Young coaches rely on past masters

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RESULTS: Juventus 1-1 Bordeaux; Marseille 1-2 Milan

He has been written off more times than a bad debt but his goals keep piling up like the interest on an unpaid credit card.

Filippo Inzaghi may be as annoying as the recession but the way he keeps bouncing back he will be around a long time after we have all forgotten how good Ronaldinho once was.

There was no sign of Dinho making even a cameo appearance in Marseille, but the Brazilian could learn a thing or two about hanging on to the best days of your life - and for a footballer than means actually playing football.

As the years slip by, the only way to do that is to have the desire to get out there and prove you’re worth your place – and enjoy yourself along the way.

Well, at 36 and counting, Pippo is still living up to his “Super” tag.

Inzaghi Inc. – Providing goals since 1991 

A brace at a soggy Velodrome leaves the old poacher supreme just one goal behind Gerd “Der Bomber” Muller’s 69-goal record in European club competitions – and leaving the rest of us shaking our heads in disbelief.

He still can’t control the ball, runs like a girl and falls over in such a comical manner that it seems as if referees award free-kicks just to play along with the joke.

And then... well, and then, suddenly he’s running off as if being pursued by a swarm of bees, leaving the ball nestling in the back of the opposition net.

The first goal last night may have been a touch offside – still his favourite starting position – but the winner was vintage Pippo.

It wasn’t as if he darted to the near post to turn the ball home in front of his marker, it was more as if he just floated into the position like some spectral presence, to leave the home defence wondering if they had been seeing things.

While one seemingly ethereal figure was restoring Italian pride on the European front in the south of France, back across the border “Superman” was saving face for Juventus against Bordeaux.

For all the talk of the Old Lady returning to her former glory, she looked pretty pitiful against a vibrant French mademoiselle who could have broken hearts in Turin but for home custodian Gigi Buffon.

Still only 31 – so still a youngster for a top-level goalkeeper – Italy’s No.1 had seemed on the wane at the tail-end of last season amid persistent reports of a chronic back problem.

Buffon Corp. – Defying strikers since 1995 

However, this season he looks more than back to the sort of form that made him the best shot-stopper in the world a couple of years ago.

Just as Inzaghi provided Leonardo with some respite from the gathering harbingers of doom, so Buffon’s form last night ensures that Ciro Ferrara’s honeymoon period continues awhile.

While it’s too early in the campaign to forecast how far Milan and Juve will travel in Europe, and there will certainly be ups and downs for both young coaches, it seems that Inzaghi and Buffon will be around to help for some time to come.

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