Friday, August 8, 2008

Olimpic Walkover - Honduras Beaten 3-0

Casiraghi's Under-23 side start the Games with an easy win, thanks to a wonderful goal from Giovinco and penalties from Rossi and Acquafresca. The Central American side missed a chance from the spot: Pavon sent his penalty over the bar. QINHUANGDAO (China) 7 August 2008 - Italy dominated the game with three goals of which two were penalties (though the second was rather generous) and had at least another three clear-cut chances. Between 10' and 40' there was a quiet spell, before the game really opened up; but even without the only over-age player Tommaso Rocchi, left out at the last minute thanks to a light injury, Italy have made a good start to the Olympics. This victory against Honduras is a starting point for Sunday's game against South Korea, with the aim of facing Cameroon - the group's strongest opponent, at least on paper - with the maximum possible points. The temperature was 23° with an almost intolerable 98% humidity: wrapping up the result early in the match enabled the Azzurri to save their energy, which is important.

THE MATCH - The game was settled in a brief spell between the 41' and 44' minutes, thanks to goals from Giovinco and Rossi. The Juventino made the most of the first real space he had been offered by the Honduras defence, beating Hernandez with a perfect left-footed shot into the top corner from some 20 metres out. Then after a quiet opening spell the young Villarreal star doubled the lead just before half time with an immaculate penalty won by Acquafresca for a hand-ball by Arzu. Cagliari forward Acquafresca was handed a starting place only at the last minute when Rocchi - suffering from a bruise on his left calf, which had seemed very trivial yesterday - showed in the pre-match warm-up that he was not feeling 100%. And the youngster had a great chance as early as the third minute, wasting a one-on-one with keeper Hernandez after Nocerino had put him through on goal. Again after 10' Italy went very close to scoring with a right-footed shot from Montolivo, just tipped over the bar, but perhaps due to the humidity Italy then lost some of their freshness and their dominance of the game. While Honduras looked dangerous on the flanks with good efforts form Martinez and Padilla, they only managed one shot on target, from Rodas on 15', which was easily saved by Viviano. In the second half, Acquafresca won a second penalty, and took it himself to put the result beyond doubt.

Thereafter very little happened: Italy were able to sit back and control the game, preserving their strength for the future while Casiraghi carried out some changes. The counter-attacking Abate came on to give Rossi a break, and then once Bocchetti had been forced off with cramp and replaced by Coda, Giovinco was taken off amid applause from the whole crowd, and Marchisio came on in his place. In the closing minutes Honduras tried in vain for a consolation goal but Pavon sent his spot-kick high over the bar.

Text Source: By Andrea Elefante,
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