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The Archive

August 2003

Maldini spurs Milan on to greater successes
31.8 || scharatz

If anyone had a doubt if Milan's elegant skipper Paolo Maldini was the greatest legend in the club's history, might have forced them to reconsider. A favourite revered like former greats Gianni Rivera and Francesco Baresi, Maldini yesterday set a record that perhaps no Milan player will ever be able to match.

AC Milan's UEFA Supercup win was their 40th honour of their history in all competitions, domestic and international. Amazingly Paolo Maldini has been a part of 21 of those!

What's more, yesterday's win also equaled the record held by Real Madrid and Independiente of most international titles by a club: 15 (Milan have won 6 European crowns, 3 Intercontinental Cups, 4 European Supercups and 2 Cup Winners' Cups).

Again, Paolo Maldini may well be the man who captains the side to the record breaking win when Milan take on Boca Juniors this December in Tokyo in the Intercontinental Cup 2003.

Having played for Milan for nearly 20 years and captained the side for 6, it is no wonder that Paolo is going to overtake some pretty huge names as he makes his way as the greatest player in the club's history.

Now all that's left for this legend to win is the Golden Ball, and we will know very soon if he does...

Milan men want more
31.8 || scharatz

Manuel Rui Costa and Milan’s other stars are not content with just winning the Champions’ League and European Super Cup.

“We are aiming for the Scudetto and Champions’ League,” announced the Portuguese playmaker.

“In order to achieve that, a team must not underestimate any opponent. That applies to Monday’s trip to Ancona.”

The Rossoneri will make their Serie A debut 24 hours later following Friday’s 1-0 European Super Cup victory over Porto.

Due to the tiring game against the Portuguese outfit, we should see Brazilian Kaka’ make his official debut at Ancona’s Stadio Del Conero.

Andriy Shevchenko netted the winner in Montecarlo, but Rui Costa provided the cross.

“I just can’t seem to find my scoring touch anymore,” admitted the former Fiorentina captain.

“As long as the team keeps winning trophies with my assists, I guess it doesn’t really matter too much.”

Gennaro Gattuso admits Friday’s display still showed signs of their pre-season struggles.

“Milan proved they are still capable of beating anyone,” said the midfield battler, “even if we’re not the same squad as last year.”

“Our manoeuvre is still too slow and laborious, but once our fitness reaches peak levels that will all change.”

Paolo Maldini lifted the 21st trophy of his career and echoed the sentiments of his teammates.

“You will see the real Milan in about a fortnight,” noted the defender. “Our next objective is the Intercontinental Cup, but only because it will be decided in December.”

The Rossoneri, as Champions’ League holders, will travel to Tokyo in order to take on South American representatives Boca Juniors.

“We will not rate the trophies in order of importance,” insisted Maldini. “Every objective is crucial and to be taken one game at a time.”

Ancelotti celebrates historic Cup
29.8 || webmaster

Carlo Ancelotti was overjoyed at putting a dreadful pre-season campaign behind him, but admits he fears Ancona more than Porto.

“This was a very important and difficult game,” conceded the Milan Coach, “but we expected that.”

The 1-0 victory over UEFA Cup holders Porto was a struggle, but puts the San Siro side on top of Europe along with their Champions’ League victory.

“Our pre-season wasn’t great, but we were ready for this appointment and are not yet 100 per cent fit.”

“Porto are an excellent side,” he noted, “and we are very happy to have beaten them to this trophy.”

The Rossoneri must now begin their Serie A campaign with a trip to newly promoted Ancona.

“I must say that I am always relaxed when this team takes on the big clubs,” smiled Ancelotti. “It’s the likes of Ancona that get me worried.”

This is an historic moment, as Milan’s fifteenth continental trophy makes them the most successful team in the world along with Real Madrid and Argentines Independiente.

“With this Cup, Milan writes itself into the history books. That in itself is something worth celebrating.”

Captain Paolo Maldini made a remarkable recovery from a sprained ankle to play all 90 minutes and lift the 21st trophy of his career.

“I think that a sportsman must be ambitious,” said the 35-year-old, “and I want more from my career. I’ll never get used to winning cups and it remains an emotional moment.”

The veteran was also in Monte Carlo last night to pick up a Lifetime Achievement Award from UEFA.

European Supercup: AC Milan 1-0 FC Porto - match report
29.8 || webmaster

An Andriy Shevchenko strike proved enough to lift the European Super Cup against a battling Porto outfit.

Champions’ League holders Milan took on UEFA Cup winners Porto for the European Super Cup on Friday evening.

The Rossoneri have struggled all summer and felt the pressure in the second half, but curiously left Marcos Cafu on the bench in favour of Dario Simic.

Giuseppe Pancaro filled in for the injured Kakha Kaladze, while Paolo Maldini made a remarkable recovery from a sprained ankle to start in central defence.

Milan had the best start with a series of interesting through balls, while Pippo Inzaghi sent a volley wide on Andriy Shevchenko’s cross.

The pressure paid off after ten minutes of play when a splendid Manuel Rui Costa cross found the head of Shevchenko from six yards.

The Ukrainian had netted in the Champions’ League Final against Juventus back in May, but that goal was disallowed for a controversial offside decision.

Porto fought back after Milan took the lead, but Porto and Derlei found life difficult against Alessandro Nesta and Maldini.

Clarence Seedorf had the next real effort on goal with a piledriver from the edge of the box that veered wide.

Soon after Shevchenko and Rui Costa combined with some great first-touch football, but Inzaghi’s angled drive shook the side-netting.

Porto’s first real effort was on 37 minutes, when Maniche’s long-range curler dipped just past the crossbar.

Their best opportunity arrived within moments of the restart, when Maniche’s mis-hit cross drifted on to the crossbar and the midfielder later curled another good chance past the post.

Milan really should have doubled their lead on the hour mark with another fine Shevchenko assist, but Inzaghi’s header was off target from four yards.

The Portuguese side managed to tear the defence apart soon after, but substitute Jankauskas slipped with only Dida to beat, while a Jorge Costa cross-cum-shot almost took the goalkeeper by surprise.

Rui Costa could have closed the game moments later, but his angled drive was well over the bar from close range.

Clarence Seedorf was perhaps fortunate not to see a second yellow card for a shirt-tugging incident in midfield and he was replaced by Massimo Ambrosini.

Inzaghi’s penalty appeals for a potential foul from Ricardo Costa were waved away when the defender appeared to climb on him as a cross came in.

The Italian international was again at the centre of attention when he gathered Andrea Pirlo’s through ball, but the shot was bravely charged down by Vitor Baia.

Rivaldo took the place of Shevchenko for the final fifteen minutes, while Derlei’s acrobatic effort and a fierce Jankauskas drive skimmed the woodwork.

Porto poured on the pressure in the final minutes and Dida performed a fantastic reaction save on Bosigwa’s close-range volley.

Marcos Cafu stepped in for Rui Costa as the Portuguese midfielder picked up a knock, but once again Dida rushed out to block Derlei after the failure of the offside trap.

But despite the pressure, Milan held on to lift their first trophy of the 2003-04 campaign.

Scorers: Shevchenko 19 (M)

Milan: Dida; Simic, Nesta, Maldini, Pancaro; Gattuso, Pirlo, Rui Costa (Cafu 85), Seedorf (Ambrosini 70); Inzaghi, Shevchenko (Rivaldo 75)

Porto: Vitor Baia; Paulo Ferreira, Jorge Costa, Ricardo Carvalho, Ricardo Costa; Alenitchev (Ricardo Fernandes 75), Maniche, Costinha (Bosingwa 67); Deco; Derlei, McCarthy (Jankauskas 59)

Ref: Barber (Eng)

Serie A will start
29.8 || scharatz

Serie A will get under way this weekend according to both the League chief Adriano Galliani and Brescia President Gino Corioni.

“From what I understand,” said Corioni. “Sky and Gioco Calcio have reached an agreement. So there should be no problem with Serie A starting on time.”

Galliani is just as optimistic. “I am 100 percent certain that Serie A will start this weekend,” confirmed the League President. “Thursday was a very stressful day, but Serie A will get under way as planned. Serie B, however, is a more complicated issue.”

Should Galliani’s proposal of making Serie B a 24-team Division go ahead, then more problems are foreseen for the future. Torino President Attilio Romero insists that it is the clubs who are being punished.

