mercoledì 25 febbraio 2009


Philippe Mexès (left) concedes the penalty from which Robin Van Persie scored (©Getty Images)
AS Roma defender Philippe Mexès admitted the Italian side were relieved to have escaped with just a 1-0 defeat at Arsenal FC on Tuesday, but warned the Gunners to expect a different test altogether in Italy in a fortnight's time.

Positive thinking
Luciano Spalletti's visitors lost the first leg of this UEFA Champions League first knockout round contest to a Robin van Persie penalty – awarded for a Mexès foul on the Dutchman – but it could have been worse for Roma, who saw Nicklas Bendtner and Emmanuel Eboué miss clear opportunities to inflict greater damage. Mèxes said: "Obviously we are very disappointed with this defeat, but at the same time we are very positive we can turn it around because 1-0 away is nothing."

'No fear'
The French international, who had "no complaints" about the penalty award, added: "Arsenal play good football but they are not unbeatable. In Rome it will be a completely different match in which we will have to push forward and play without fear, which we did not do in the first part of the match tonight. In the end a penalty decided the outcome but the score is still positive considering all the other chances they had to add to their lead. The first leg is over now and we have to start in a different way in two weeks' time, playing at home with our fans behind us. At our ground we will give everything to reach the next round."

Riise relief
The feeling in the Roma camp afterwards was that their performance improved as the game went on. "We showed at the end of the second half that we could have got more out of the game," said Mexès. Yet while John Arne Riise drew a save out of Manuel Almunia in the closing stages, it was no more than Marco Motta had done in the first period. Riise himself acknowledged the Serie A outfit were lucky to have survived several scares in their own penalty box, notably when an unmarked Bendtner failed to profit from scoring chances in each half. "We didn't play at all well tonight and I can't believe Bendtner missed those goals because normally he'd have scored," said Riise.

In the group stage Roma avenged a 1-0 loss to Chelsea FC in London with a 3-1 home success, and the Norway defender added: "The tie is still wide open because we're just 1-0 down and that's very different from being 2-0 down. If you look at the chances we created and the chances they created in the end we were probably lucky to have come away with just a one-goal deficit. "


Manchester United draw blank against Inter Milan
Inter Milan (0) 0 Manchester United (0) 0

By Henry Winter at the San Siro
Last Updated: 7:47AM GMT 25 Feb 2009

Frustration: Cristiano Ronaldo reacts as Manchester United miss a chance Photo: PA
So nearly 11 Special Ones. So nearly Manchester United’s night. With the near faultless Michael Carrick leading the way, the European champions gave Jose Mourinho’s disappointing Inter a masterclass in the art of possession, particularly in the first half. United left the San Siro goalless only because of Inter’s superb goalkeeper, Julio Cesar.

Carrick and company arrived back home in the small hours with plenty to declare. They could declare that, on this evidence, Premier League sides are more watchable than Serie A. They could declare that Inter’s much-vaunted striker, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, still has to justify his rave local reviews. They could also declare a real pride in this mature display, in the way Carrick, Ryan Giggs and Darren Fletcher worked triangles around black-and-blue shirts. Mourinho’s men chased shadows in red.

When Ferguson first began guiding United in the European Cup in the mid-Nineties, they were regularly punished, particularly before crowing Italian crowds, for laxness in possession. Ball lost. Italian counter. Goal. Game over.

Not now. Ferguson has taught his players how to keep the ball, a strength that served them so well here. Carrick embodied this expertise at ball-winning and distribution in front of the watching England manager, Fabio Capello. The likeable Geordie now looks like he feels he belongs on the grandest stages.

But United must also declare a frustration. They needed to turn all that first-half possession into something more substantial. Cristiano Ronaldo could have laid claim to the match-ball by the interval, although much credit must go to Cesar, who rescued his team from humiliation.

The European champions also need Wayne Rooney to focus his adrenalin rushes more maturely when unleashed from the bench. Brimming with pent-up energy, he seemed on a mission to win the game on his own, and was rightly booked for a clattering challenge on Esteban Cambiasso. England versus Argentina in club clothes.

Surprise had rippled through United fans before kick-off on hearing that Rooney was on the bench. During a lively kick-in, Rooney showed little after-effects of that hamstring problem. Yet Ferguson has pulled off such shocks before, notably with a similar midfield against Chelsea and any Doubting Thomases were swiftly silenced. Gaffer’s cracking up? No chance.

Ferguson knew what he was doing, deploying a 4-2-3-1 formation to protect a back-four lacking Nemanja Vidic. “Wayne had only played one game in seven weeks,” explained Ferguson, who needed the “fantastic” Dimitar Berbatov to start to give United an aerial presence at defending set-plays.

Mourinho still admitted his “surprise” at Rooney’s initial omission. “He is a fantastic player but he was injured for a few weeks,” he added. “Maybe 'the Boss’ [Ferguson] decided to give him a rest.

Mourinho’s words have been more entertaining than his team. Following his pantomime-cum-sermon on the eve of the game, more than 80,000 had thronged into this famous arena, anticipating drama of the highest order. In keeping with the theatrical theme, the “Edinburgh Festival Reds” were present, clearly resting before their August acting duties. Football’s pre-gentrification generation were more fully represented, typified by a banner that read: “United, Kids, Wife – In That Order”.

