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Wednesday September 18 2013
You need a bit of luck...

They say you need luck to win in the Champions League, so Susy Campanale saw Milan and Napoli make the most of theirs.

“You need a little bit of luck to win in the Champions League,” says every single Coach in the tournament at one time or another. “The strongest team doesn’t always win.” This week we saw Lady Luck turn her back on Juventus to embrace Milan and Napoli. Ultimately, that was the real difference between the sides.

Italians don’t start strong in Europe, as everybody knows, so there was always going to be the risk of upsets early doors. Few would’ve bet on Juve being the only side without a victory in Matchday 1, as their trip to Copenhagen appeared considerably simpler than taking on Borussia Dortmund or Celtic. Instead it was a mirror image of last season’s 1-1 draw with Nordsjaelland, dominating and firing from all angles while unable to get the victory. There’s something rotten in the State of Denmark – and it’s Juve’s luck. And their aim...

Milan, on the other hand, continue to scrape results they barely deserve. Whatever disastrous run of luck they have in terms of injuries, at least incidents on the field balance them out. Whether it’s a last-gasp penalty or a freakish deflection, the Rossoneri always seem to find a way to snatch a result from the jaws of defeat almost by accident. Neil Lennon complained that Celtic were “the better team for long periods,” but they must take the blame for their inability to score from set plays against a Milan side notoriously abysmal in that area.

Napoli had some good fortune too, but at least they worked to push it in their direction. If Roman Weidenfeller hadn’t handled outside the penalty area, Gonzalo Higuain would’ve scored a second goal anyway, so the red card was only a trade-off. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang hitting the bar was good luck, but so was Borussia getting one back when Juan Camilo Zuniga decided to do a scorpion kick into his own net. What we can all agree on is that Lorenzo Insigne’s free kick needed no fortune to help it in, as this was an absolutely divine finish. Of all the changes Rafa Benitez has brought to the Partenopei, perhaps the greatest contribution is putting his faith in Insigne after months of Walter Mazzarri giving the pint-sized home-grown starlet only snippets of games.

So we’re back into the Champions League and start out with two wins and a draw for the Italians. That’ll do nicely.

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Have your say...
@Obita
I don't know how long you have been watching Serie A, but along with AC Milan, Juve have always represented Italy well in Europe. Last season Juve went further than any other Italian side in the CL, and from the late 80s to today have reached the CL final many times. Granted Juve could have won more CL titles but as the blog's headline reads you need a bit of luck... While i support all Italian sides in Europe, on a personal level i have lost a lot of respect for Napoli, Udinese and a few others who have given up on the Europa League when in fact one of the biggest reasons why we are down a CL spot is because Italian clubs have generally underperformed in the Europa League.
on the 20th September, 2013 at 8:52am
In my opinion, Juve's 3-5-2 just does not suit Europe. It is far too rigid and their lack of players with a bit guile, pace or the ability to run past players is exposed. Napoli's 3-5-2 in the champions league was far more fluid and effective two years ago. The only game I can remember Juve truly playing well in since being back in the champions league is Chelsea at home. They would be better off buying a top class trequartista and playing Tevez up on his own with runners in behind.
on the 19th September, 2013 at 9:16am
Milan needed a lot of luck to bring home this win. Reading the comments from the players and Allegri leaves me miffed as to what match they were playing? "We worked hard to win back possession"? How does this work when they spent most of the game not pressing anything or anyone! Napoli on the other hand played for the win and are a credit to Italian football. Fun to watch, entertaining and went and got the result they believed in!
on the 19th September, 2013 at 9:11am
Good match day for Serie A. Juventus keep under-representing Italy - Kings in Italy but dwarfs in Europe. Something gotta be done about this if Serie A is to regain the 4th CL slot. Juve must start playing responsibly in Europe. Napoli are finally protagonists in Europe. Milan had always carried the Italian flag in Europe with elegance and pride until Allegri arrived from Livorno via Cagliari. A team should play to the philosophy of the coach but this is not Milan's case.
on the 19th September, 2013 at 9:04am
Allegri's lack of tactical awareness when it comes to counter-attacks is frightening. Another glorious night for this Milan side. I suppose the PSV game was the highlight of our season so far. Nothing more to say (for once).
on the 19th September, 2013 at 8:40am
Juve, bery unlucky!!!
on the 19th September, 2013 at 7:45am
I am glad the italian teams got off to a good start but am still in disbelief at our draw.Napoli deserved the win and are playing super football juve need to become even more deadly infront of goal and milan keep getting a bit lucky, best of luck to all of us FORZA SERIE A
on the 19th September, 2013 at 6:37am
I agree completely, Vincenzo. Wouldn't it be great if anyone at any of the footy sights could give Napoli even a little bit of credit. Going into the group of death, Dortmund were (and still are) one of the most difficult teams to face, yet because it wasn't Napoli who came out winners, it was luck. I will not be surprised if on the day Napoli next win the Scudetto, the cover page of F-I will be about how Milan scraped by some middling team at the weekend...
on the 19th September, 2013 at 4:42am
Forza Napule!!
on the 19th September, 2013 at 12:56am
I don't think Napoli's win was down to luck at all. They faced much tougher opponents than both Juve and Milan and were the dominant team before and after the red card. They deserve the highest praise and will go far in Champions league as well as really challenging for the Serie A title. Juve wasted all their chances and looked invisible in attack for the entire first half. Milan was as they usually are.
on the 18th September, 2013 at 11:40pm

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