to Oronzo Canà, the central character from cult 1980s soccer teaching parody L’Allenatore nel Pallone, who proposed that his workforce line up in a 5-5-5.
Whether or not Motta is able to handle at this degree, solely time will inform. Though his substitutions labored out gloriously in opposition to Brescia, it is usually true his preliminary workforce choice had flaws – with Ivan Radovanovic trying misplaced after being drawn again from his standard spot in midfield to play at centre-back, and Pinamonti underwhelming as a lone centre-forward. Genoa had virtually 65% possession within the first half, however took a complete of simply 4 pictures.

Thiago Motta marked his debut within the Genoa dugout with the membership’s first win in virtually two months. {Photograph}: Simone Arveda/EPA
Motta will not be even absolutely certified, and should proceed to take programs at Coverciano to be able to get hold of his Uefa Professional licence. Alternatively, which will matter much less in the long term than the insights he gained from working below the likes of José Mourinho at Inter and Carlo Ancelotti in Paris.

He received a treble with the previous, as did Pandev. Requested concerning the expertise of teaching a former teammate, Motta famous that the Macedonian has had no drawback calling him “Mister” – the Italian equal to “Boss”.
It’s Gasperini, although, that Motta cites as the best affect on his teaching concepts. “I realized a lot from him,” he stated after taking the Genoa job. “It’s an honour to be answerable for the workforce the place he used to handle me.” He would do effectively to comply with within the footsteps of Gasperini, whose seven-and-a-half years answerable for Genoa – cut up throughout two stints – signify probably the most profitable intervals of the membership’s latest historical past. No different supervisor has even made it via a whole season answerable for the membership because it returned to Serie A in 2007.
For now, it will be sufficient for Motta merely to steer Genoa away from the relegation zone. To take a workforce that has usually been bullied this season, and educate it find out how to battle again.
Speaking factors
• No new supervisor bounce, then, for Stefano Pioli at Milan. After drawing his first sport, in opposition to Lecce, the Rossoneri adopted up with a defeat to Roma, courtesy of two objectives that felt so avoidable. Franck Kessié left Edin Dzeko unmarked on the again put up for the opening aim, earlier than Davide Calabria merely handed the ball straight to the striker – who moved it on, by way of a deflection, to Nicolò Zaniolo – for the winner.
• Ciro Motionless’s 89th-minute winner at Fiorentina was his 10th aim of this league season. Solely three gamers have ever hit double figures after 9 video games earlier than, and a type of was Motionless himself – in 2017-18. That stated, it’s a thriller how this one was allowed to face after the transfer started with what appeared like an apparent foul by Jordan Lukaku on Riccardo Sottil.
• Fascinating to notice the totally different reactions of the front-runners’ managers to their respective attracts. Carlo Ancelotti, as standard, sought to minimise the implications of a single end result, saying he was proud of Napoli’s efficiency. Maurizio Sarri principally needed to area questions on his resolution to relaxation a drained Ronaldo, however acknowledged some flaws in Juventus’s show, from a scarcity of ruthlessness up entrance to a passivity when within the lead. Antonio Conte, in the meantime, appeared to name for brand new signings, when he highlighted latest accidents and asserted his Inter squad didn’t have sufficient depth to deal with so many video games in fast succession.

Atalanta 7-1 Udinese; Bologna 2-1 Sampdoria; Fiorentina 1-2 Lazio; Genoa 3-1 Brescia; Internazionale 2-2 Parma; Lecce 1-1 Juventus; Roma 2-1 Milan; Spal 1-1 Napoli; Torino 1-1 Cagliari; Verona 0-1 Sassuolo.



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