“If Serie B turns into a 24-team League then we want four teams to be relegated from Serie A and six promoted from B,” he said.

The controversy continues…

Ancelotti: Pace to beat Porto
29.8 || scharatz

Carlo Ancelotti believes Milan are more than a match for tonight's European Super Cup opponents Porto.

“My players have worked very hard all summer and know what they need to do,” commented the Coach.

“We are ready to take on a dynamic side that plays very rapid and creative football. Porto’s counter-attacks are deadly, but we know what we can do.”

The Rossoneri won The Double last season, but have struggled throughout the summer.

“I admit there were a few problems,” added Ancelotti, “but we have sorted them out and will finally get back to the games that count.”

The San Siro side lost the Italian Super Cup to Juventus at the start of August, but the Coach considers that to be a good performance.

“We only lost that trophy on penalties and in my view played better than Juve. I’d be happy to see the same commitment and pace that we showed in New York.”

Paolo Maldini had been ruled out for this match, but the veteran made a lightning recovery to start alongside Alessandro Nesta.

“It is very important to have your captain on the field. Maldini may not be 100 per cent fit, but you’d never leave him out.”

New signing Giuseppe Pancaro will take the left-back role from the injured Kakha Kaladze, while “Martin Laursen and Alessandro Costacurta also have some fitness worries.”

Milan take on UEFA Cup holders Porto in Monaco this evening, but in that same city the draw for the Champions’ League Group phase was held.

“We already know Ajax well,” explained the tactician, “certainly more than Club Brugge, but I think that overall the groups are relatively balanced.”

Probable line-up: Dida; Cafu, Nesta, Maldini, Pancaro; Rui Costa, Gattuso, Pirlo, Seedorf; Inzaghi, Shevchenko

European Supercup: AC Milan vs. FC Porto - match preview
29.8 || Seamus

The cup kings of Europe come head-to-head in Monaco's Principality stadium as Champions League winners Milan take on Uefa Cup holders FC Porto.

The Rossoneri don't enter this game in good spirits, after a number of disappointing pre-season results. A lack of goals has had the Milan faithful shuffling nervously in their seats, and wondering why a new striker has not been forthcoming. An injury to Pippo Inzaghi or Andriy Shevchenko will leave the attack looking somewhat threadbare.

Still, there is plenty to be optimistic about. The core of the squad has remained, and the players will be far more familiar with each other this season.

While history may be on AC Milan's side for Friday's UEFA Super Cup clash in Monaco, FC Porto will play to win and make a little history of their own. Porto did make one previous Super Cup appearance, beating Ajax in 1987/88.

Jose Mourinho believes that his current squad has what it takes to beat Milan. With no major injuries to their team, do not be surprised if FC Porto pulls off a minor upset.

FC Porto is essentially the same squad that stormed through the Portuguese League last year and conquered the UEFA Cup. They have several quality players and fantastic team chemistry. While Deco is their creative player, he is not the be-all-and-end–all of Porto's attacking game. They generally employ two offensive minded wingbacks and defensive midfielders who are not afraid to have a crack at goal. This, combined with versatile strikers like Derlei and Benni McCarthy give Porto several attacking options.

Their center backs are capable of stifling any offense. Jorge Costa's experience is an invaluable asset to Porto while his understudy Ricardo Carvalho is quickly developing into a solid center back.

FC Porto did have a minor set back in league play last Sunday, as they conceded a 1-1 draw to Estrela Amadora. Nonetheless, they have not lost an official game this season and should be in top form come Friday.

Goalkeeper Vitor Baia will need to rebound big time from Sunday's awful display. He may have to pull off a few brilliant saves, manager Jose Mourinho will be hoping that Vitor Baia's better half shows up Friday.


Milan: Cafu will start the match at right-back following his summer move from AS Roma. Maldini is likely to have recovered from injury in time to line-up, but Kaladze is out for a month.

Porto: Jose Mourinho might tweak his usual starting 11 ahead of the Milan match. Look for Costinha to be assigned to cover Rui Costa while Maniche could be given more of an offensive role. The inconsistent Vitor Baia will get the start in goal again, despite conceding a horrendous goal on Sunday. Jorge Costa has been through many tough games in his career and Friday's encounter will be another war for the 'the tank'. Look for him to dominate both aerially and physically, while Ricardo Carvalho should off-set Costa's lack of pace.


Andriy Shevchenko (Milan): the Ukrainian had an injury ravaged campaign last season, but is now back to fitness and ready to fire on all cylinders once again.

Deco (Porto): He will not be given much space by Milan but should have a few flashes of brilliance anyway. His ability to run at defenders (and often right past them) is one of his man offensive tools, while his one-touch through balls could be a deciding factor on Friday.

Serie A start decided on Friday
28.8 || Seamus

We will only know if Serie A and B will kick off on time 24 hours before the opening match of the season.

Wednesday’s League meeting of clubs was a heated affair with rows between several Presidents.

The strike in protest at the decision to expand the second division to 24 teams continues and it is now highly unlikely the season will start as planned on Saturday evening.

“It will take a miracle to kick off Serie B on time,” admitted League Vice-President Antonio Matarrese.

“I am more hopeful for Serie A to start regularly, but there are still some issues to be resolved there.”

The top flight has two basic problems to figure out before the planned Saturday afternoon game between Reggina and Sampdoria.

Some clubs, such as Brescia, are showing solidarity with their second division counterparts and suggest joining the strike.

Other smaller sides are linked to the new ‘Gioco Calcio’ pay-per-view television service that has only launched this week.

‘Sky Italia’ want the new company to pay them for the use of digital channels and facilities, but ‘Gioco Calcio’ have so far refused to agree terms.

“This was just an initial meeting to understand the situation,” noted League President Adriano Galliani.

“Everyone thought it a good idea to take 48 hours to think about it and come back for Friday’s meeting.”

The only real plan to end the strike is to pledge that next season Serie A will be extended to 20 teams and B reduced to 22.

“Some Presidents make their voices heard more than others,” continued Galliani, “but the quiet ones call me after the meetings to assure they want to play football on time.”

Nonetheless, when asked if the top flight matches would go ahead as planned this weekend Galliani sighed, “I wouldn’t make any bets right now.”

The most hardline rebels in Serie B are Atalanta, Triestina and Cagliari, led by Orobici President Ivan Ruggeri.

“There is currently no margin for negotiation,” he insisted. “Serie B will not start this Saturday and we could be on hold for weeks, even months.”

“If Serie B doesn’t start then the top flight shouldn’t go ahead either,” he added, “but the League has reached the end of an era.”

It now seems increasingly likely that in the wake of this chaos the League will be split into Serie A and Serie B representation.

Serie A Season Preview: Milan
28.8 || Seamus

Time to do it all again. Living up to last season's exploits will be difficult, but Milan were always a club who set themselves high standards.

With May's Champions League victory still fresh in the mind, Carlo Ancelotti's charges embark on a new season, but not with the optimism that many would think they'd have. For the Rossoneri's pre-season form has been indifferent, and the team's lack of goals is a worry to many of the tifosi.

But since when have pre season friendlies been a good indicator of a team's fortunes when the real stuff starts?

The club have made the wise move of not going out and spending willy-nilly when encouraged by a bit of success. Brazilian Cafu and Kaka have arrived, as well as experienced full-back Guiseppe Pancaro from Lazio.


That centre-back that many expected has not yet arrived, and with speculation that Roque Junior could be on his way out on loan, the Rossoneri may be left a little short at the back. Martin Laursen is a reliable replacement for Alessandro Nesta or Paolo Maldini, but one has the feeling that the club would really have liked Barcelona's Charles Puyol on board by now.


New signing Kaka may play a larger role than many people think. He impressed in Saturday's friendly with National Bucharest, and coach Carlo Ancelotti has made it clear he will fight for his place like everyone else. And what of last season's biggest disappointment Rivaldo? He hasn't had the benefit of a full pre-season behind him, and will be forced to make an impact from the bench, more often than not.

Milan are certainly well covered for holding players in the midfield. Fernando Redondo, Massimo Ambrosini and the impressive Rino Gattuso will fight it out for one or two places (depending on Ancelotti's formation). Andrea Pirlo's craft and vision of passing will also priove improtant.


