Georgia 0-2 Italy: Kaladze Double Saves Lippi’s Blushes


Italy continue to delude but were offered a double hand from Milan’s Kakha Kaladze who produced two own goals to dash a spirited Georgian display.

Italy took another step towards World Cup qualification with victory in Tbilisi, but there are still numerous question marks hanging over the Azzurri. In a very unconvincing first period, the Italians looked extremely sluggish and were matched in every department by their far inferior opposition.

With two own goals within the space of ten minutes, Lippi’s side were virtually handed the victory as Georgian hearts were dashed by a cruel sequence of events. Despite little fight back from the home side, the Italians ended the game in a ragged manner and were far from convincing in the closing stages.

Georgia came storming out the blocks as they looked to demonstrate their worth in front of a packed out Boris Paichadze stadium in Tbilisi. Marcello Lippi’s were finding extreme difficulty on the slippery surface as Hector Cuper’s men pressed the ball with an incredible intensity.

On 14 minutes the Azzurri went close when Vincenzo Iaquinta put Giuseppe Rossi in on goal with a wonderful through pass. Unfortunately for the Italians the Villarreal forward was second to the ball when Georgi Lomaia came storming off his line, and the Georgia keeper did well to scramble clear the danger.

Italy seemed to have found their bearings after the opening 15 minutes and Lippi’s men started to open up the home side with some slick passing football.

As the half wore on the Azzurri slowly began to find some joy down the left as Domenico Criscito looked to get behind the Georgian defence. With little creativity in midfield however, the World Cup holders failed to create any clear openings for Iaquinta and Rossi in attack.

With Italy struggling to dominate the middle of the park, Lippi looked to influence his team from the touchline as he informed Pirlo to push further up the field.

As the sides left the field for some well deserved refreshments, it had proven yet again another frustrating first half display from the Azzurri, as the calls for some ‘Fantantonio’ creativity grew ever stronger.

The visitors emerged for the second period with unchanged line-up and Lippi was almost made to pay when the Georgians went extremely close from a set-piece two minutes after the re-start.

On 51 minutes the Italians should have taken the lead when Iaquinta found himself behind enemy lines inside the Georgian box. The Juventus hitman looked to turn and offload to Marchionni, but he was soon dispossessed by Lornaia.

The game suddenly sprung into life as the home side started to become a little more ragged at the back. On 56 minutes the Azzurri broke the deadlock when Angelo Palombo’s hit and hope was headed home by Kakha Kaladze. The Milan stopper was extremely unlucky as he guided the ball past a helpless Lomaia.

Shortly after taking an undeserved lead coach Lippi opted to through on Fabio Quagliarella and Gaetano D’Agostino to give the Azzurri some added bite going forward. The double switch seemed to have an impact as the Georgians failed to contain the visitors as they had done in the first period.

On 66 minutes the Italians doubled their lead with another gift from the Georgian captain. Following an early cross from Criscito, Kaladze took a foolish swipe at the ball and guided the ball into the back of the net for his second own goal of the night.

As the game drew to a close the home side continued to push forward but it just wasn’t to be as they failed to ripple the Italian net.

Lippi’s men closed out the game in unconvincing fashion but will return home with all three points and a commanding position at the top of Group 8.


~ by footballdirecta on September 5, 2009.

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