Straight from the dark heart of Italy
Don't expect to see Adriano Galliani on the phone too often this evening when AC Milan host Parma. Certainly not compared to on Sunday down in Lecce, when he took full advantage of his free weekend minutes.
With the champions somehow – and no one really knows how – 3-0 down after 37 minutes to a team that look nailed-on relegation candidates, Silvio Berlusconi’s chief problem-solver was seen fervently whispering into his mobile.
In truth, he had been on the blower after every home goal, some of which were suspect: the second was a questionable penalty, and the build-up to the third involved what looked like a foul on Luca Antonini.
After Milan scored four unanswered second-half goals, the conspiracy theorists (i.e. Inter and Juventus fans) quickly asked asking who Galliani had been chatting to so animatedly, with his hand hidden over the mouthpiece for added affect.
Some wags suggested that it was to the Massimo Oddo’s agent with the promise that a new contract was waiting for his client if the full-back, who is on loan down in Salento and had taken great glee in scoring from the spot, had a few words in the dressing room during the interval.
It was all good Milanese bar banter on a Monday morning and in fact those of a Rossoneri persuasion had the good grace not to rub it in – remembering of course that they had been on the receiving end of a similar comeback against Liverpool in the Champions League.
Their saviour came from the bench. Kevin-Prince Boateng had time to stretch his legs and relax during the first 45 while his team-mates gave a good impression of the Walking Dead; given the nod at half-time, the Prince of body-inking was well pumped up.
And how he relished all that open space (or perhaps Lecce failing to notice he was on the pitch), sweeping home two thunderous shots totally unhindered as the home players settled down to an languid lunch break inside their own penalty area.
The Ghana international completed his hat-trick before Antonio Cassano was left with all the time in the world to pick out Mario Yepes for the winner.
Some comeback, but given how Lecce strolled in the second-half sunshine the result hardly compares with Genoa’s stirring four-goal comeback against AS Roma last season which cost Claudio Ranieri his job.
You wouldn't expect to see Lecce in a position to throw away a three-goal lead against anyone, let alone the champions. Whatever the manner of the outcome, the result propelled Milan back to the top of the betting to retain the title.
That's where Massimiliano Allegri feels his side are most comfortable, with the rest of the league showing them due respect – and no doubt Parma will be as obliging as Lecce.
A good dose of reverence is what Juventus used to receive from opponents and although the Old Lady may have acquired a beautiful new stadium – and it is indeed a wonderful piece of architecture – on-field performances had still looked as confused as she did last season.
TRAVEL Our guide to Juventus (and Turin, Italy, etc)
Draws at home to Bologna and Genoa had, however, not dampened enthusiasm amongst the fans to enjoy the spectacle of a first-rate, modern stadium and Antonio Conte’s side finally turned it on against Fiorentina last night much in the way they had done against Milan last month.
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