Andriy Shevchenko and Filippo Inzagjhi will start the bulk of the matches in tandem up front. There aren't too many other options. Jon Dahl Tomasson is a steady performer but nothing more, while young Marco Boriello lacks experience. Many Milan fans wanted a strong target man to arrive, a player capable of scoring headed goals regularly, but he has been forthcoming. The fans' favourite Shevchenko badly needs an injury-free season.


The Scudetto may just be number one priority after the Rossoneri missed out by such a margin last season. But will the Rossoneri be able to get over their complex against Serie A's lesser lights? If so, they will seriously challenge Juve for the title. In Europe, a semi-final place in the Champions League will be the least everyone expects.


Milan are strong all over, but while they will improve on last season's 3rd place, they won't topple Juve just yet. 2nd place.
Stewart Coggin

CL draw: Serie A sides quietly confident
28.8 || scharatz

The four Italian clubs are relatively pleased with their draw for the Group phase of the Champions' League.

Lazio Director General Luca Baraldi was confident of their success despite sharing Group G with Chelsea.

“It was a risk that everyone wanted to avoid,” he confessed, “but it is a great challenge to take on the best teams right from the start.”

There will be familiar faces on show, as Juan Sebastian Veron and Hernan Crespo will take on their former clubs.

“This just gives the tie an extra twist,” continued Baraldi. “It’s a very different team to the Chelsea side we beat in July’s friendly, but this club is happy to take part in such prestigious encounters.”

“It can also be useful to share the Group with Chelsea, as we can theoretically split the standings in two and qualify early.”

Lazio and Chelsea are certainly the favourites to qualify from this Group phase and into the knock-out stages.

“We already beat Besiktas in the UEFA Cup last year, both home and away. If Lazio are to aim for any trophy then we must respect but not fear Sparta Prague.”

Milan director Roberto Logandini suggests trophy holders Milan have an easier first phase than last year.

“This is certainly a tough Group, as they all are, but compared to last season this is more approachable.”

Ajax travel to the San Siro for the opening tie on Tuesday Sept 17, but the Dutch side has sold two of its star players to Serie A sides over the summer.

“Ajax are an excellent squad that despite the loss of Christian Chivu and Andy Van der Meyde remain strong in all areas.”

“Celta Vigo and Club Brugge may not be the most famous names in the draw, but they are certainly not to be underestimated.”

Porto were avoided in the draw, but Milan will face them tomorrow for the European Super Cup and we could see Paolo Maldini on the field.

“Maldini is here with the squad and we hope to see him on the field tomorrow evening.”

Juventus will welcome Fatih Terim’s Galatasaray to the Stadio Delle Alpi for their first tie.

“We aren’t worried by this draw,” assured director general Luciano Moggi. “The team is prepared for any opponent.”

The Bianconeri have certainly the queens of the summer transfer campaign, having brought in reinforcements for every area of the field.

“The teams at this stage of the competition are all strong,” he added. “We are well aware of what Juventus can do and are therefore relaxed going into the Group phase.”

Champions League draw: Milan and Ajax meet again
28.8 || scharatz

The draw for the 2003/04 UEFA Champions League group stage has been made at the Grimaldi Forum in Monaco.

Eleven former champions

Eleven former European Champion Clubs' Cup winners and three clubs who have never featured in a group stage before were among the 32 teams drawn into eight four-team groups.

Milan-Ajax rematch

Holders AC Milan, the top seeds, will once again face Dutch outfit AFC Ajax, who they beat in the last eight en route to the final last season, in Group H. Also drawn in this testing section are RC Celta de Vigo and Club Brugge KV, conquerors of 1997 European champions BV Borussia Dortmund in the third qualifying round.

Attractive Group F

Group F is one of the most attractive sections, with three former European champions present: nine-times champions Real Madrid CF, 1987 winners and UEFA Cup holders FC Porto, and Olympique de Marseille, the first team to win the Champions League following the restructuring of the competition for the 1992/93 season. FK Partizan, who knocked out Newcastle United FC last night, complete the group.

Juventus in Group D

Last season's runners-up and two-times winners Juventus FC are in Group D alongside Galatasaray SK of Turkey, Olympiacos CFP of Greece and Real Sociedad de Fútbol from Spain. Meanwhile, FC Bayern München, who have won club football's greatest prize on four occasions, were joined by Olympique Lyonnais of France, Scotland's Celtic FC and Belgium's RSC Anderlecht in Group A.

Intriguing group

Arsenal FC, Internazionale FC, FC Dynamo Kyiv and FC Lokomotiv Moskva contest Group B, while an intriguing Group G will see S.S. Lazio, Chelsea FC, AC Sparta Praha and Besiktas JK vie for supremacy. English champions Manchester United FC can look forward to a meeting with their Scottish counterparts Rangers FC in Group E, which also includes Panathinaikos FC and VfB Stuttgart.

Competitive section

Finally, a competitive Group C will see RC Deportivo La Coruña of Spain, PSV Eindhoven from the Netherlands, AEK Athens FC of Greece and the French club AS Monaco FC competing together.

Match dates

Prior to the draw the 32 teams were placed in four pots in accordance with seedings based on UEFA club coefficients. Clubs from the same national association could not be paired together. During the group stage each team will play three matches on a Tuesday and three on a Wednesday, starting with the first of six matchdays on 16/17 September. The remaining dates are: 30 September/1 October, 21/22 October, 4/5 November, 25/26 November, 9/10 December.

Final in Gelsenkirchen

The top two teams in each group progress to the last 16 knockout stage, with the third-placed team moving into the third round of the UEFA Cup. The final will be played at the Arena AufSchalke in Gelsenkirchen, Germany on 26 May next year.

Group A
FC Bayern München (GER)
Olympique Lyonnais (FRA)
Celtic FC (SCO)
RSC Anderlecht (BEL)

Group B
Arsenal FC (ENG)
Internazionale FC (ITA)
FC Dynamo Kyiv (UKR)
FC Lokomotiv Moskva (RUS)

Group C
RC Deportivo La Coruña (ESP)
PSV Eindhoven (HOL)
AEK Athens FC (GRE)
AS Monaco FC (FRA)

Group D
Juventus FC (ITA)
Galatasaray SK (TUR)
Olympiacos CFP (GRE)
Real Sociedad de Fútbol (ESP)

Group E
Manchester United FC (ENG)
Panathinaikos FC (GRE)
Rangers FC (SCO)
VfB Stuttgart (GER)

Group F
Real Madrid CF (ESP)
FC Porto (POR)
Olympique de Marseille (FRA)
FK Partizan (SCG)

Group G
S.S. Lazio (ITA)
Chelsea FC (ENG)
AC Sparta Praha (CZE)
Besiktas JK (TUR)

Group H
AC Milan (ITA)
RC Celta de Vigo (ESP)
AFC Ajax (HOL)
Club Brugge KV (BEL)

Leeds close to Roque loan
27.8 || Seamus

Leeds United are close to taking Roque Junior on a season-long loan, confirmed Milan directors this evening.

“Roque Junior will fly to Britain this evening to discuss personal terms,” revealed Rossoneri transfer guru Ariedo Braida.

“I would like to point out that there is nothing definite on paper as yet. There is no signature and the contract has not yet been ratified.”

The Brazilian defender spent much of last year on the bench and was looking for more first team action.

He had been linked to a Premiership move earlier in the summer, but deemed Bolton “not a big enough club” for his talents.

The World Cup winner was also offered to Barcelona as part of Milan’s bid for Carles Puyol and negotiations are still in place for the 25-year-old Spaniard.

Roque Junior’s departure leaves more room for Danish international Martin Laursen in central defence.

“Roque is a player we are very interested in,” added Leeds chief Peter Reid. “The talks are continuing and we hope to sign him this week.”

In other transfer news, Torino have officially loaned their defensive midfielder Gianluca Comotto to Fiorentina.

Chievo have sent 23-year-old defender Francesco Carbone out to Serie B side Triestina on a season-long loan deal.

Brescia have officially concluded their signing of San Lorenzo goalkeeper Diego Sebastian Saja.

Seria A Prediction League is back
27.8 || Seamus

Seria A Prediction League is back! With the upcomming season we all felt that we should do the SAPL again for all you Milan fans out there. The rules are as follows:

RULES for the Serie A Prediction League including UEFA Cup, Champion's League and Coppa Italia games.

