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

Owen Neilson On September - 29 - 2011

Serie B Focus: Shoot-out At The Romeo Menti

History was made in Serie-B this weekend. Juve Stabia, the minnows from Castellammare di Stabia hadn’t won in the division since beating Reggiani 2-1 at home on the 20th April 1952. That was one of only three wins in the second half of the season as they tumbled into ignominy for the best part of six decades.
On Saturday the sun rose for the 21,707th time and that wait finally came to an end with a 3-2 win over Pescara. Four defeats and a draw wasn’t the start Stabia coach Piero Braglia had envisioned nor was Romulo Togni’s free-kick that gave the Dolphins an early lead.
Tomas Danilevicius and Matteo Scozzarella put the home-side ahead cuing rapturous celebrations from the players minutes into the second half until Ivano Baldanzeddu felled Lorenzo Insigne in the box; 2-2 with 18 mintues to play.
There was something of the Wild West about the Stadio Romeo Menti as Stabia returned to the half-way line, their bodies cramped, sweat pouring, the pitch baked in the Campania sun. The crowd, vociferous after the penalty became rabid, spitting at the fourth official and subsequently incurring a €10,000 fine for their beloved club.
The minutes ticked by, Andrea Raimondi stung the gloves of Luca Anania, before the midfielder burst into the box and was fouled by Antonio Bocchetti. The defender saw red and it was a shoot out at the O.K Coral all over again.

Perhaps there was a tumble weed, perhaps not, but the hour was late as shadows quivered on the pitch. Up stepped Horacio “Wyatt” Erpen to take the kick, his eyes met Anania’s then the ball, and back to the keeper. Silence. 500,000 hours, 31 million minutes, some 1.87 billion seconds since the last win at the Stadio Menti. Pressure? What pressure. With the weight of time on his shoulders the 30 year-old Argentinean calmly performed the ‘cucchiaio’ or chipped penalty down the middle as the Stabiese went berserk. He told afterwards, “Imagine if the goalkeeper had been standing I would have taken the first plane to Argentina and run away,” but his gunslinger cool will make him more Stabia folklore than outlaw.
A further €1,000 fine was tacked on for deliberately delaying the match by 2 minutes. If FIGC President Giancarlo Abete is rubber-stamping €500 a minute fines for time wasting in Serie-B, what did an entire matchday in Serie-A equate to? A holiday.
Zdenek Zeman’s Pescara meanwhile suffered a second successive defeat and have real headaches in defence; conceding 13 goals in six games.
Brescia, Padova and Torino took hold of top spot, leapfrogging Sassuolo, after the Neroverde’s defensive frailties finally caught up with them as they were undone by two Alessandro Marotta penalties.
‘Thank you, Sir! May I have another’
Marco Viti may still be up to his ‘gomiti’ in spit shine but Marco Di Bello returned to action in Gubbio’s 0-0 with Varese. The 30 year-old referee was understandably reluctant to give an early penalty to the home side after the phantom one he gave three weeks ago, instead  booking Daniele Bazzoffia for simulation when he appeared to be caught in the box. Luckily for Di Bello an absence of quality saved him from any further major decisions.
However our third chuckle-brother, Giampaolo Calverese who condemned Gubbio to the biggest defeat in the league so far this season played a master stroke in Friday night’s 1-1 between Vicenza and Livorno.  Calvarese had slipped from focus in the refereeing magnifying glass, but returned in style when contentiously ruling out Simone Barone’s 30 yard volley for an injury to goalkeeper Alberto Frison.
The ball was crossed in high from the right, Brazilian striker Paulinho jumped for a header but was beaten to it by Frison who came off his line quickly to punch clear. No foul was given against Paulinho and the ball looped up to Barone who fired a low volley through the defence, past the prone Frison into an empty net. Goal? 0-2 to the visitors? Of course not, the goal was ruled out because Frison was down.
This raises an interesting question about referees’ interpretation of the rules of the game. Law 5 states; The referee stops the match if, in his opinion, a player is seriously injured and ensures that he is removed from the field of play.
In this incident Frison punched the ball colliding with Paulinho and didn’t attempt to get up after falling. However, as soon Calvarese approached Frison sat up and caught his breath while Walter Novellino the Livorno manager fumed on the touchline. The same happened to Luciano Spalletti’s Zenit St.Petersburg last week in the game with Rubin Kazan, but the referee Sergei Karasev ruled in favour of the attacking side.
Perhaps Calvarese made the right decision, Frison could have been seriously hurt, but if referees stopped play every time a player went down we’d rarely finish a game in Italy.

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