APIA Leichardt Tigers guest player Joshua Colosimo tastes defeat to Inter Milan in the prestigious youth competition, the Viareggio tournament.
With the game against Italian giants Inter Milan drawing near, the APIA boys spent the day before the match enjoying the Viareggio Carnevale, which takes place every year. The 'Carnevale' is simply amazing. It is one of the worlds biggest and best carnivals, second only to Rio in Brazil. The people of Viareggio took to the streets in their thousands, to witness the enormous floats, dance to the music and get themselves involved in all sorts of games. The carnival was a unique experience for me, as in Australia we don't really have anything remotely similar.
After the carnival had come to an end, the team headed back to the hotel for dinner. Once again, pasta was on the menu, keeping in mind that the big match against Inter was so close. Steve our physiotherapist, was kept quite busy treating soreness and injury, as each and every member of the team was determined to be at peak fitness.
Dinner finished and the boys went back to their rooms to rest. After an hour or so, president and co-coach Tony Raciti, came to inform us that the squad had been put up for the match. There were plenty of disappointed faces, as each player had been putting in 100% to ensure they would start against Inter. However, the players who were not involved in the Inter Milan match, had a chance to play earlier in the day against J-League team, Nagoya Grampus. Therefore, 2 squads were posted on the notice board.
The day finally arrived. Breakfast was eaten in dead silence and not a word was spoken by any of the players during the morning stretching session. Every single player was focused on the job at hand, to beat Inter. Firstly however, the younger team made their way to the ground for their game with Nagoya Grampus. In terrible, conditions the APIA apprentices lost the match 4-0, but their were some definite positives, with APIA creating many chances.
The time came for the boys to board the bus and head to Pistoia, where Inter awaited us. It was a nervous bus ride, with coach Lince Romeo going through each players individual role. Once again, we used the 4-2-3-1 formation, with defense being our main priority.
After arriving in Pistoia, the boys were shocked at how brilliant the facilities were. The pitch was first-class and whilst the stadium was extremely old, the scenery which surrounded us was beautiful. We were motivated right from the start and knew that we could really take it up to Inter, who currently sit second in their Primavera championship.
After an extensive warm-up, the time had arrived for kick off. The APIA boys sang the Australian National Anthem proudly, as did the Inter players with the Italian National Anthem. The line-ups were read out over a loudspeaker and the 1000-strong crowd cheered as we kicked off the Viareggio tournament. Inter applied pressure on the APIA goal but could not find a way through. We defended brilliantly, blocking every shot and winning every challenge, however, just on the stroke of half time, Inter's captain scored a fantastic goal from just outside the box to make the score 1-0. We walked into the dressing room with our head held high, whilst the Inter Milan players argued amongst themselves.
The second half started much the same as the first, with Inter dominating possession and APIA on the back-foot. The score remained 1-0 until the 88th minute, where Inter managed to score another goal. This deflated the APIA players, who conceded once more in the 94th minute. Final score, Inter 3-0 APIA. A valiant effort from the APIA Tigers, who only conceded late in each half.
We look forward to our next match against a representative team from Serie D.
Until next time...