1. Each week a new thread will be started on Monday by the moderators with a list of the upcoming weeks games. In this thread you should post your predictions on the what you think the actual out comes of the games will be. The easiest way is to copy/paste the list of games and to just insert the results that you think will happen.

Example: Milan 3-1 Udinese
Empoli 4-0 Inter, and so on... Listing all of the games and scores you predict.

Note: Do NOT start a thread if one does not yet exsist! A mod. or site admin. will do it each week on Monday for the games for the upcomming week and weekend's games. Any member starting the thread without permission will be docked 10 points.

2. Scoring: Scoring will be based on correct winner and correct result, being added up weekly until the end of the Season. One point will be awarded for the correct winner and one extra point will be awarded for the correct result.

If you predict Milan 3-1 Udinese and Empoli 4-0 Inter
and actual results are Milan 3-1 Udinese and Empoli 5-0 Inter.
You would receive 3 points - 2 for picking Milan as the winner and
predicting the correct score and you would get 1 point for getting the correct winner, but not the correct result of the Empoli/Inter Game.

(you may predict ties as well, 1 point for the game actually resulting in a tie, and 1 extra point if you predict the correct score of the tie)

3. Predictions MUST be entered before the start of the weekends games. Any post that is received after the start of the games will be discounted. Also, any post edited after the start of the games will also be discounted and will not count towards the overall total.

4. A Sticky Thread will inserted into the Forum Seria A Prediction League with a running total of how each member is doing overall for predictions in Seria A. We will also be doing predictions for the Champion League and Coppa Italia weekly in seperate threads later in the season, and these predictions will also count towards the overall results (more below). The overall results will be a combination of league games, UEFA, CL, and Coppa italia. In this thread there will also be the overall standing for CL and Coppa Italia predictions and these points will be included each week in the oover all total. The overall total will be updated after each weekeds games and is just there to show the overall point total each participant has. This thread is not for discussions, just to show how everyone is doing overall.

5. The weekly total will be found in the thread for that week after the games have been finished and the weekly threads will remain open after the scores have been calculated so that people can talk about how they did the previous week.

6. The Champions League and Coppa Italia will also be added to the contest when the reach the appropriate stages of the competitions. The UEFA Cup will start from the beginning, the UEFA Champion's League will begin starting in the group stages and the Coppa Italia will begin in the 1/8 finals. Because these games are during the week they will have a separate thread each week in the same Seria A Prediction League Forum. This makes it easier for the mods and participents to enter their predictions and to calculate the results. (This will be done to prevent people from posting their CL and Coppa Italia predictions on Monday, the games happen on Wed., the results are added up then in the same thread later they post the Sera A prediction for the same week. If this occurs the mods will have to go back and check everything for correct times and edits. To prevent this the CL and Coppa Italia will be included, but just in a different thread each week than the league games for that week. All of the predictions league, CL, and Coppa Italia will be located in the Seria A Prediction League Forum)

7. If the SAPL ends in a tie, we will decide as to what should be the tie breaker at that time.

8. Prizes: Prizes will be awarded to the top 3 winners of the overall Seria A Prediction League (including the UEFA Cup, CL and Coppa Italia). The member who has the highest number of points will be given 1st pick of the prizes. The member with the second highest number of points will get second pick, and third places get last pick. Prizes are yet to be determined.

Below is an short example of how the game will be set up:

Week one league results (which would be posted in the thread of that week)
scharatz 15 points
seamus 10 points
david 12 points

So the 1st sticky (after the 1st week) would read:
scharatz 15 points
seamus 10 points
david 12 points

week 2 league results (which would be posted in the thread of that week)
scharatz 15 points
seamus 13 points
david 15 points

Then the mods would edit the post in the 1st stickey accordingly to:
scharatz 30 points
david 27 points
seamus 23 points

Week three league results (which would be posted in the thread of that week)
seamus 15 points
David 12 points
Scharatz 13 points

Week three CL & Cup results (which would be posted in the thread of that week)
David 6
Scharatz 6
Seamus 3

Then the mods would edit the post in the 1st stickey accordingly to:
scharatz 47 points
david 45 points
seamus 41 points
Another post in this thread would say:
CL & Cup overall results (this points have already been added to the SAPL overall point total)
David 6
Scharatz 6
Seamus 3

An so on, and so on...

9. Please post your prediction is the following manner. Let say you think Milan (away team) win beat Modena (home team) 3 to nothing. It should be posted in the following manner:

Modena 0-3 Milan, 2

Home Team then Predicted Score then Away Team, then the Winner # (home team is always 1 and away team is always 2)

If you predict a tie it should be like:

Modena 1-1 Milan, X

10. Please only post your prediction once each week! If you would like to change your prediction BEFORE the weekends games just edit your previous post. Any member who posts 2 predictions in 1 week for that competition, their prediction points will not be counted for that week.
Some weeks there will be two threads, one for the league games and one for the Coppa Italia/UEFA Cup/Champion's League games as stated before, it is fine to post a 1 prediction in the league games thread and 1 prediction in the Coppa Italia/CL thread. Just do not post more that 1 prediction per thread, edit your 1st tread if you would like to change it. Also, please try to post your predictions before Friday if at all possible. Any predictions recieved after the start of the the games will not count.

If you have any questions about the rules or any questions in general about the game please PM either Scharatz or Seamus and we would be glad to clairify and questions you may have. Good Luck!!!

Maldini prepared for Porto
27.8 || Seamus

Milan captain Paolo Maldini has made a remarkable recovery and could start Friday’s European Super Cup game against Porto.

“I really think I’ll be able to play,” revealed the veteran. “Today I am taking part in my first full training session since the setback and that will be the decider.”

The 35-year-old was initially ruled out for four to six weeks after spraining his ankle during a training session.

However, the defender looks set for a full recovery in less than seven days to play Milan’s first big game of the season.

“Fortunately,” he continued, “the injury to my left ankle was less serious than initially feared.”

The back line has been particularly shaky since Maldini’s injury and that of teammate Kakha Kaladze.

The team has struggled throughout the pre-season, scoring just one goal from open play and not registering a single victory.

“Now is the time to start winning again,” insisted the Rossoneri legend. “It is true that the summer has been disappointing, but the European Super Cup is very important to us.”

Champions’ League winners Milan take on UEFA Cup holders Porto in Monaco on Friday evening.

“Our pre-season training was geared to being in top shape for this match. Now is the time to prove our worth.”

UEFA have confirmed that English referee Graham Barber will take charge of Friday’s game.

He already officiated on two games featuring Milan last season, both of them defeats to Lens and Borussia Dortmund.

Milan make final Puyol offer
27.8 || scharatz

Milan are preparing their last stab at signing Barcelona captain Carles Puyol for their increasingly troubled defence.

The Rossoneri will be without the injured Paolo Maldini, Kakha Kaladze and possibly Martin Laursen for Friday’s European Super Cup clash with Porto.

Puyol has been a target for some time, but the current injury crisis at the back has made his arrival a necessity.

Barca have set a price-tag of around £10m and are willing to sell the 25-year-old in order to cut their mounting debts.

Milan have so far offered £4m cash plus one defensive player, either Brazilian World Cup winner Roque Junior or Danish international Laursen (pictured).

It is claimed Carlo Ancelotti would prefer to lose Laursen, but Barcelona boss Frank Rijkaard is holding out for Roque Junior.

A decisive meeting between club officials is planned for this afternoon.

Serie A start to be delayed?
26.8 || Seamus

The B strike and a row over television rights could delay the start of the Serie A season for the second year running.

Vice-President of the League Antonio Matarrese was present at today’s launch of the new television station ‘Gioco Calcio,’ created for the six remaining Serie A sides without television contracts.

However, there is still a fear that the new season could be delayed after all the problems in Italy’s second division.

“It is unlikely that Serie A will be delayed, though Serie B looks like it won’t start on time,” said Matarrese.

“The second division sides and the Federation are locked into their positions and won’t move an inch. It’s a stalemate and we’ll discuss a way out in tomorrow’s meeting.”

“Although I am convinced that in a destructive environment,” he added, “we are at least being constructive by launching the television station.”

Another headache for the League chiefs concerns Brescia, Chievo, Empoli, Modena, Perugia and Ancona.

Enrico Corioni, President of Brescia, said at today’s launch that all six sides were ready go on strike if an adequate deal could not be struck, to which Matarrese replied: “We have provided the cameras. The start of the season is in their hands now.”

