7 posts tagged palermo
7 posts tagged palermo
Napoli 1 Palermo 2, December 1951. Vintage footage of the Rosanero’s only victory in Naples in Serie A in 18 attempts. The salt thrown on the pitch clearly did the trick.
It was the 11th round of games of the season and the victory, courtesy of goals from Helge Bronee and Gino Giaroli (Paolo Todeschini scored for Napoli) put the Sicilian side into third place in the league. That would pretty much be high watermark of the season as they ended up in 11th spot sandwiched between Atalanta and Pro Patria.
Napoli, for their part, would end up five spots higher in 6th position with a great deal of thanks due to 25 goals combined from Mario Astorri and Amedeo Amedei.
Image from Repubblica.it
In the heat of the moment, perhaps, it was understandable. A club dragged into the unexpected pressure of a relegation dogfight and a player with just one goal in about 15 hours of football. Maybe none of us would have done the decent thing.
And yet, at a club which launched its Cartellino Viola - Purple Card - to honour acts of sportsmanship, it would have been a nice gesture. Fiorentina’s Brazilian hitman Amauri scored with his hand on Wednesday night and the goal was, eventually, rightly disallowed. But he appeared to make no gesture to admit his guilt.
An early hand in the air to apologise for an instinctive act would have been admirable. He was quickly submerged by celebrating team-mates but that is only a limited excuse. There was time, if he had wanted, to confess to his infringement against his old team Palermo.
Up in the Sky Italia commentary box, Angelo Di Livio, the Viola’s little soldier of yesteryear, was in little doubt. It was, he opined, “un brutto gesto” - a bad gesture. A poor example to players desperately trying to change the image of Italian football as being all about gamesmanship, cynicism and “furbizia” (slyness or sneakiness, if you will).
What cast Amauri into an even poorer light were the actions of visiting goalkeeper Emiliano Viviano in the first half of the game. The Palermo shot-stopper admitted he had got a hand to a Manuel Pasqual strike and told the referee to give a corner. It earned him a rousing reception from the Curva Fiesole - where he used to stand as a boy - at half-time.
Of course, giving the opposition a corner is a little different from ruling out a goal. In addition, Viviano’s emotional links to Fiorentina are well-known. However, he was under no illusions they would have been used against him if his admission had ended up harming his current team. “If Fiorentina had scored from it, they would have killed me,” he said at half-time.
That’s why he deserves this month’s Cartellino Viola and Amauri has earned a rebuke. He received a yellow card but, if the club takes its moral stance seriously, they should take some kind of action too. There were extenuating circumstances, but he had the time to take a little step towards cleaning up Calcio’s image. Instead, as has been pretty much the story of his season, it was another chance missed.
Red and purple and pink and blue. It might sound like that terrible song about singing a rainbow, but this season in Serie A they have been the colours of disappointment. Who among Fiorentina, Genoa and Palermo fans can claim to have had the campaign which least lived up to their expectations?
With half a dozen matches left to play, none of them is likely to make it into the top seven spots in the League nor be troubled by relegation. They are surrounded by sides in mid-table who, by and large, made no secret of the fact that their target at the start of the season was simply survival. All three of this underachieving trio were aiming much higher.
Michele Camporese, the best thing from Pisa since Galileo Galilei
As a young reporter, a lifetime ago, I went to one council meeting which dragged on so long that the chairman desperately called time on proceedings with a classic line. “Right,” he said, “that’s it agreed then - we don’t know what we are doing!”. And everyone dutifully trooped out for lunch.
It is easy to share his feelings as Serie A takes its traditional break for befana biscuits and panettone. Every team that starts to muster up serious Scudetto credentials soon crashes to defeat. In the process, they throw a lifeline to the sides whose tasks had previously looked more desperate than the one facing Adriano’s adviser at a Weightwatchers meeting.
So, come on guys, does anyone actually want this title?
Milan looked set to head off to Silvio Berlusconi’s house for Christmas dinner with a comfortable advantage at the top of the table. Instead, like the premier himself, their vote of confidence can hardly be a ringing endorsement of their reign. Claudio Ranieri’s Roma were savvy enough to put the brakes on a side which had looked to be hitting top gear. The Giallorossi suddenly managed to make the Rossoneri look more dodgy than Marco Borriello’s haircut.
But if it is not to be Max Allegri’s men then who can it be? A bit like the introduction to the classic cartoon, Hong Kong Phooey, everybody is still trying to guess the identity of the super hero in this year’s Campionato.
Is it Juve, the most successful team in domestic history who can’t hold out against Chievo? Is it Lazio, whose stars displease their coach so much by failing to accept his decisions with good grace? Or is it Napoli, who are leaving it so late that San Gennaro must be in danger of going into overload in answering the prayers of the Partenopei?
It could be any one of that trio. But, the way this season has gone, could you really write off Roma, Palermo or even Inter if they put together a strong run of results? It is hard to escape the thought that anyone setting a powerful pace could yet rip through this field and go on to break the finishing line first.
