Welcome to day two of the CM9798 Anglo-Italian Cup! Yesterday, we got Group A underway and today it’s the turn of Group B. Here’s a reminder of the teams involved:
Verona vs Sheffield United
We start in Northern Italy, where Sam Calvert has Verona set up in an attacking 5-3-2. Like a lot of the Italian Serie B sides I have very little insight to add.
Andrew Walker has got Sheffield United in quite an expansive lineup. Saunders and Stuart are still pretty useful despite their advancing years.
Well…this was one sided. Bobby Ford gave Sheff Utd an early lead with a header from a corner and Kachuro doubled the lead shortly afterwards. He then got injured which you’d think would provide some respite but instead, versatile Andy Scott came on and scored twice late on. Woof.
Cagliari vs Wolves
We’ll stay in Italy for match two. Paul has actually got a similar formation to Sheffield United but will the result be the same?
Viren has a few injuries to contend with, most notably to Steve Froggatt. Paul Simpson is instead hoping to feed young man Robbie Keane and old man Steve Bull.
This was a ridiculous game of football. Muzzi scores twice but 16 year old Robbie Keane has other ideas, netting either side of half time to bring it all square. Son of Alex, Darren Ferguson then gives the visitors the lead, skipping around Scarpi. Muzzi completes his hat-trick to bring us all square and Banchelli wins it. Bloody hell.
Genoa vs Sheffield United
Over to Genoa and tactical genius/madman Nikolai has settled on this formation. He’s worked hard on this whereas my only insight is…Ha! That man’s name is Nappi!
Andrew’s made the trip over for his second game of the tournament. He’s unchanged as Kachuro has recovered.
Pisano, who sounds like he could do with a Nappi, gives Genoa the early lead but that wily old campaigner Graham Stuart equalises. It’s a cagey affair thereafter, though John Ebbrell fancies getting in the bath first and picks up a second yellow on 89 minutes.
Reggiana vs Wolves
Lawrence has picked an interesting looking formation. It’s not too dissimilar to how Terry Venables first starting setting up England back in 1994, only without any of the talent. Michael Hatz is a wonderful name.
Wolves are unchanged as Viren looks to bounce back from that entertaining defeat in Cagliari.
Steve Bull! He rolls back the years to give Wolves the lead. They’re in control but out of nowhere Simutenkov equalises and it angers Steve Sedgley so much he gets sent off. It finishes a draw.
Portsmouth vs Verona
Back to England now and the south coast, where Portsmouth host Verona. Aidan has set Portsmouth up in a sort of moderny 4-4-1-1 but with a defensive midfielder. I’m enjoying the high variety of formations on offer.
Sam is unchanged!
He was right to be. His side come flying out of the traps and score in the first minute. It’s a sign of things to come, it’s 2-0 after 10 minutes and there’s no way back for Portsmouth. To be honest, looking through the Portsmouth team it is desperately low on quality.
Sheffield United vs Reggiana
Sheff Utd?! Again? Yes. The schedule waits for no man. We have no suspensions in this game so Ebbrell carries on. Nick Henry is in for Bobby Ford.
Lawrence has kept his team the same for a tough trip.
It’s another great result for Andrew as eventually Kachuro finds a way through. Goalscorers are worth a lot in this game.
Middlesbrough vs Cagliari
It’s time for Middlesbrough to make their bow in this tournament. I love Paul Merson. There I said it. Townsend, Vickers and Hignett are all out injured which is more of a problem than it seems. Clayton Blackmore has to play and nobody really needs that.
Here’s what gaffer Andrew D has gone for.
Paul is sticking with his same lineup.
A quickfire double! Alun Armstrong and Branca will be a force to be reckoned with throughout this tournament and Cagliari have no response here.
Wolves vs Genoa
We finish in the Midlands, as Wolves welcome Genoa. Neither side have won yet but with this being Wolves’ 3rd game they will be more desperate for the win. Keith Curle is in for Sedgley.
As mentioned, Nikolai likes to tinker so he’s flipped the way his defensive midfielder runs about. We’ll see what effect it has.
What a mess of a match. Genoa are 2-0 up inside 8 minutes and Wolves are staring elimination in the face. It gets worse when Segers is sent off as he fouls Battaglia. Pisano converts the penalty past sub keeper Mike Stowell and that’s 3-0 and surely game over. Wolves have it all to do and Ferguson pulls one back before Bull sets up a grand stand finish. That last three minutes before Battaglia finishes the contest. That’s it for Wolves whilst Genoa have put themselves in a great position.
It’s a very uneven table but Sheffield United have given themselves a great chance of getting through. On the Italian side of things it’s all to play for, it’s a bit unusual that the teams competing with each other to qualify won’t actually play each other!
It’s different but I’m enjoying it. We’re half way through the group stages but no further towards knowing who will qualify for the CM Cup. Join me tomorrow for the conclusion of Group A!