Serie B outfits are on strike in protest at the decision to extend the division to 24 teams, bringing up Catania, Genoa, Salernitana and Fiorentina.

The strike took in Sunday’s Coppa Italia games, none of which were played because one or both clubs refused to attend.

The FIGC has taken a hard line with the strike and given a 3-0 defeat to every team that did not turn up to the fixture.

These clubs were also docked a point in the opening group stage of the Coppa Italia, leaving some sides with a score of –1.

Milan zoom in on Zenden
26.8 || Seamus

Milan’s injury woes could push them to make a bid for Barca’s Carles Puyol and Chelsea benchwarmer Boudewijn Zenden.

Both Paolo Maldini and Kakha Kaladze (pictured) are out of Friday’s European Super Cup clash with Porto, while the Georgian international is sidelined for at least a month with a torn thigh tendon.

Reinforcements are needed for a team that has been largely quiet on the transfer market, bringing in only three new players.

Barcelona captain Puyol has been a target for several weeks now and would be more than willing to accept a switch.

His £10m price-tag is a major obstacle, however, especially for a club that has spent only £5.3m all summer.

A new meeting with Barca directors, who wish to cut their mounting debts, is planned for Friday in Monaco.

Meanwhile, Kaladze’s absence on the left flank opens the door to Dutch international Zenden.

Chelsea are eager to get him off their wage bill and reportedly offered the winger to Inter as part of their bid for Hernan Crespo.

A lack of width continues to prove a problem for the Champions’ League holders and Zenden could give Carlo Ancelotti more options.

Inzaghi: We'll be Super on Friday
25.8 || scharatz

Pippo Inzaghi insists Milan will be on form for Friday's European Super Cup clash with Porto despite disastrous summer results.

The Rossoneri were defeated on penalties by National Bucharest this week following a 1-1 draw.

“Our pre-season training was all geared towards the August 29 match,” revealed the striker.

“There was a physical improvement all round against National Bucharest, but the fans must relax because the real Milan will be on show this coming Friday.”

The Champions’ League winners will take on UEFA Cup holders Porto in Monaco to officially kick-start the new season.

So far Carlo Ancelotti’s men have not impressed, as Inzaghi’s strike against Bucharest was their first from open play all summer.

“Scoring always brings great pleasure to a striker,” he noted, “but the important thing is for the team to win.”

“Playing Bucharest was all well and good, but what really counts is scoring against the Portuguese champions for a very prestigious trophy.”

Despite these problems, the Italian international rejects claims Milan are struggling to make their mark.

“This year the same team that won The Double has been confirmed, plus the arrival of very useful additions like Marcos Cafu, Giuseppe Pancaro and Kaka’. We hope to repeat last season’s success.”

Super Pippo aims to shine in the Super Cup and gave himself a new haircut to make sure he caught the fans’ eye.

“I had pledged after the Champions’ League and Coppa Italia victories that I would cut all my hair off or get a tattoo."

"I maintained my promise and hope that will get Lady Luck on our side.”

Friendly: AC Milan 1:1 National Bucharest (2:5 after pens)
23.8 || scharatz

Milan tested out their Euro Super Cup team and gave Kaka’ his official debut in the 1-1 draw with National Bucharest.

Worryingly, the Rossoneri continue to struggle and were beaten on penalties by the Romanian outfit.

As expected, a midfield of Gennaro Gattuso, Fernando Redondo, Clarence Seedorf and Manuel Rui Costa lined up behind front two Pippo Inzaghi and Andriy Shevchenko.

However, Kakha Kaladze is in doubt for the upcoming clash with Porto, as he limped off with a thigh problem during the first half.

Marcos Cafu is settling in to his new club and his crosses provided good scoring opportunities for the strikers.

But it was Rui Costa who provided the through ball for Inzaghi to open the scoring on 43 minutes.

Curiously, this was the first goal from open play scored by the Rossoneri all summer.

Ancelotti changed almost the entire squad for the second half, giving Rivaldo, Jon Dahl Tomasson and new buy Kaka’ their first outings of the summer.

Within minutes the two Brazilians had combined for a good chance, but the ex-Barcelona man fired wide.

Soon after National Bucharest drew level through a precise Ovidiu Petre header, but the South American magic of Kaka’, Rivaldo and Serginho continued to create opportunities.

In the final minutes the 21-year-old ex-Sao Paolo star ran almost the entire length of the field before he was brought down on the edge of the box.

It ended 1-1 and went to a penalty shoot-out, but the heroics of Old Trafford were nowhere to be seen.

Serginho ballooned over, Tomasson’s effort was saved and only Rivaldo could net from the spot as Milan are still without a single win this summer.

On August 29 they will aim for the European Super Cup against UEFA Cup holders Porto.

Milan 1-1 National Bucharest

Scorers: Inzaghi 43 (M), Petre 50 (N)

Bucharest win 5-2 on pens

Milan First Half: Dida; Cafu, Nesta, Roque Junior, Kaladze; Gattuso, Redondo, Seedorf; Rui Costa; Inzaghi, Shevchenko

Milan Second Half: Abbiati; Simic, Nesta, Roque Junior, Pancaro; Brocchi, Ambrosini, Serginho; Kakà; Rivaldo, Tomasson

Pressure on says Gattuso
22.8 || Seamus

Milan fan favourite Gennaro Gattuso has admitted that his side are feeling the pressure after a poor pre-season.

The Champions’ League winners have lost all five of their friendly games so far this term. While they’ve only scored one goal – a penalty from Andrea Pirlo.

"Our outings to date have not gone too well," he told the official Rossoneri website. "We’re not worried but the pressure is certainly on us now."

The former Rangers man loves a battle and he’s adamant that it is time that he and his teammates prove their worth.

"We must now react to theses setbacks," he continued. "And the only way to do that is to start winning games."

Milan’s next big test is the August 29 clash in Monaco when they will take on Porto in the European Super Cup.

"That is an extremely important trophy for us," the Italian international noted. "We need to find the same sort of spirit that we had when we won the European Cup at Old Trafford.

"In that game we did well defensively and offensively. If we can replicate the same sort of mentality then I’m convinced we will see a great Milan next Friday."

Weah Proud For Son To Join Milan
21.8 || Seamus

Milan legend George Weah spoke to Italian daily 'Corriere dello Sport' after the Rossoneri signed his young son this week.

"Milan has been my family and that's why I brought my son here," he said. "To play for Milan, George junior has denied many other offers.

"He plays like me, with a lot of hard work he will reach great results. Milan is a big family, I care about them like they care about me, I want to thank Galliani and my friend Umberto Gandini."
SA Italy

Berlusconi Trophy: Milan 0-2 Juventus
17.8 || Seamus

Juventus have won the Berlusconi Trophy by beating Milan for the third time this summer, but Andrea Pirlo was stretchered off.

The Rossoneri are already without Paolo Maldini for a month and Pirlo was carried away with what appeared to be a sprained ankle.

The two clubs have now faced each other four times in three months, for the Champions’ League Final, Italian Super Cup Final, TIM Trophy and this 2-0 friendly victory.

Unfortunately for Marcello Lippi’s men, the one encounter they failed to win was for the European Cup.

This San Siro clash is played out every August and there is a curious superstition which suggests the losing side will go on to win the Scudetto that season.

The Rossoneri were without the injured Maldini, Rivaldo and Gennaro Gattuso, while Juve had Marcelo Zalayeta and Salvatore Fresi ruled out.

The fans were also entertained before kick-off, as new signing Kaka’ was in the stands following his £5.3m move from Sao Paolo.

It was announced the Brazilian creative midfielder passed a medical and will wear the Number 30 jersey.

Once again, rebel midfielder Edgar Davids was left on the bench in favour of new man Stephan Appiah.

Andriy Shevchenko had the first shot on goal within 90 seconds, causing serious problems to the Juve defence down the right flank, while Gianluigi Buffon tipped a Clarence Seedorf piledriver and another Shev effort over the bar.

But the deadlock was eventually broken just before half-time when Appiah’s fantastic threaded pass found Alessandro Del Piero in the box to drill past Dida.

The Juventus captain prepared a cool finish, but ex-Brescia star Appiah showed great vision to find him.

The Bianconeri doubled their lead in confident fashion with a well-worked team move.

