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Tuesday, 8 September 2009

After spectacularly soiling Georgian clean sheet, Kaladze homes in on own hat-trick

Georgia captain Kakha Kaladze was in a bullish mood after helping Italy to a World Cup 2010 qualification win in Tblisi with two superb own goals on his return from injury.

The world champions looked short of ideas at the Boris Palchadze Stadium and at one point managed 135 uninterrupted passes for a cumulative gain of eight yards before Vincenzo Iaquinta sneezed and sent the ball into touch.

But Marcello Lippi's men had an ace up their sleeve in Georgia defender Kaladze, who marked his return to action after six months off with a knee problem by putting through his own net twice when there seemed to be no threat at all.

"It's great to be back," the skipper beamed at bemused journalists. "Sure I have a few kinks to iron out, but all in all it was a really nice evening.

"I got to stretch my legs, get the heart going a bit and see all my mates. I had a great time. Hey, I even got it in a couple of times, even if it was the wrong end! Funny how it goes..."

After claiming he could "get even more goals playing like this", the unrepentant Kaladze had to be escorted from the room by police as angry members of the Georgian press pack threw pencils at him. However, Kaladze's crazed performance has won him friends in Serie A, especially at San Siro.

"It gave us tremendous confidence to have Kaladze there on the edge of the box," club teammate Gianluca Zambrotta enthused in an interview for Italian TV.

"We just felt that any ball into the middle could be deadly - he's that kind of player, he makes things happen," he concluded as showgirls licked whipped cream off his thigh.

Kaladze's next outing may be a friendly against Iceland tomorrow evening and all the pre-match talk has revolved around whether the prolific defender can manage the Holy Grail of an own hat-trick.

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