Palermo 3-1 Roma: Miccoli and the Rosanero Fire Up Stadio Barbera (Serie A Matchday 2)

Who knows? Maybe Maurizio Zamparini’s never-ending “I love you… no I hate you, you’re fired” attitude might be working to some degree. The Palermo president probably surely holds he record for most manager terminations in the entire Serie A, and this season’s debut was no exception to that reputation (Stefano Colantuono’s head was the first to go on matchday 1). So, matchday 2 was the opportunity for new coach Davide Ballardini to set the record straight against Roma. Not the easiest of games mind you…

Well, it might be a bit early to say this yet, but Ballardini just might have turned this team around. Down by a goal in the first half, the Rosanero managed to find the psychological and physical resources to overcome their disadvantage, and then turn the game right on its head. O Totti where art thou?

(From Gazzetta dello Sport): As far as poker faces go, Luciano Spalletti lost his very early into the match. Indeed, Roma immediately put their cards on the table with a the very clear intention of scoring first, particularly thanks to Cicinho‘s offensive verve on the right wing. And thus, despite the many new faces compared to the Giallorossi’s “usual” line-up, it only took 8 minutes for the visitors to open the score: a De Rossi-Aquilani-Okaka-Julio Baptista combination was nicely finalized by the Brazilian “Beast”, and Roma were ahead. 1-0.

What the Giallorossi hadn’t factored in into their calculations, was Ballardini’s uncanny ability (as demonstrated in last year’s tenure with Cagliari) to turn a team’s morale inside out as if it were a freshly washed piece of laundry. The shock of conceding a goal was a fast thing to absorb for the Rosanero, who immediately started to roam forward close to Doni’s box with dangerous intentions (Simplicio, Cavani, and a Miccoli in smashing form leading the way). Cicinho’s offensive prowess was turning to be a double-edged sword for Spalletti, because the right-backs’s efficiency at covering was nowhere near as good as his contribution to the attacking effort.

As a result, it was precisely on that side that Palermo managed to break through, first through Cavani (two one-on-ones with Doni, neutralized by the Brazilian keeper) and then through Fabrizio Miccoli. On the latter chance, the ex-Juve and Benfica striker invented a beautiful dribble on the edge of the box and a smashing top-corner finish to go with it. 1-1 in great style.

Roma were really not in “it” at this point, and Daniele De Rossi’s neck injury before the break certainly didn’t do much to help the proceedings. Palermo on the other hand were galvanized by their equalizer, and their morale boost extended way into the second half (probably also thanks to the Ballardini magic half-time recipe). Fabio Liverani gave everyone the illusion of yet another goal (a great free-kick just inches wide of the post), before Fabrizio Miccoli stuck once again the dagger into Roman hearts: it was minute 56, and the “Romario del Salento” had just exploited a Simplicio steal to poke the ball under Doni’s body. 2-1 Palermo.

Roma were expected to fight back at this point. Spalletti tried alternative solutions by replacing Taddei with French (future) star Jeremy Menez. It had little or no effect. Instead, the Rosanero continued to dominate all of ball possession, offensive creativity, and yes, goals. In minute 73 and set up yet again by Fabio Simplicio, Edison Cavani put the icing on the Palermo cake by sending the ball past Doni for the third time. 3-1 and game over.

Without Mèxes, De Rossi, and Totti, there is just something missing from this “Roma Reloaded” team…

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U.S. Città di Palermo
PALERMO-ROMA
3-1
[Match Highlights]
A.S. Roma
GOALSCORERS: 8’ J.Baptista (R), 20’, 56’ Miccoli (P), 73’ Cavani (P).
PALERMO (4-3-1-2): Amelia – Cassani, Bovo, Carrozzieri, Balzaretti – Nocerino, Liverani (59’ Guana), F.Simplicio – Bresciano (84’ Migliaccio) – Miccoli (61’ Lanzafame), Cavani. (bench: Fontana, Dellafiore, Succi, Raggi). Coach: Ballardini.
ROMA (4-2-3-1): Doni – Cicinho, Loria, Panucci, Riise – De Rossi (37’ Mat.Brighi), D.Pizarro – Taddei (60’ Ménez), Aquilani, J.Baptista – Okaka (76’ Montella). (bench: Artur, Vucinic, Tonetto, Cassetti). Coach: Spalletti.

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