Nedved and Trezeguet combined well down the left flank before cutting across for the unmarked Camoranesi to sweep home on the stroke of half-time.

Roque Junior, who replaced the injured Maldini in central defence, wasted a good opportunity at the dawn of the second half.

Ex-Lazio defender Giuseppe Pancaro then skimmed a searing angled shot past the far post.

There was more bad news for Milan, as Andrea Pirlo appeared to badly sprain his ankle following a challenge from Nicola Legrottaglie.

The midfielder was stretchered off in some evident pain and it is feared he will be out of action for several weeks.

Soon after, Massimo Ambrosini and Jon Dahl Tomasson got in each other’s way and missed an open goal, while Dida performed a tough save on substitute Marco Di Vaio.

In stoppage time Milan had their best chance when Seedorf's free kick thumped the woodwork.

However, overall the Scudetto holders looked decidedly more organised and at a more advanced level of fitness than the European Champions.

Milan 0-2 Juventus

Scorers: Del Piero 39 (J), Camoranesi 45 (J)

Milan: Dida; Cafu, Nesta, Roque Junior, Pancaro; Seedorf, Ambrosini, Pirlo (Redondo 76), Rui Costa (Brocchi 66); Inzaghi (Tomasson 62), Shevchenko (Borriello 76)

Juventus: Buffon; Thuram (Birindelli 62), Montero, Legrottaglie, Zambrotta; Camoranesi (Davids 71), Appiah (Tudor 85), Tacchinardi, Nedved; Del Piero (Miccoli 62), Trezeguet (Di Vaio 62)

Ref: Trefoloni

Kaka begins Milan career
17.8 || Seamus

New signing Kaka' has arrived in Milan and spoken about his position in the Milan set-up as a replacement for Rivaldo.

“I am very happy to be here,” said the 21-year-old as he touched down at Malpensa Airport.

“This is a dream come true and I hope to become a part of this great club’s illustrious history.”

The Brazilian prodigy completed his move on Friday evening by signing a five-year contract worth £1.4m per season.

Sao Paolo confirmed the details of the switch as Milan paid £5.3m for the international.

There are still question marks over how the youngster will slot in to the Rossoneri squad, although Coach Carlo Ancelotti compared him to Cerezo.

“It is true,” conceded Kaka’, “I do resemble him in my playing style to some degree.”

Ancelotti gave his view on what the new arrival represents for the Champions’ League holders.

“He is a great talent,” noted the tactician. “Kaka’ can play as a Trequartista behind the front two, but he can also be pushed into a deeper role.”

The Brazilian impressed during the recent Gold Cup tournament and scored a couple of screamers from distance.

There are rumours that Kaka’ has been drafted in to replace the disappointing Rivaldo, who continues to struggle with injuries.

“Kaka’ is by no means at the bottom of the pecking order,” insisted Ancelotti. “He will fight it out to deserve a place along with all the other players.”

Kaka’ will be in the stands for Sunday’s traditional Berlusconi Trophy match against Juventus, but once again Rivaldo is absent.

“Until we are 100 per cent sure that he is alright,” concluded the Coach, “there is no point risking Rivaldo.”

Maldini out for a month
17.8 || Seamus


Milan captain Paolo Maldini has been ruled out for at least four weeks with a sprained ankle.

The veteran defender fell during training on Saturday and seemed to catch his studs in the turf.

Tests were carried out on the left ankle and club doctors ruled out the possibility of a fracture.

But the sprain was nonetheless severe and will force Maldini to miss out on both tonight’s Berlusconi trophy tie with Juventus and the august 29 European Super Cup clash against Porto.

As Champions’ League winners, the Rossoneri will take on the Portuguese side that lifted the UEFA Cup last season.

This is a bitter blow for the team, as captain Maldini will also be forced to sit out the start of the Serie A season on Sept 1 against Ancona.

Brazilian Roque Junior should be given the nod to partner Alessandro Nesta in central defence.

However, as the club has been trying to sign a new player for that position all summer, there could be one final push on the transfer market.

Only this week Milan completed the signing of Sao Paolo’s Brazilian creative midfielder Kaka for £5.3m.

Milan wage war on Materazzi
13.8 || webmaster

Following a crunching tackle and pitch-side brawl at yesterday’s TIM Tournament, Milan have bitterly criticised defender Marco Materazzi.

The Inter defender scythed into Pippo Inzaghi during the closing minutes of their 1-0 win over Milan during last night’s competition.

The tackle prompted an angry reaction from Inzaghi and his teammates, sparking a brawl that carried on even after the final whistle.

“This incident is just beyond contempt,” snapped director general Ariedo Braida.

“If this player doesn’t understand he cannot continue this behaviour, then he won’t finish many matches this season.”

It is not the first time the Italian international has been at the centre of controversy with the Rossoneri.

This morning the official Milan website listed a series of the other incidents involving Materazzi and titled the section “When will it end?”

These include the Serie A derby on April 12 2003, when the defender’s high tackle kicked Andriy Shevchenko in the ribs before “the boot was so high it skimmed his eyebrow.”

The Champions’ League semi-final with Inter on May 13 also saw Materazzi “kick Manuel Rui Costa when he was on the ground.”

The final chapter, until now, was the late challenge on Inzaghi in Tuesday’s TIM Tournament.

“The victims change, but Materazzi does not,” continued Braida. “He never apologises and Milan will not accept this kind of attitude from an opponent.”

Inter have not hesitated in their response and posted a note on their official club website.

“During the same game,” read the note, “Ivan Cordoba suffered a sprained ankle following a challenge from Marco Borriello.”

“Francesco Coco also twisted the interior collateral ligament in his left knee due to Alessandro Nesta’s tackle.”

“The Inter players,” continued the statement, “did well to win this match on the field of play.”

“It is amazing that Milan’s attitude, on the field, after the match and on their official website, can be shown by a team that calls itself the Champion of Europe.”

OFFICIAL: Kaka to join AC Milan
13.8 || webmaster

The official Milan website has confirmed that Brazilian starlet Kaka will join the team next week.

“The agreement for the young talent appears to be in its closing stages,” read the statement.

“At the start of next week the player could be in Italy to sign the contract and complete a medical exam.”

The breakthrough occurred last night, when director Leonardo held talks with Kaka’s club Sao Paolo.

The Brazilian side’s President told the local press “the offer has been raised to £7m.”

21-year-old Kaka is a creative midfielder with a fierce shot from distance and recently made his name at the Gold Cup.

Also tracked by Real Madrid and Chelsea, Milan have been in negotiations for the player for several weeks.

It was thought that he would be loaned out to Paris Saint-Germain or even Parma for his first European season.

However, the official club statement suggests Kaka’ will begin his Serie A career with the Rossoneri in the 2003-04 campaign.

The continuing injury woes for Rivaldo, Andriy Shevchenko and Jon Dahl Tomasson apparently prompted this move.

Ancelotti: What goal problem?
13.8 || webmaster

Milan boss Carlo Ancelotti insists his side don’t have a scoring problem despite a lack of goals in pre-season.

The European champions have yet to win any of their four pre-season games in which they have scored just one goal.

And that was only a penalty from Andrea Pirlo against Juve in the Italian Super Cup.

"We were just unlucky in games against Barcelona and Juventus," said the tactician. "We created a lot of chances in those matches which could have easily been turned into goals."

However, Milan’s problems continued in last night’s Trofeo TIM when they lost 1-0 to firstly Juventus and then Inter.

That has led to claims that the Rossoneri could bring in Sao Paulo attacking midfielder Kaka as soon as possible.

With Rivaldo still struggling for fitness, the 21-year-old may be requested immediately by Ancelotti in order to give his side a new attacking option.

Even if it must be noted that Milan’s search for goals hasn’t been made easier with the thigh injury sustained by Andriy Shevchenko.

Inter lift TIM trophy
13.8 || webmaster

Inter have beaten both arch rivals Milan and Juventus to lift the prestigious TIM Trophy, but there was bad injury news too.

Italy’s three top teams faced off at Ancona’s Stadio Del Conero on Tuesday evening in three 45-minute matches.

The opening encounter was a typically fiery tie between Euro rivals Juve and Milan, with some fierce tackles from the very start.

The Rossoneri were without the injured Andriy Shevchenko, Rivaldo and Gennaro Gattuso, so they revived the 4-2-3-1 formation that proved successful in the early stages of the Champions’ League.

