Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Italy April 2016

Three games in Italy including a visit to Serie B leaders Crotone.

Pythagoreans draw.

15th April 2016  Crotone 0 Spezia 0  Serie B   9,229 ( c. 50 away)

Crotone (or Kroton) is famous for its Olympic athletes - the ancient Olympics that is - and being the home of Pythagoras.

But soon it will also be famous for having a team in Serie A.

Walking around the city you see red & blue flags everywhere.
The locals are anticipating a piece of history.

Not surprising since their heroes were sixteen points clear at the head of Serie B.

Although this was only goalless draw, not unknown in Italy, it was another step along the way for Crotone FC.

Spezia, likely to be in the playoffs themselves didn’t make it easy and they edged the first period.
The visitors created more chances but were let down by weak finishing.

Croatian striker Budimir did get the ball in the Spezia net but it was ruled out and generally the somewhat nervy home side were second best and obviously below par.

They did better in the second, though Spezia always offered threats going forward.

The match culminated in some late drama with a Palladino shot (he occasionally provided threats) and a goalmouth scramble which included Crotone hitting the post.

But no goals, despite which the home players celebrated, some bereft of their shorts, with the Curva Sud ultras.

It seems only a matter of time before these players and especially their Croatian coach Ivan Turic will be better known.

Bruno delivers the knockout.

16th April  Giana Erminio 2 Cremonese 1  Lega Pro  1,064 (c. 50 away)

I took a Ryanair flight from Crotone to Bergamo (those from the south cheered loudly when the plane landed), onward to Milan, then the metro to Gorgonzola.

The stadium is in the centre of this small town and nearby you can enjoy some fine wine in a local bar, next to the river.
Though the famous cheese was not amongst the nibbles there was plenty of other options,

Inside the ground I watched an entertaining, third level, encounter.

Despite the visitors being on top for most of the first half it was the guys from Gorgonzola who went ahead when Perico met a corner to volley them into the lead on 28 minutes.

Cremonese hit the frame of the goal a couple of times including a cracker from Pesce but they trailed at the break.

But soon after they were level when Breghenti diverted a shot past Paleari for the equaliser.

Then Salvatore Bruno took over.
Firstly the experienced Luca Vialli lookalike produced a spectacular overhead that was well saved, then he controlled a crossfield ball and drove in a fine winner.

It prompted much celebration.

And the home side comfortably held out for the victory.

Forza Ferretti.

17th April  Pavia 2 Reggiana 0  Lega Pro  680 (c. 80 away)

From Gorgonzola I stopped off in Pavia for this Sunday afternoon game between two mid-table teams.

The local ground, of four raised stands, feels very traditional.

To the left were a sizeable group of away fans plus many flags.

Sadly for them their team couldn’t quite capitalise on a promising start that including going close from a number of crosses.
Home goalie, Davide Facchin, was often in the way and he had a fine game.

The tide turned on 37 minutes when Malomo was at the far post to convert a left wing cross by Ferretti.
So Pavia went in one up and they added a second soon after the interval as Ferretti himself guided in a left footer.

The same man might have had another later but he mishit the opportunity.

As the half wore on it became clear that the visitors would not get back into the match.
And despite a generous six minutes of additional time they never really looked like recovering.

My route took me to the station, via Alessandria, on to Turin and the following day back to the UK.

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