You can’t say that we didn’t warn you. Requested to clarify simply how little Benevento, from the Campania area, finds itself in Serie A this season, for the primary time ever, critics like your correspondent final summer season pointed to the city’s so-called “magical” qualities.
The factor is that, since historical Roman occasions, Benevento has been referred to as the “metropolis of Sorcerers”, the house city of wizards. Some would possibly even argue, with all due respect to then coach Marco Baroni, that it was solely because of the efforts of wizards and witches that the membership unexpectedly made it to Serie A final spring.
No matter about that promotion, you would be forgiven for arguing that the wizards had been onerous at work down in Benevento final Sunday. Till then, Benevento’s season had been an unmitigated catastrophe. Their file learn: Performed 14, Misplaced 14, Zero factors. After which alongside got here the mighty AC Milan, themselves just a bit shaky following final week’s sacking of coach Vincenzo Montella, changed by 2006 World Cup winner, Rino Gattuso.
After we regarded on the fixture record, most of us thought that Gattuso had been gifted an excellent beginning place as Milan coach, with an away fixture towards Benevento, the membership which now holds the Italian all-time file for the worst seasonal begin. Absolutely this function will get Gattuso off to a great begin, no?
Certainly, as we headed into damage time, that was the best way it regarded. After an admittedly unconvincing efficiency, Milan regarded able to wrap up an important 2-1 away victory. Buoyed by a objective simply after half-time and never resigned regardless of a second Milan objective 5 minutes later, Benevento poured ahead within the closing minutes towards a defensive Milan, down to 10 males within the wake of the 75th minute sending-off of defender, Alessio Romagnoli.
Because the cease watch hit 95 minutes, Benevento had been awarded a free-kick out on the left, near the penalty space. From the Benevento bench, somebody shouted at goalkeeper Alberto Brignoli to “stand up there” for what would most likely be Benevento’s final likelihood.
It is a scene that we witness week after week. In a closing, all or nothing dramatic gesture, the goalkeeper rushes as much as the opposite finish for the injury-time nook kick which may simply save the day. Gigi Buffon, within the final seconds of Italy’s World Cup play-off elimination by Sweden final month, is simply the newest in a protracted line of keepers to hurl themselves into the attacking fray.
In Buffon’s case, as in most different circumstances, the gesture was completely in useless; usually the keeper will get nowhere close to the cross. The distinction, although, is that Buffon and pals should not have the witches and wizards on their aspect. Brignoli took a deep breath, shut his eyes and pulled off what he subsequently known as “a goalkeeper’s leap” to attain an historic objective that gave Benevento a 2-2 draw and their first level of the season.
For 26-year-old Brignoli, making solely his ninth look in Serie A after a profession till now with decrease division sides comparable to Montechiari, Lumezzane and Ternana, this was an surprising pleasure, “one which I’ll at some point proudly inform to my grandchildren”. Even at Benevento, Brignoli didn’t begin this season as first-choice goalkeeper, having changed Slovenian Vid Belec on the eighth day of the season.
The person who made that call, then coach Marci Baroni, was not on the bench on Sunday, having been changed by Roberto De Zerbi simply 5 weeks again. A journeyman participant whose enjoying profession touched many golf equipment and included two Romanian titles with CFR 1907 Cluj, De Zerbi began off as a youth workforce participant at guess the place – why, Milan, after all.
De Zerbi and Benevento, could nicely have put yet one more spanner within the Milan works because the aspect which reportedly spent greater than €250 million on new gamers this summer season continues to misfire in Serie A. Milan now lie joint 7th in Serie A after a draw about which Gattuso mentioned that “a knife within the abdomen would have been higher than that objective”.
Worse nonetheless for the Milan followers is that the consideration that on the finish of a big weekend, it’s their metropolis cousins, Internazionale, who now sit atop Serie A following on their 5-Zero destruction job of Chievo and following, above all, that 1-Zero Juventus win over Napoli on Friday evening, knocking the Naples membership off the highest. (We did counsel that it was somewhat untimely to be writing off the “Outdated Girl”).
Inter, too, appear to be a extra severe aspect, week after week. With 18 factors extra by comparability with the identical date final season, having conceded 11 fewer targets and scored 11 extra, and all with a largely unchanged squad, you would need to conclude that this season’s new coach, Luciano Spalletti, should be doing one thing proper.
The highest of Serie A, too, is immediately trying very aggressive, led by Inter on 39 factors adopted by Napoli on 38, Juventus on 37 and Roma on 34 (however with a sport in hand). After the trauma of Italy’s World Cup elimination, are the followers about to be compensated with probably the most carefully contested Serie A title contest in years?
That is still to be seen. These are nonetheless early days. What is definite, nonetheless, is that final weekend’s outcomes have set us up for a mouth-watering “derby d’Italia” in Turin subsequent Saturday evening between champions Juventus and leaders Inter. Having final weekend struck a serious dent in Napoli’s ambitions, who’s to say that the Outdated Girl won’t repeat the trick towards Inter?
Internazionale, nonetheless, go into this sport with at the least one benefit, particularly no midweek European fixture. Juventus, in distinction, journey to Athens for an away Champions League tie towards Olympiakos on Tuesday evening, figuring out that to make certain of their place within the second spherical, they should win.
Maybe, probably the most fascinating, if apparent sub-plot to this nice Juve-Inter drama considerations the 2 males main the respective assaults, Argentine rivals Mauro Icardi and Gonzalo Higuain. Each males are in beautiful kind as evidenced each by Icardi’s 16th objective of the season towards Chievo and, arguably much more, by Higuain’s monstrous 13th minute match-winner towards Napoli. Stand by for an enormous evening on the Allianz Stadium and be careful too for any indicators of broom sticks or related sorcery.