To say that it has been an eventful summer in Pisa would be a gross understatement. In the wake of returning to Serie B after nearly a decade away with a play-off win over Foggia, fan favourite and manager Gennaro Gattuso upped and left citing a break down in working relations with the board and unworkable conditions at the club.
Fans, appalled by the fact that the man who had transformed the club on the pitch could be treated in such a way by the club’s upper echelon promptly protested before a friendly match against Spanish side Celta Vigo. The result of which saw the match actually cancelled as 500 Pisa supporters basically barricaded the team hotel and refused to leave the players leave.
With Gattuso gone and no new manager in site preparation for the new campaign was not going smoothly. The tragic earthquake in central Italy then had the effect of postponing the Nerazzuri’s first match of the season away to Ternana, which was near the effected region. With no manager and a revolting fan base, Pisa were now already playing catch up in the league after only one fixture.
But more was incredibly yet to come, a new consortium stepped forward to purchase the club and with that seemingly set to go through Gattuso gladly made his triumphant return to the club. Where he was joyously met by over 5000 fans at the Arena Garibaldi.
With all this going on it was easy to forget that there was actually some football going on as well, as on Sunday just gone Pisa took to the field against Novara in their first match of the season. Which for good measure was being played in nearby Empoli, as Pisa’s run down concrete bowl of a stadium is not yet up to Serie B standards.
In the end the match could never live up to the roller-coaster ride that pre-season was, but it did end in the perfect way for the Pisans as 35-year-old Andrea Lisuzzo’s tenth minute close range header ended up being the only goal of the night. Three points for Gattuso’s men, Pisa are up and running.
Switching attention to another newly promoted side, Cittadella, who are making an early case to be this season’s underdog story as the Granata have got off to the perfect start with two wins from two. Their latest victims being Benito Carbone’s Ternana. Gianluca Litteri would open the scoring for Citta on 11 minutes before an Alessandro Salvi header from a corner on 61 minutes would seal all three points for the Granata, who are the only side to have a perfect record through two matches so far.
Seeing that we are on a roll lets continue to focus on the sides that were promoted from Lega Pro last season and in particular SPAL. Having lost to another newly promoted side, Benevento, in week one the Biancoazzurri were looking to get up and running against Vicenza. And boy did they do so in some style as they handed the Lane a comprehensive 3-0 defeat.
Mariano Arini opened the scoring for the hosts on ten minutes with a well taken strike from the edge of the area that curled perfectly away from the keeper. 11 minutes later it was 2-0, when Michele Cremonesi showed strength and determination to get his head to a corner from the right and nod home.
The third and finally goal would not come until right at the end but it was a nice one to wait for as Gianmarco Zigoni latched onto a ball over the top before taking it on a few yards and then crisply striking it into the bottom left corner from outside the area.
Switching attention away from the newly promoted sides and instead to Bari. The Galletti had suffered a surprise opening day defeat at the San Nicola and were looking to get up and running in week two. However, that was easier said than done as they faced a difficult trip to the Renato Curi to face Perugia. And difficult it did indeed prove to be as both sides struggled to break the other down and the times that they did they sadly were hampered by poor finishing. The match itself looked to be heading for a 0-0 draw until Bari were awarded a 95th minute penalty after a handball in the box.
It was the correct call by the official and one Bari made the most of as Riccardo Maniero stood up and drilled the ball home, much to the delirium of the travelling Galletti faithful.
We have concentrated on the sides that have come up how about the sides that dropped down from Serie A. Well it was certainly a mixed weekend for the three sides. Frosinone were handed a 2-0 defeat at the Rigamonti against Brescia. The youthful Leonardo Morosini and the veteran Andrea Caracciolo with the goals for the Biancoazzurri.
Carpi meanwhile were held to a draw by another side who have just escaped Lega Pro, Benevento. Filippo Falco opened the scoring for the Stregoni on 70 minutes with delicious curling effort from outside the box into the top left corner that left keeper Simone Colombi rooted to the spot. Sadly, for Benevento it would not prove two wins from two as with seven minutes to go Andrea Catellani drilled home from a tight angle to grab a share of the spoils for Carpi.
Pre-season favourites Verona were also held to a 1-1 draw this weekend but in the grand scheme of things a point away in Salerno against Salernitana is not the worst of results. Simone Ganz opened the scoring for the Gialloblu on six minutes, but just past the hour mark a beautifully worked move all the way up the pitch by the Granata ended with a cross from the left being placed on the head of Massimo Coda who made no mistake by putting it in the back of the net.
Of the remaining matches of week two, Pro Vercelli picked up an excellent point away to Trapani. Moreno Lungo’s men had lead in that one but will still be satisfied nonetheless. Latina and Spezia meanwhile played out a 0-0 draw at the Francioni, while Virtus Entella were convincing 2-0 winners over Avellino.
Finally, Ascoli’s match against Cesena was postponed due to stadium safety fears in the wake of the earthquake in the region.
View Table HERE.
Week 2 Results:
Brescia 2-0 Frosinone, Cittadella 2-0 Ternana, Perugia 0-1 Bari, Virtus Entella 2-0 Avellino, Carpi 1-1 Benevento, Latina 0-0 Spezia, Pisa 1-0 Novara, Salernitana 1-1 Verona, SPAL 3-0 Vicenza, Trapani 1-1 Pro Vercelli, Ascoli v Cesena (Postponed).