VIVA World Cup: Padania through to semi-finals

Padania secured a place in the semi-final of the fourth edition of the VIVA World Cup with a hard-earned win over Occitania. This was Padania’s second win in Group I who therefore end the group stage with maximum points.

The current holders of the the VIVA World Cup changed a number of players from the initial line-up of the first match. They had a disappointing first half where Occitania’s fast players created pressure on Padania’s rearguard. However, the French side rarely created danger to the Padania goalkeeper, but ironically it was Padania’s striker Matteo Prandelli, match winner of the opening encounter, who could have opened the score during the first half. With this result, Occitania’s next match against Gozo on Wednesday will be a decider for the runner-up position of the group and therefore the second team to qualify for the semi final.

In the early stages, Padania’s Matteo Prandelli was denied from scoring an early goal by a fine save by Occitania’s goalie Jimmy Leban. On 10 minutes Occitania were dangerous through a free kick by Marc Ballue that was well saved by goalie Aessandro Paoletti. Two minutes later, De Scahy headed just wide a cross by Bellue and Padania replied on 17 minutes with a Prandelli header ending over the crossbar following a fine cross by Gervasoni. Eight minutes from the end of the first half, Prandelli won a ball in the area but his close-ranged attempt was blocked in corner by Hernandez. Prandelli was again dangerous four minutes from half time but the striker concluded incredibly high when he came face to face with the goalkeeper.

After the resumption, Padania came out in a better shape. They improved their manoeuvre while Occitania lost much of their sharpness and were much less dangerous in their opponent’s half. On 54 minutes, Casse lost a good scoring opportunity but he concluded weak from close distance a free kick from the right flank. Nine minutes later, substitute Roberto Cortinovis had an angled shot that ended on top of the net.

Padania scored the goal that decided the issue two minutes later. It was Simone Ghezzi who netted past goalie Jimmy Leban with an overhead kick following a cross by Fabian Valtolina.

Occitania took some time to recover and probably left their reaction when it became too late. The French went very close to level the score eight minute from time through a fine strike by Eric Gamet that was partially blocked by goalie Paoletta. The same goalkeeper neutralised Sebastien Taillan’s angled shot from the rebound. Padania’s goalkeeper ended up the protagonist for his side when he denied the same Taillan from scoring a dramatic equaliser in the third minute of stoppage time.

PADANIA A. Paoletti, E. Pedersoli, S. Baronchelli, S. Tignonsini, F. Calandrelli, S. Gervasoni (L. Mosti), A. Rota, M. Ravetto (S. Ghezzi), V. Chiarotto (F. Valtolina), A. Casse (M. Ganz), M. Prandelli (R. Cortinovis).

OCCITANIA J. Leban, A. Bachmann, M. Ballue (K. Foussereau), A. Beaure, S. Hernandez, N. Cayetano, J. Amiel (G. Soro), W. Alquier, B. Massare, J. Cantier (S. Taillan), N. De Sachy (E. Gamet).

Referee: Karim Azad Hatim (Kurdistan)
Asst. Referees: 1st Joe Bajada (Gozo), 2nd Eucharist Portelli (Gozo)
4th Official: Claudio Guida (Italy)
Scorer: S. Ghezzi 65’


Regno Delle Due Sicilie recovered from the heavy defeat conceded in their debut of the competition and registered their first win in the VIVA World Cup in their encounter against Provence. The French side were making their first appearance in this edition of the tournament and were aiming to register a positive result which could have put them with a chance to qualify for the semi-final. It was a tough match where the Italians capitalized from an early goal which they managed to defend it until the final whistle. Provence expressed some good possession but could not convert their territorial supremacy into goal-mouth action.

The goal that decided the issues arrived in their first serious approach of the Italians into Provence’s area after four minutes of play. Danilo Macari entered the area and was floored by the goalkeeper David Larsonnier. The referee awarded a penalty and Pietro Cappuccilli converted from the spot kick.

Provence replied two mintes later through an effort by Yann Laset that ended just wide. On 12 minutes, the Italian goalkeeper was called to make a difficult intervention to neutralize a strike by Kamel Bouqoua. Provence increased their momentum but they found it very difficult to create danger towards Izzo’s goal.

After the resumption of play, the Italians continued to suffer pressure but rear-guard continued to protect the area so that Provence’s attempts arrived mainly through shots from long distance. On 57 minutes, goalie Izzo saved the lead for his side with an excellent save to turn in corner an angled shot by Nassim Guendouz following a personal action. Provence went again very close to clinch the equalizer on 75 minutes but a low shot by Jean Perrin from a good position ended wide. Eight minutes later a good shot by substitute Fiala missed the target. The match became quite tough in the dying moments and in the fifth minute of stoppage time Provence had skipper Attar sent off for a foul off the ball.

REGNO DELLE DUE SICILIE R. Izzo, M. Capezzuto, G. Baghara (M. Zamparelli), G.L. Espositio, D. Macari (E. Lepre), V. Basso (F. Balestra), A. De Luca, E. Velardi, B. Rea (A. Bonavolonta), P. Cappuccilli, R. De Giacomo.

PROVENCE D. Larsonnier, T. Gossot (J. Perrin), S. Tognarelli, Y. Attar, K. Bouaqoua (B. Benattar), Y. Liset, N. Guendouz, O. Naffati (J. Fiala), N. Ramdane, B. Borchesi (S. Juan), C. Benchaa (J. Zeroual).

Referee: Luciano Casnati (Italy)
Asst. Referees: 1st Antonio Guida (Italy), 2nd Per-Anders Blind (Sweden)
4th Official: Mario Mazzoleni (Italy)
Scorers: P. Cappuccilli 5’ pen