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Lorenzo Vicini On May - 4 - 2011

Rosanero Roundup: Palermo Show Their Solitary Focus

Despite being briefly reopened by a slew of positive results, Palermo proved to be solely committed to only one competition left in the season: the Coppa Italia.

Facing a resurgent - albeit not yet saved - Parma side away from home, Delio Rossi’s boys knew that the competition would be fierce. Furthermore, the Rosanero were without Cesare Bovo and Fabrizio Miccoli due to injuries while a rejuvenated Mauricio Pinilla performed admirably enough after his recent injury during the week’s training to make the list of call-ups. The Sicilians had enough weapons in the arsenal to combat Parma, the only question was whether or not they were up to the challenge on a psychological level.

The question was answered rather quickly and somewhat harshly only two minutes into the match. Palermo keeper Salvatore Sirigu hesitated long enough to allow an onrushing Dzemaili get in front of his clearance deflecting it into the goal. Replays would show that the ball struck Dzemaili’s arm and the goal should have been annulled. Yet, much like the lack of fortune in terms of refereeing decisions, Palermo would pay for foolish, mindless mistakes once again. It marked the third straight game that the Rosanero would succumb to a goal in the first five minutes of a match.

As Palermo tried to rebound from the early deficit, they only managed to concede once again. Parma doubled their lead when Giovinco’s cross failed to be cleared by the defense and an unmarked Francesco Modesto easily slotted the ball home to make it 2-0. Despite the scoreline, the Sicilians had been controlling the match in large stretches and they were perhaps unlucky not to score before halftime.

Early into the second half, Palermo would reopen the game. After several close shots, Mattia Cassani drilled a low ball from outside the box towards the far corner only to see it bounce off the post. Fortunately, Javier Pastore was there to kick it in while the keeper was left stranded. With plenty of time to find an equalizer and pressure being applied, Palermo burst into life. Balzaretti, Pinilla and Pastore all had several chances to score, but to no avail.

Ultimately, another defensive lapse sealed Palermo’s fate. In the final minute before stoppages, a careless giveaway deep in Rosanero territory permitted Parma to close the game. Candreva did just enough to get the ball past Sirigu and the final scoreline would read 3-1. With the loss and a Juventus win, the six point gap between the two seems like impossible ground to recover with only three games remaining.

Beyond the pitch, Palermo have had to deal with an uncertain offseason looming ahead. Statements made by Maurizio Zamparini did nothing to calm any fears when he cast doubt about the return of Rossi. The fiery president claimed there was no harmony between the two and unless that changed, Delio in all likelihood would not be back the following season. Yet, in a customary reversal, Zamparini declared only a day later that the chances of seeing Rossi on the Palermo bench next year were at 90%. In true form, Zamparini compared his relationship with the coach to that of his wife, saying that even though they fight, they still stay together. In any case, one thing is certain: this is not the final twist in the Zamparini-Rossi saga.

Perhaps taking a cue from Zamparini, the agent for Cesare Bovo made a u-turn of his own after claiming that the Palermo defender hoped to leave the club. Bovo has been one of the most consistent names linked to a move from Rosanero in the upcoming offseason, but the comments from his agent Zavaglia were quite bold. Just like Zamparini, however, Zavaglia recanted and tried to shy away from his earlier declarations by claiming his words were misconstrued. The statement created such a stir that Cesare Bovo actually broadcast his own message across the official club site to say that Zavaglia’s words were out of context. Nevertheless, a Bovo departure would not necessarily surprise anyone as Palermo are eager to shore up their poor defense from this year.

Palermo will take on an already relegated Bari side at the Barbera this Saturday. Yet, in a game that means practically nothing, all eyes and hearts will be focused on May 10, when the Rosanero face the Rossoneri in the return leg of the Coppa Italia semifinal. With the game of the season around the corner, there should be plenty of turnover against Bari with a possible return to the pitch from Moris Carrozzieri after a two year absence. With virtually no room for improvement in the league table, Palermo direct all their attention to an objective that still remains from the beginning of the season. A Coppa Italia final would be the most beautiful way to end a season mired in disappointment and shortcomings.

  • Rob

    Great roundup Lorenzo.

    Palermo looked great in 2010 but high flying dissolved rapidly in 2011. Far too many goals conceded for my liking and this is all the more puzzling with the likes of Balzaretti, Cassani, Bovo, and Goian all good enough for international call ups. These are quality players and so the amount of goals leaked this year is baffling. However, I also feel that project Slovenia has also dampened as time went by in the season.
    And let’s not forget (or perhaps we should) the dismal Europa performaces. Such a waste of time not even getting out of the group stage.
    There is absolutely no reason to consider that Palermo have what it takes to progress to the Coppa Italia final. But, because of this, in spite of this, they will beat Milan on May 10.

  • jaymine3

    Rossi really has to try and get Miccoli back playing to his potential in the final weeks of this season. It’s criminal how little the captain has played in the last several weeks, and they’re going to need his talent and experience in the final if they get there.

    Milan will be a TOUGH match, they practically won the scudetto already so we should expect to see their starting XI.

  • Event Horizon 117

    It will be the match of the year for us no doubt.

    We thought that the game at San Siro would go terrible for us, but we ended up drawing 2-2.

    And we also beat milan 1 - 0 at home in the Serie A in 2011.

    Which will make it all the more likely that Milan will field their best XI, and we must field our best XI to stand a chance. No doubt it will be a cracker of a match, but too much for the weakhearted.

    I know I’ll be sitting on the edge of my seat, crying, screaming, cursing, and I hope Crying again, tears of joy.

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