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Old 09-05-2014, 11:35 PM   #540
College Benchwarmer
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: St. Catharines, Canada
Wed. October 23, 2024

UEFA Champions League - Group C
Dover (2-0-0, 6 points, 1st) vs. Palermo (1-0-1, 3 points, 3rd)
Crabble Athletic Ground, Dover, UK

Betting Odds: Dover: 5-4 (Favourites) Draw: 11-5 Palermo: 7-4
Past Meetings: 1W 1D 0L

We played Palermo in group play last year as well, going 1-1-0 against them on our way to finishing first in the pod. They are a very consistent club, finishing last year with one more point than the year previous and maintaining their hold on 3rd place in Serie A. They last won their league in 2016/17 and are three-time Europa League champions, winning in 2023. Striker Robin Franz has led the club in scoring over the past two years and again is in the lead with 7 goals from 12 matches. He’s healthy today and will likely be a starter. They brought in an INCREDIBLE 25 players during the last 12 months, including buying Helder Cruz from us for 9.5 million. Their big purchase during the most recent window was Udinese star defender Juan Manuel Gutierrez, one of the great centre halfbacks in the game, for a whopping 22 million.

Zoltan Bardi is back to full training but in absolutely no shape to even suit up today. With only two healthy strikers and deep backup Paolo Secchi ineligible for this stage of the competition, I have to be conservative and play a one striker formation today. We’re gambling a bit in placing newcomer Benedikt Raab at AMC today, a position he is just starting to train for. I hope his skill overcomes his ineffectiveness at the position at the moment. That said, I’m also starting Andrea Rocca today at central midfield and he IS capable of playing in the #10 role - I just like Raab’s dynamism and want to see what he can do - if he doesn’t adapt early, I can always drop him back and move Rocca into the #10. Neil Cairney, who has been very pedestrian for us thus far, sits on the bench today. Our other starters are all playing today, including Arsene Bamba, captain Salim Loucif and DC Claudio Contreras.

Dover: 4-4-2 DM (4-2-3-1) Control
GK - M. Perez
D - Renato Gaucho, C. Contreras, R. Hamon, S. Loucif
M - Jose, A. Rocca
AM - A. Bamba, B. Raab, G. Bolis
S - Chiquinho
Bench - Rafinha, S. Nasri, E. Harvey, N. Cairney, L. Kunchev, M. Pedersen, A. Broomes

Palermo are in a 3-4-1-2 formation, a rare sighting, with Rodrigo Bovo playing AMC behind Franz and fellow striker Albert Falix. Pierpaolo Bartoli is in goal - I remember him on Newcastle in past seasons and also in a game last year against us with Palermo where he was sensational. No overconfidence today thankfully. I tell the lads to play well for the home supporters.

32’ - My assistant notes that Raab is “playing nervously” and that’s likely due to the fact he’s playing out of position. I move him back to his natural central midfield position and move Andrea Rocca up into the AMC slot.

HALFTIME - Lots of action for a scoreless game so far, as we hold 54% of possession and a 13-11 (4-5 on target) shot advantage. This one striker formation isn’t working against their 3-4-1-2 so I introduce Andy Broomes for the second half and take out Andrea Rocca, moving us to a flat 4-4-2.

Of course, we make a change and Palermo follow suit, moving to a flat 4-4-2 as well. Interesting.

66’ - Boy, we are just PILING ON PRESSURE but can’t score. Bartoli has made about four incredible diving saves in the last ten minutes alone.

79’ - Bamba took a bit of a knock so I bring in Mads Pedersen.

85’ - Our last change sees the yellow carded Raab come out for Emmerson Harvey.

90’ - Sigh. Andy Broomes gets a breakaway and Jonas Ramalho brings him down just BEFORE he hits the penalty area. Ramalho is given the straight red card and Palermo are down to ten men. We needed the penalty shot but missed by a few feet. PALERMO RED CARD - Jonas Ramalho

We have four minutes with an extra man and can do nothing with it. Bartoli was sensational in goal for them but another disappointing offensive performance from our team.

Dover 0 - 0 Palermo
Goals -
Assists -
Man of the Match - Pierpaolo Bartoli (Palermo GK - 9.4)
Other Dover Notables - Manuel Perez (7.0), Salim Loucif (7.2), Rayane Hamon (7.3), Claudio Contreras (7.1), Renato Gaucho (7.0)
Attendance - 23,000 (Sell-Out)

Well, we were the better team but their keeper just was awesome and deservedly gets man of the match honours. We outshoot them 28-12 (10-5 on target) and hold 53% of possession but again, our scoring is way down without the sensational Paul Moses.

-- We earn 348,000 for the draw.

-- Real Madrid embarrass Shefiff 8-0 in other Champions League play. Ouch! In other Group C play, Hibernian hold Hoffenheim to a draw to gain their first point in the Group Stage. We still lead the group by three points.

-- We get a note that gate receipts for the Palermo game totalled 775,000, a new team record for a match, breaking the old mark by 50k, set in last year’s quarterfinal against Ajax.

Dover U18 Update

-- Neil Evans continues his fine play with two goals as we cruise again in U18 play with a 6-0 win over Oxford. Robert Hoffmann, Freddie Laird and Alberto Velazquez also score and we also benefit from an Oxford own goal. Unheralded midfielders Joshua Stokes and Dominic Beard both nab two assists.

Premier League Update

-- We have a Sunday matinee this weekend so we watch as Newcastle, Man City, Man United and Middlesbrough all win to continue to push ahead of us. Boy, things are tough this year…

Next Up

-- We head to Liverpool to take on the struggling Reds in Premier League play.

Last edited by NoSkillz : 09-05-2014 at 11:37 PM.
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