Ruben Olivera, Enzo Maresca and Pavel Nedved saw early efforts saved by Dida, while Clarence Seedorf and Pippo Inzaghi went close.

However, it was Juve who won the game 1-0 with a spectacular piledriver from Stephan Appiah.

It was an early contender for goal of the season as the Ghanaian midfielder controlled the ball with his right foot before blasting home on the half-volley with his left.

As the losers of that tie, Milan went on to face Inter in another 45-minute encounter. Summer starlet Obafemi Martins was rested, so Christian Vieri partnered Mohamed Kallon.

Fabio Cannavaro and Andy Van der Meyde returned from injury along with Luciano on the wing.

Milan changed a large portion of their squad and adapted to a 4-4-2 system for this second outing with Marco Borriello alongside Inzaghi.

It took just four minutes for Kallon to give Inter the lead, although his right-foot effort took a decisive deflection off Alessandro Nesta.

Ivan Cordoba was stretchered off with what appeared to be a sprained left ankle, while Francesco Coco also limped away with a suspected torn knee ligament just 22 minutes into his seasonal debut.

If tests confirm the initial diagnosis, then former Milan winger Coco will be out of action for several months.

The tension is always high in a local derby and a scuffle broke out between Vieri and Kakha Kaladze.

Another brawl broke out following Marco Materazzi’s very late challenge on Inzaghi and the row carried on after the final whistle.

“Unfortunately we know what Materazzi is like,” commented Carlo Ancelotti after Milan’s second consecutive 1-0 defeat. “He evidently isn’t going to change.”

The decider was between Scudetto contenders Juventus and Inter, so Hernan Crespo came on for Kallon.

The Argentine made his mark within three minutes as his glancing header put a Giovanni Pasquale corner past Gianluigi Buffon.

Crespo had also scored in the 2-1 friendly defeat to Juve in last week’s Birra Moretti Trophy.

Nedved, Mauro Camoranesi and Edgar Davids went close to an equaliser, while Marcello Lippi threw on Marco Di Vaio to boost their attacking potential.

There were few options available, as Fabrizio Miccoli and David Trezeguet are out of action.

The Scudetto winners failed to break through and Inter lifted the TIM Trophy. The players dedicated the victory to President Massimo Moratti, as this is the anniversary of legendary patron Angelo Moratti’s death.

Milan 0-1 Juventus

Scorer: Appiah 30 (J)

Inter 1-0 Milan

Scorer: Kallon 4 (I)

Juventus 0-1 Inter

Scorer: Crespo 3 (I)

Rui Costa in Milan warning
11.8 || scharatz

Manuel Rui Costa has stated that Milan - and not Italian champions Juventus - are the team to beat this season.

"Having won the Champions’ League, it is evident that we are the side that everyone will look to catch," said the Portuguese ace.

"We have a rich squad that offers a wide variety of solutions and quality. Importantly, we are all willing to make sacrifices in order to help Milan win."

The Rossoneri certainly have a competitive squad on paper with Rui Costa not even certain of a regular starting shirt with Rivaldo also at the club.

"There will be a lot of competition for places but this squad is a united one," he added. "Let’s hope we have a season like the last one."

The San Siro giants won both the European Cup and the Coppa Italia last term but lost out on the first trophy of the new season when Juventus won the Super Cup.

"We tried to not give them any reference points in attack when we faced them in New York," he added. "That is where we will win games this season.

"Our attacking movement is more important than the system of play we use. After all, we have a number of different formations which the boss can apply."

Rossoneri join race for Puyol
10.8 || scharatz

Milan face a battle with Manchester United in order to sign Barcelona defender Carles Puyol.

The Spanish club announced it was willing to listen to offers for all their players in order to help cut their £116m debt.

“Nothing is impossible,” explained President Joan Laporta, “and if the right price is met then we will of course consider it.”

25-year-old Puyol is the captain at Barcelona, but earlier this month admitted he would relish a Serie A experience.

“If Milan or Juventus were to call me then I would come running,” he had stated in a press conference.

Manchester United have the upper hand thanks to the sales of David Beckham and Juan Sebastian Veron.

The Rossoneri are currently embroiled in fraught negotiations for Sao Paolo’s Brazilian starlet Kaka, but could drop that matter and aim for Puyol if the situation is not resolved on Monday.

It’s reported that Milan would offer World Cup winning defender Roque Junior as part of their proposal to Barcelona.

Kaka ready for Milan move
9.8 || scharatz

Brazilian starlet Kaka admits he is hours away from completing his move to the San Siro.

As we reported on Friday, Milan agreed a £7m fee payable over two years to his current club Sao Paolo.

“Until the papers are all signed, sealed and delivered I don’t want to say anything,” the player told the ‘Gazzetta dello Sport’.

“But I do realise that the fans in Italy are anxious for the matter to be resolved. I really hope it goes smoothly, as it would be a turning point in my career.”

The 21-year-old international will put pen to paper on a five-year contract worth in the region of £1m per season, but the move will only be made official on Monday.

“To wear the Milan shirt would be simply fantastic,” continued Kaka, full name Ricardo Izecsson Santos Leite.

“It would make me so proud to play alongside legends of the game, including Rivaldo, Andriy Shevchenko and Paolo Maldini.”

The Rossoneri saw off competition from Inter, Chelsea and Real Madrid for the talented creative midfielder.

Kaka shone in the recent Gold Cup for Brazil, although it is possible Milan will loan him out to Paris Saint-Germain for his first European season.

Parma in Laursen link
6.8 || scharatz

Parma boss Cesare Prandelli is believed to have asked his club to sign Milan stopper Martin Laursen.

The Gialloblu are relatively inexperienced at the back and Prandelli wants the Danish stopper in his squad.

The European Champions have constantly stated that the defender is not for sale but the player is keen on regular first team football.

Laursen only played in 10 League games last term as he is considered as a back-up player at the San Siro.

Prandelli already worked with the World Cup player at Verona some years ago and is well aware of his quality.

Laursen has in fact already been signed by the Gialloblu in the past. He was brought in the summer of 2001 but instantly moved onto the Rossoneri.

Italian Super Cup Review: AC Milan 0-0 (1-1) [3-5] Juventus
3.8 || webmaster

Juventus gained revenge for Old Trafford by beating Milan to the Super Cup in a penalty shoot-out.

A chaotic extra time and a series of splendid chances for both sides were not enough to separate the teams and, like the European encounter in May, it went to a penalty shoot-out.

The title winners took on the Coppa Italia holders in New York’s Giants Stadium in what was effectively a replay of the Champions’ League Final.

Pavel Nedved recovered from a knock he picked up during this week’s friendly defeat to Manchester United and was able to start the match.

Lilian Thuram, Marcelo Zalayeta, Rivaldo and Jon Dahl Tomasson were out injured, but overall the two teams could field their first choice eleven.

Juventus were out for revenge after losing the Champions’ League Final on penalties back in May, while Milan wanted to prove they deserved that trophy.

Marcos Cafu made his official debut for the Rossoneri as a right-back, while Juve fielded a very attacking formation with Fabrizio Miccoli, Alessandro Del Piero and David Trezeguet.

There were fierce early efforts from Del Piero and Manuel Rui Costa, while Pippo Inzaghi failed to make the most of crosses from Cafu and Andriy Shevchenko.

Miccoli almost opened the scoring in spectacular fashion with a low free kick that shaved the far upright.

Christian Abbiati made a surprise start in goal and performed two desperate one-handed saves on Trezeguet free headers, both created by Alessandro Birindelli.

Gianluigi Buffon was also tested by a splendid Andrea Pirlo free kick from 20 metres, but he flew across the face of goal to palm it out.

There was bad news for the Rossoneri just before the break when Gennaro Gattuso limped off with a muscular problem.

Buffon was again called to tip Inzaghi’s drive over the bar at the dawn of the second half following some excellent approach play by Kakha Kaladze and Inzaghi.

A similar move soon after was intercepted by some tricky defending as Shevchenko prepared to pounce from eight yards.

Inzaghi attempted a cheeky finish from a very tight angle, but the ball could only land on the roof of the net.

Rui Costa is yet to score a goal for Milan, but he almost netted an historic strike from 23 metres with a dipping effort that Buffon palmed over.

The Rossoneri continued to pile on the pressure, as from the resulting corner Inzaghi’s deflection clipped the crossbar.