United were certainly in good order. When Patrice Evra and Jonny Evans wasted the ball just before the interval, gasps of disbelief almost sprung from the terraces. How United reached the break without a goal was a travesty of sporting justice, pure and simple. Inter became so disheartened that their reserve keeper, Francesco Toldo, was even cautioned for dissent.

Every man in red responded to Ferguson’s instructions and his call to arms. Fletcher, impressively focused after the distressing news of his partner being robbed at knife-point, joined Carrick in shielding the defence while Giggs, Ronaldo and Park Ji-sung pushed on to support Berbatov.

Ronaldo was relishing the task, the European Footballer of the Year possibly stung by all Mourinho’s claims that Ibrahimovic was in his league. So inspired was he in the early stages, that Ronaldo twice went close with free-kicks, and in between troubled Cesar with a header.

United were composure personified. Ferguson had clearly ordered his players to dictate the tempo, taking the sting out of the crowd. Inter’s fans had been so pumped up for the European champions’ visit that even United’s kit-man, Albert Morgan, was treated to some choice Italian invective.

Carrick and Giggs were immense, rarely risking losing the ball, always threatening something special. Carrick dribbled through the middle, a sinewy run of growing menace, his enterprise curtailed only by a trip from Javier Zanetti. Giggs failed to exploit the free-kick.

Inter had pursued Giggs’s signature all through the Nineties, and their players tried in vain to catch him here. Racing on to a sublime Carrick pass, the Welshman was denied only by Cesar.

Still United dominated. Cesar saved another Ronaldo dead-ball special. Then the World Player of the Year glanced a header just wide, again following a fine cross from the ubiquitous Giggs. United were rampant and Inter were relieved to make the break intact.

Emerging from the tunnel, Ferguson predicted to television reporters that there “will be a reaction from Inter” and he was right. Mourinho had lifted his players, and strengthened his defence by removing the hapless Rivas Lopez.

Briefly we saw the Inter who lead Serie A. Briefly Ibrahimovic showed some class. Adriano shot wide. The warning was clear: Inter were waking. The Italians screamed for a penalty when Rio Ferdinand challenged Adriano, who dissolved on impact like a melon in a blender. Contact was minimal and referee Luis Medina Cantalejo dismissed Italian appeals.

Park and Giggs briefly threatened away goals yet the best chance fell to Cambiasso, who missed from close range. The second leg promises fireworks.

Sarkozy et Berlusconi en pleine lune de miel

Nicolas Sarkozy et Silvio Berlusconi ont affiché mardi leur complicité à Rome. «Nous sommes deux vieux amis et cela laisse augurer une plus grande intégration», s'est félicité le président du Conseil italien.
Crédits photo : AP
Les deux dirigeants ont tout fait mardi à Rome pour donner le plus d'éclat possible à ces 27es rencontres franco-italiennes.

Comme de «vieux amis». Nicolas Sarkozy et Silvio Berlusconi ont affiché leur complicité mardi à Rome pour le premier sommet franco-italien depuis le retour au pouvoir du Cavaliere en mai 2008. Arrivé avec vingt minutes de retard à la Villa Madame, le chef de l'État français est tombé dans les bras de son «ami Silvio», maquillé et tiré à quatre épingles. Bises. Hymnes. Honneurs mili­taires. Échange de cadeaux : une caisse de vosne-romanée pour Silvio Berlusconi et une autre de pauillac pour le président italien Giorgio Napolitano. Nicolas Sarkozy est venu accompagné de son premier ministre, François Fillon, et de sept ministres. Paris et Rome ont tout fait pour donner du lustre à ces 27es consultations franco-italiennes.

Éloge appuyé

Ce sommet tombe à pic pour Berlusconi et Sarkozy. Le premier préside depuis le début de l'année le G8 et accueillera, cet été en Sardaigne, le prochain sommet des pays les plus riches de la planète. Le président du Conseil italien a décidé de l'ouvrir à de nouvelles puissances (la Chine, l'Inde, le Brésil, le Mexique, l'Afrique du Sud) et pour la première fois à un pays musulman (l'Égypte). Un choix réclamé de longue date par la France. Sarkozy, lui, vient de quitter la présidence de l'Union européenne sur un succès diplomatique. Mais, depuis quelques semaines, il accumule les différends avec ses homologues anglais et allemand. À Rome, il est venu renforcer le lien franco-italien. Qualifié dans la péninsule d'«ami de tout le monde», Berlusconi a mis le paquet pour accueillir un «gouvernement ami».

Mardi, les affaires ont été fructueuses. Un accord de coopération en matière d'énergie nuclé­aire a été signé entre la France et l'Italie. Un premier pas qui concrétise le retour de l'Italie à l'énergie atomique. À terme, de quatre à huit centrales pourraient être construites par les entreprises françaises dans la péninsule pour un coût évalué à 40 milliards.