Milan are not the finished article. When they lost Andrea Pirlo against Roma they resorted more and more to the hit-the-ball-to-Ibra-and-hope approach they used to deride when he played for city rivals Inter. With Alexandre Pato to return and possibly Antonio Cassano to arrive, they have more attacking options than most. Nonetheless, there is a nagging doubt about their ability to see off sides which keep a good shape and organisation against them.
It leaves the door open for a Lazio team which has shown a tenacious spirit after tough-to-take defeats against city rivals Roma and title challengers Juve. They looked destined to tumble down the table but instead they have hung on in there and bounced back. Edy Reja’s anger at some of his players’ antics would seem to suggest he genuinely believes there is a Scudetto there to be won.
And if they don’t have similar faith in Naples then they never will. A series of late, late victories in Serie A and Europe has hinted at a steely resolve at the San Paolo. There is a good balance about their side. Is it finally good enough to let the city move on after Maradona?
Or are Juve strong enough to exorcise the ghosts of Calciopoli? They have guts and determination but doubts remain over their class. The work ethic and team spirit that Gigi Del Neri has been trying to instil are starting to make a difference. But it is hard to know if that will be enough to give Bianconeri fans the Scudetto they crave so badly at the end of this campaign. At the moment they look like spaghetti al ragu without a sprinkling of parmesan cheese - something is definitely missing.
It would take an almighty run for Roma, Palermo or Inter to overhaul that quartet. The capital club has shown it can go on such a tear in the past but it seems that there is rumbling discontent with Ranieri to contend with. The Rosanero can be the most glorious team in Italy to watch but need to add consistency to their quality. As for the newly-crowned world champions, surely their chance has gone. They still have a squad capable of sweeping aside many teams. But they will not find the rest of Serie A as willing to succumb as TP Mazembe.
All these ingredients make for a dish which will give everyone plenty to digest over the festive season. Even the most astute analyst or ardent fan would find it hard to make a completely convincing case for any one of the title contenders. The only thing that is certain, it would appear, is the uncertainty of the final outcome. Don’t rule out some gloriously absurd conclusion.
It was Linda Evangelista who once caused uproar by suggesting that supermodels would not wake up for less than $10,000-a-day. However, it would appear that a similar attitude is prevalent among the Italian sides participating in the Europa League. They are not, to pinch a phrase from lazy football previews everywhere, “Up for the Cup”.
Juventus, Napoli, Palermo and Sampdoria stand on the brink of elimination from the group stages. Read those four names again. They count 30 Scudetti between them (admittedly the lion’s share with the Zebras) and three of them have major European silverware to their credit. Even the only side without a glorious Palmares, the Sicilians, boasts one of the continent’s hottest properties - Javier Pastore.
Surely, in the parlance of secondary teachers everywhere, they could do better.
Last week Italy’s Champions League deputation gave an amazing show of strength to deliver three wins out of three and all but book their places in the knockout stages. It was the first time Serie A sides had completed such an “en plein” since October 2006. Thanks to Optapaolo for that stat.
The chances of the Fab Four in Europe’s junior competition delivering such a message are minimal. Almost from the outset they have looked lacklustre and disinterested - like a surly teenager being told to tidy his bedroom. Do we really have to?
Yet they owe it to their own fans and Italian football as a whole to at least give it a go. None of them was exactly dropped into a group of Europe’s superstar sides where qualification was an impossibility. And, as well-documented elsewhere, Serie A’s UEFA co-efficient could really do with a boost.
It is quite clear that priorities lie elsewhere. All four sides are doing well in the league and don’t want to risk compromising their challenge there. Nonetheless, it would be nice to see them give their remaining fixtures their all.
Juve travel to Poland to face Lech Poznan who gave the Bianconeri a major scare in Turin before drawing 3-3. It is a must-win match for Gigi Del Neri’s men if they hope to progress. Anything less and their final group match at home to Manchester City will become nothing more than a dead rubber. If La Vecchia Signora is serious about rebuilding her image, she needs to revive her European glories alongside her domestic ambitions.
The situation is just as delicate for Samp who host PSV. Such are the fixtures in Group I that even two victories in their last two ties might not be sufficient for the Blucerchiati. They have thrown away a positive start to their campaign and Metalist Kharkiv, along with the Eindhoven side, might be the ones to profit.
As for Palermo, they are almost in a critical condition. They have to beat Sparta Prague this week and then hope CSKA Moscow do them a favour in two weeks time. It is such an improbable mission that the best they can probably hope for is two good performances to salvage some pride.
Last but not least come Napoli, who could really do with Liverpool giving them assistance. A win over Utrecht, combined with Roy Hodgson’s men beating Steaua Bucharest, would just about swing the group balance back in favour of the boys from the San Paolo. It would at least set up a great showdown with the Romanian side in the final match of the round.
That’s all we can really ask from these Europa boys at this stage. If one or two of them could sneak through it would be a major triumph. At the very least, we have the right to expect them to get out of their beds and show a bit of fight.