Juve threw on Mauro Camoranesi and Marco Di Vaio for the final half-hour, and the ex-Parma player certainly made an impact.

Di Vaio went even closer soon after with a looping header that shaved an empty net, while Abbiati battled to keep him off a Camoranesi through ball.

Thirteen minutes from time Nedved cut through the Milan defence and looked ready to pull it back for Trezeguet, but his angled drive was just wide of the far post.

The final minutes were tired for both teams, but the Rossoneri threatened and forced Buffon to turn a powerful Christian Brocchi effort round the upright.

A brilliantly worked free kick by Pirlo gave Inzaghi a great chance in the final minute, but he couldn’t squeeze it between Buffon and the post.

Neither side could break the deadlock despite some fine chances and great saves, so the Final went to extra time and the Silver Goal.

Within seconds of the restart Alessandro Nesta was forced into a crucial last ditch tackle on Trezeguet.

There was controversy moments later when Juventus were inches away from scoring. Gianluca Zambrotta’s fantastic volley from the edge of the box ricocheted off the underside of the bar and out again, but replays showed the ball had not crossed the line.

Milan were also dangerous as two Pirlo efforts went just over the crossbar and Buffon flew to palm out a Serginho header with a splendid reflex save.

In the final minute of the first half of extra time referee Pierluigi Collina pointed to the spot for a very controversial penalty.

Ambrosini fell under pressure from Nicola Legrottaglie, but there was chaos in the box as the corner was floated in.

Nonetheless, Pirlo stepped up to chip the cheekiest of penalties over Buffon and spark the Milan party.

However, the Silver Goal was not enough, as ten seconds later Juventus drew level in equally chaotic circumstances.

Abbiati reacted well to a Legrottaglie header by the back post, but could do nothing on Trezeguet’s close-range follow-up.

The game went to the full 120 minutes, but unlike the Old Trafford clash, both sides have hit the back of the net.

Abbiati was again called to turn a Camoranesi drive round the near post as both teams poured forward to win.

There was further controversy when Inzaghi fell under a challenge from behind, but Collina waved play on this time.

Moments later Inzaghi tapped in a deflected effort from Serginho, but the Italian international was standing in an offside position and the goal was disallowed.

Just as with the European Cup Final, the battle between Milan and Juventus went to a penalty shoot-out.

Dida was the hero back in May, but it was Christian Abbiati who stood between the posts for Milan this time.

Substitute Christian Brocchi was the first to fail from the spot and saw his effort well saved by Buffon.

Juventus had a 100 per cent record with Ciro Ferrara’s winner and can lift the Italian Super Cup for the fourth time in their history.


Juve: Di Vaio (scored), Trezeguet (scored), Birindelli (scored), Camoranesi (scored), Ferrara (scored)

Milan: Pirlo (scored), Serginho (scored), Brocchi (saved), Nesta (scored)

Milan 1-1 Juventus (aet, 4-6 on pens)

Scorers: Pirlo pen 105 (M), Trezeguet 106 (J)

Milan: Abbiati; Cafu, Nesta, Maldini, Kaladze; Gattuso (Ambrosini 45), Pirlo, Rui Costa (Brocchi 81), Seedorf (Serginho 76); Shevchenko, Inzaghi

Juventus: Buffon; Birindelli, Legrottaglie, Iuliano (Ferrara 108), Zambrotta; Tacchinardi, Appiah; Miccoli (Camoranesi 54), Nedved, Del Piero (Di Vaio 66); Trezeguet

Ref: Collina

Italian Super Cup Preview: AC Milan v Juventus
3.8 || scharatz

Scudetto holders Juventus will very much have revenge on their mind when they take on European Champions AC Milan in New York on Sunday.

The Bianconeri will be hell-bent on avenging their crushing penalty loss at the hands of Milan during the Champions League final last May and -as if that were not enough- they will also be looking to put the shame of their recent 4-1 friendly defeat at the hands of Manchester United behind them.

"It will be an important opportunity for revenge," acknowledged Marcelo Lippi. "We do not feel inferior to Milan and can give a wonderful present to our fans."

"We will be thinking of that night in Manchester, but also of our president," continued the coach in reference to the dearly departed Vittorio Chiusano, who succumbed to a heart attack earlier this week. He has subsequently been replaced at the helm by Franzo Grande Stevens.

It goes without saying that in order to honour their president's death Juve will have to perform far better than they did during the humiliating defeat against Manchester United last week.

Although Lippi accepted that his team were still weeks behind the English champions in terms of fitness, he still had plenty of reason to feel disgusted by his team's awful showing.

"When you play against a team like United it's always possible that you'll lose, but I really disliked our attitude," he scathed after the game. "

"The players were working for themselves and not the whole team. That was in evidence when we lost the ball and often did not look bothered to try and win it back."

Two players that probably won't get a chance to make amends are Pavel Nedved and Fabrizio Miccoli, who are both struggling to shake off knee injuries. The Czech international will be especially determined to be back in time as he, of course, was forced to sit out the Champions League final through suspension.

Rossoneri boss Carlo Ancelotti, in contrast, will be able to field his first-choice starting XI on Sunday, which will probably include Brazilian newcomer Cafu at right-back. Rivaldo and Tomasson are unavailable through injury, however.

Sheva ready to write history
3.8 || scharatz

Andriy Shevchenko wants to put Milan on the map, starting with tonight’s historic Super Cup Final against Juventus.

“Manchester was wonderful,” he said of the Champions’ League Final in May, “but that is in the past. We want to write Milan into the history books all over again.”

The two teams have clashed in Serie A, Europe and now for the first trophy of the Italian 2003-04 campaign.

Shevchenko is eager to rain on Juve’s parade once again after his penalty proved decisive in May’s European shoot-out.

“We need a good start to this encounter,” continued the Ukrainian. “I think it will be a bubbly match and even if it is early into our pre-season training, we will be ready.”

The Rossoneri have only played one friendly match this summer, a 2-0 defeat with Barcelona, and are without Rivaldo and Jon Dahl Tomasson.

Nonetheless, Gennaro Gattuso believes it is pure skill that will win Milan the trophy in New York.

“Juventus are tough customers,” said the midfielder, “but we have greater technique. We’re not done lifting trophies yet.”

Milan did the double last season with the Champions’ League and Coppa Italia, while they can now aim for six trophies this year.

“Our main objectives right now are the Intercontinental Cup and the Scudetto,” assured Gattuso.

Nedved to miss Milan clash again?
2.8 || webmaster

A knee injury could force Pavel Nedved to miss Sunday’s Italian Super Cup Final in New York.

The Juventus hero received a knock during the 4-1 defeat to Manchester United earlier this week and is in doubt for tomorrow’s encounter.

“It was a real game,” assured Nedved, “and that means there were tough tackles. It would be a shame to miss this match as well.”

The Czech international was also forced to sit out the Champions’ League Final against Milan due to a ban, but there is some hope he will recover within 24 hours.

“If the knee does not swell up overnight then I could possibly step on to the field,” assured Nedved.

The Giants Stadium will play host to the match between the Scudetto winners and Coppa Italia holders.

Milan renew Kaka bid
2.8 || webmaster

Reports suggest the Rossoneri will meet with San Paolo representatives after Sunday’s Italian Super Cup Final.

Brazilian prodigy Kaka’ has been a primary target for several months now, but his recent performances in the Gold Cup have convinced Milan he is ready for Europe.

His club San Paolo rejected a bid of £4.6m earlier this week and their President claimed, “double that figure and we can begin negotiations.”

However, it’s believed that was a bluff and the new offer of £6m will be enough to seal a deal.

Milan representatives Leonardo and Ariedo Braida will meet with San Paolo director of sport Juvenal Juvenicio on Sunday evening.

The setting will be New York’s Giants Stadium, where the Rossoneri are set to face Juventus in the Italian Supercup Final.

Another crucial step has been taken by Kaka’s agent Wagner Ribeiro, who this weekend will inform San Paolo their contract will not be renewed.

As it expires in January 2005, it would be in the club’s interest to rush through a sale with Milan.

However, the 21-year-old looks likely to be loaned out to another European side before making the trip to the San Siro.

At first Paris Saint-Germain were suggested, but the new option is Lazio as a sweetener to loosen their grip on Milan target Jaap Stam.

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