Italian Serie A News, Results, Analysis and Features on Football Soccer

Lorenzo Vicini On May - 18 - 2011

Rosanero Roundup: Palermo Prep For The Final

In their second to last game before the all-important Coppa Italia final, Palermo defeated Sampdoria to exact a bit of revenge from last season and banish them to Serie B.

Given last season’s exploits, the penultimate match against Sampdoria reminded many of the infamous draw a year prior with a spot in the Champions League on the line. Yet, what a difference a year makes! Sampdoria came into the match with not Champions aspirations, but simply survival in Italy’s top flight. The Blucerchiati were merely a shadow of the side that encountered so much success in the previous term. Given how the Doriani secured that precious fourth place spot a season ago, it was readily apparent that the Rosanero had some motivation with which to play for despite fielding a reserve squad of sorts.

For some, the desire to succeed was felt even stronger than in others. Fabrizio Miccoli, the man from Lecce, knew that a win against Samp would ultimately save his hometown club Lecce from relegation. That being said, it should come as no surprise that the lethal striker opened up the scoring with a fantastically placed goal minutes into stoppage time in the first half.

Early into the second half, Sampdoria drew level through Jonathan Biabiany but with fellow relegation battlers Lecce winning against Bari, the Blucerchiati needed to win. Much of the second half saw Sampdoria pour forward in hopes of finding a winning goal, but the necessary decision to attack ended up costing them a place in Serie A next season. The Rosanero went on one of their famous counterattacks and Abel Hernandez deftly slotted a ball across the box to Pinilla who calmly slotted it home only three minutes from the end of the game. Palermo won and Sampdoria were shockingly in Serie B.

The win for the Rosanero was their fourth in five games in the league. The return of Delio Rossi has simply revitalized the squad to new heights - including the upcoming Coppa Italia final at season’s end. With one league game remaining, Palermo have a chance to secure seventh place outright as only one point separates them from a sputtering Juventus team.

Despite this impressive run of results, an air of uncertainty hovers around the club. Zamparini has been unwilling to confirm Delio Rossi as coach for next season. Instead, the Palermo patron has constantly declared that the two will meet face to face after the season is over to discuss the coach’s future. With a coach much beloved by players and fans alike, it would seem apparent that the tactician would be renewed for another season, but Zamparini seems increasingly likely to go in a different direction.

A lot of speculation in the media claims that the Palermo president has already appointed Rossi’s successor by reportedly agreeing to terms with ex-Genoa boss Gian Piero Gasperini. If true, the Rosanero would lose the best coach in their recent history as well as one of the best in circulation in Italy for free.

Palermo now have one more game remaining in Serie A before playing the most important match in their history. A game against Chievo is hardly inspiring but it will serve as a crucial test ahead of the Coppa Italia final. Given the doubts heading into next year, this could be the last game played for many in Rosanero. In front of the home fans at the Renzo Barbera, a win would be the the best parting gift the supporters could ask for.

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