Shades of Messi, Higuita and Van Basten in Serie A


 Palermo’s Josip Ilicic produced a goal worthy of Lionel Messi in Serie A on Sunday while hapless Chievo goalkeeper Christian Puggioni suffered a moment reminiscent of eccentric former Colombia goalkeeper Rene Higuita.
Ilicic’s effort in the 3-1 win at Sampdoria was arguably Italy’s goal of the season after he weaved his way past four opponents, burst into the penalty area and fired a right-foot shot past oncoming goalkeeper Sergio Romero into the far corner.
The only person who was not completely impressed was the Slovenian’s coach Giuseppe Sannino, who is battling to keep the second-bottom side in the top flight.
“Josip Ilicic has played a great match but he also needs to defend more and be more disciplined,” he told reporters.
Puggioni’s nightmare moment in Chievo’s 3-1 loss at Udinese was in complete contrast.
After collecting a back pass from one of his defenders, the goalkeeper tried to drag the ball back and dribble away from oncoming forward Antonio Di Natale.
Comically, he missed the ball completely and allowed Di Natale to score into an empty net in the sort of incident which occasionally befell Higuita, who routinely took enormous risks by trying to dribble around opponents in front of his own goal.
Di Natale struck again shortly afterwards with a magnificent effort which his coach compared to Marco van Basten’s volley for Netherlands in the 1988 European championship final against the Soviet Union, although from the opposite side of the penalty area.
Di Natale ran onto a long, looping diagonal cross into the Chievo area and hooked it first time back across the face of the goal from a narrow angle and into the far corner.
“It was Van Basten style and on his left foot, which is not even his best one,” said Udinese coach Francesco Guidolin. (Writing by Brian Homewood in Berne)