Plusieurs autres accords de coopération ont été signés, dont un appel d'offres en vue de la rénovation du tunnel routier de Fréjus. «Nous pouvons encore aller plus loin dans les coopérations. Nous sommes deux vieux amis et cela laisse augurer une plus grande intégration» , s'est félicité Berlusconi lors de la conférence de presse finale.

Il s'est livré à un éloge appuyé de son «ami Nicolas» pour sa «gestion intelligente et déterminée» pendant la présidence française de l'Union européenne. Un hommage qui a ravi Sarkozy. En retour, le chef de l'État a félicité le président du Conseil italien pour sa récente victoire à des élections locales en Sardaigne. «On dit de toi que tu n'es pas un professionnel de la politique. Qu'est-ce que ce serait si tu en étais un !» a lancé un Sarkozy admiratif et envieux.

Une question agaçante

Car Berlusconi non seulement gagne les élections locales mais bat tous les records de popularité. 53 % des Italiens lui font confiance, selon une enquête Ipsos, alors que Sarkozy peine dans les sondages (37 % au baromètre Ifop). Agacé par une question sur les raisons de son impopularité, le chef de l'État a refusé de répondre. Du coup, Berlusconi n'a pas osé livrer ses recettes pour rester populaire même en temps de crise.

Sarkozy a achevé sa visite à la Villa Médicis, prestigieux centre culturel français dirigé par Frédéric Mitterrand. «Je suis heureux de venir te soutenir», a confié le président au neveu de l'un de ses prédécesseurs. «La Villa est le sym­bole de la qualité et de la beauté», s'est-il réjoui à l'issue d'une rapide visite. L'occasion aussi de faire une allusion, la seule de cette journée italienne, à son épouse, Carla : «L'amitié franco-italienne, moi aussi, j'y travaille.

Non c'e' peggiore infamia dei reati di pedofilia


Dodicenne stuprato, uomo arrestato
Napoli,dipendente comunale già indagato

Gli agenti della squadra mobile di Napoli che indagano sulla violenza sessuale su un bambino di 12 anni hanno fermato il presunto responsabile dopo aver ascoltato alcune persone. Si tratta di Pasquale Modestino, un dipendente comunale di 53 anni con precedenti per violenza su minori. Lo ha detto il questore di Napoli Antonino Puglisi, esprimendo "soddisfazione" per l'arresto. All'uscita dalla Questura, la folla ha inveito contro il 53enne.

Il pedofilo è stato riconosciuto dalla giovane vittima sia dalle foto che dall'orologio che indossava. Durante la conferenza stampa in Questura, sono state inoltre rese note le modalità di adescamento del minore. L'uomo avrebbe avvicinato il 12enne dicendo di conoscere un suo compagno di gioco, che è poi il nipote della sua convivente. Secondo quanto ricostruito e raccontato dallo stesso 12enne, il presunto pedofilo dopo averlo avvicinato gli ha sottratto l'orologio che il ragazzino aveva in tasca. Quindi gli ha detto: "Se vuoi riaverlo seguimi nel bar, devo bere una birra". Così il ragazzino lo ha seguito in una strada isolata dove si è consumata la violenza.

Un gruppo di cittadini ha inveito a sputi e insulti contro il 53enne mentre, all'uscita dalla Questura, i poliziotti lo caricavano a bordo di una vettura per trasferirlo al carcere di Poggioreale.

L'uomo era stato denunciato nel 2005, dopo violenze nei confronti di una bimba di 6 anni, ma allora il Gip del Tribunale di Napoli aveva rigettato una richiesta di incidente probatorio sul fatto e quindi era decaduta l'imputazione.

"Non potevamo condurre una vita normale fino all'arresto di quest'uomo", ha detto il questore di Napoli nel corso della conferenza stampa in corso alla Questura di Napoli dopo l'arresto dell'uomo. "Ringrazio tutti gli uomini e le donne della polizia che in questi giorni - ha aggiunto - non hanno mangiato e dormito per lavorare a questa indagine".

Gli agenti della Sezione Minori della Questura di Napoli sono arrivati al presunto violentatore attraverso il fascicolo dell'indagato, già fotosegnalato e arrestato almeno in un'occasione per violenza sessuale su minori. A quanto si è appreso, l'uomo non è sposato e vive da solo. Gli agenti della Sezione Minori subito dopo avere ricevuto la denuncia della violenza subita dal 12enne hanno cercato innanzitutto i fascicoli di tutti i pedofili o sospetti che risiedono nella zona dell'Arenaccia. Successivamente hanno ascoltato gli amichetti, i famigliari della giovane vittima e le persone che lavorano nelle vicinanze del luogo dove è avvenuto lo stupro. Per tutta la giornata di martedì sono stati condotti in questura per essere interrogate decine di persone. Poi è toccato agli uomini con precedenti per pedofilia fino a quando il cerchio si è stretto attorno ad alcune persone.

Il ministro dell'Interno Roberto Maroni, nel corso di un'audizione alla commissione bicamerale Infanzia, ha dichiarato che l'arresto "dà sollievo, anche se ciò che è successo è orribile e dobbiamo fare ogni sforzo per evitare che ciò accada".