Padova v Portosummaga, Serie C Cup
Another “good news, bad news” sort of day for my team. We won our second Serie C cup match on the spin but we lost another left-sided midfielder.
Varricchio was the man of the moment for us, scoring a brace as we won with some style against the part-timers from the northeast.
We should have put up a performance tonight and we did – thirteen attempts to eight even if they had more on target than us by a 5-4 margin. But again, Orlandoni was excellent in goal even if they didn’t have a truly good scoring opportunity, and Varricchio made the most of his opportunity to start.
Yet now I am worried about Gentile, who twisted an ankle tonight and will miss a fortnight. With Gentile gone that gave Vedin Music a chance to play and he has something to prove.
Before the match tonight, Vedin was told he is no longer in Bosnia’s international plans and he was pretty upset. It’s difficult to play for most national sides when your club team is in its country’s third division, and the fact that he’s third in my pecking order hasn’t helped him either.
Yet, I can help Vedin. He can help himself, too, by playing well now that he has this chance. He does not possess the skill set of Di Venanzio or Gentile, but he showed me great industry on the left flank tonight and I am very happy about that. In short, he worked his ass off and that’s the kind of play most managers will notice. He earned another look, and that is sure to buck up his ideas.
What pleased me was that we came out and took this match by the throat. Varricchio started us off just ninety seconds into the match, volleying gleefully past Sergio Marcon from fifteen yards in a snazzy little strike that got us off to a flying start.
Again, our crowd wasn’t big – just 2,765 showed up at Euganeo for the cup tie – but most of them were happy at the quality of our start. About 300 traveling fans made the trip from Portoguara for the match and we were determined to get them on the back foot right along with their players.
Thankfully, we did. Our midfield play was much better than Sunday night and it should have been, considering the comparative quality of our opposition. We were the better side tonight at home and frankly Venezia was a better team than we were on Sunday playing on their home pitch.
As solid as we were positionally, that unfortunately did not translate into offensive fluency. It may not for awhile yet, as we learn the tactic and most importantly its nuances. We are still not reaching the level of understanding I want us to reach, and a fair portion of that is understandable. The players, many of whom are new, have to learn each other, and I have to settle on as close to a regular eleven as I can. I prefer to get lots of people into matches to keep legs fresh, but at this level I can’t afford the size squad I’d need to play a purely rotational policy.
That is part of the challenge too, of course, and since we have to play three matches in the first eight days of our season including Sunday’s Serie C opening match against Lecco, it means if a player is competent, he’s going to get to play this week.
But Music really showed me something. He’s desperate to play, he has a good attitude and waited for his chance, and I need to reward that, now that he’s shown me his desire to play.
Half the battle in this game is finding players who want to wear the shirt. The game is full of players who feel they deserve to wear the shirt, but the ones who are going to run through walls for you are the players you need to keep. Vedin is happy to work hard and he has been patient to get his chance. Now, he’s got it.
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Massimiliano was quite good as well. His second goal, right on the stroke of seventy minutes, flew past the despairing Marcon and really showed there wasn’t going to be a way back for Porto.
Finding the correct strike combination is going to be a test for me. Muzzi is the most talented player on the squad despite his 36 years of age so he needs to play, and the trick will be to find a pacier player for him to work with.
Roberto still has a decent turn of speed but at his age he’s not as fleet of foot as he used to be. In fact, I don’t know of too many players who get faster as they get older. Varricchio staked his claim today but Paponi is waiting for a chance and I’d love to get his talent into the eleven in some way. I loaned him for a reason.
Varricchio was in high spirits after the match, as you might expect, and I got to congratulate the squad on a professional job well done. I would have preferred a wider margin but then I would have preferred a greater dominance in scoring chances as well. First things first. We played reasonably well but we didn’t dominate, which we need to do against a club of lower caliber.
Padova 2-0 Portosummaga
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