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Lorenzo Vicini On April - 13 - 2011

Rosanero Roundup: Rossi Returns, Results Remain

There was much anticipation in the week leading up to Sunday’s match against Cesena. An unsuccessful run of only one victory in four games saw Zamparini bring back the greatest coach in Palermo’s Serie A history in Delio Rossi. Naturally, the entire city and the players welcomed the beloved tactician back with open arms. After an unmotivated loss in the derby, everyone expected the Rosanero to come out roaring against the relegation-battled Seahorses.

Delio had to do without several key players as Pastore, Migliaccio and Munoz were all suspended while Ilicic was out with an injury. The mister gave two particular youngsters a chance to shine in Jasmin Kurtic and Afriyie Acquah while Liverani made a rare start. It proved to be the right moves as Palermo were on the board in five minutes and it was the youngest Slovenian, Jasmin Kurtic, to get the opening goal - his first in Serie A.

The Rosanero would double their lead only nine minutes from halftime. This time, Mauricio Pinilla would get the goal as Federico Balzaretti served up his second assist on the day. Going into the second half, Palermo looked lively and poised to take three points from Cesena.

The second half saw Palermo continue to dominate for large stretches. Miccoli had to give way less than fifteen minutes into the second half as his calf injury would flare up once again. Liverani would come off just over halfway for Bacinovic and shortly thereafter, Cesena’s Steve von Bergen would receive a straight red for his reckless challenge on Pinilla. That incident caused much uproar on the Seahorses’ sideline as unused substitute Paolo Sammarco would also get a red for protesting.

With the result seemingly in the bag, Palermo continued to push forward on the 10-men Cesena side hoping to find a third goal. Towards the 90th minute, the match took on a frantic pace with both teams matching each other’s attack with a counter-attack. Shortly after Darmian came on for Pinilla, Cesena would find a way back into the match. Sirigu’s mistimed exit allowed the ball to fall to Marco Parolo - a Palermo transfer target - who slotted in a shot at the near post. With six minutes of stoppages, there was all to play for.

In what can only be summed up as the type of poor fortune that has plagued Palermo all year, the unthinkable happened: Cesena would find the equalizer with the last kick of the game. Inexplicably, the Palermo defense was completely in disarray and allowed Emanuele Giaccherini to find the miracle goal that gave Cesena a precious draw. The atmosphere at the Barbera went from one of festive joy to stunned disbelief.

Afterward, Delio Rossi chalked up the draw to the kind of unfortunate result that can often take place in calcio. Zamparini waited two days before finally speaking out about the match. Instead of blaming Rossi, he merely stated that Palermo’s draw mirrored the way their season has gone. He confirmed Delio’s position on the team once more and expressed his desire for a return to winning ways.

It wasn’t all bad news in Palermo, though. One of the revelations of the season has been the Ghanian youngster Afriyie Acquah. Coming out of virtually nowhere,  the dynamic midfielder has carved a niche in with the first team and has been rewarded for his positive showings. Acquah signed a contract extension with Palermo that will keep him with the club until 2016. After signing local lad Giuseppe Prestia to a professional contract several weeks ago, the Acquah deal keeps in line with the Rosanero strategy of building the team through talented youth. As an uncertain offseason looms ahead, it will be important for these youngsters to come in and make an impact as soon as possible.

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One Response so far.

  1. Rob says:

    It was a lapse of concentration, some bad luck for Palermo and some good luck for Ceseana that made the score 2-2. For Palermo, at this stage of the season, results do not count for much anymore. It’s a mid-table finish and that is that. Great opportunity now for the team to look towards playing well with an eye for the 2011-12 season. Also it allows Palermo to focus on the Coppa Italia of which at least a grand final appearance would make the pain of this season almost worth it!

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