A Point In The Right DirectionBy: LorenzoRosanero | September 27th, 2011
The drought has ended. Not since a 1-0 win over Milan at the Renzo Barbera back in March had Palermo not allowed a goal – and that occurred with Serse Cosmi at the helm. To further prove how long it’s been, prior to the home win over Milan, Palermo’s last game in which they held their opponent to no goals while on the road occurred on January 9 at Chievo, where both sides played out a 0-0 draw. Up until Sunday, Palermo had gone 16 consecutive games in which they conceded at least one goal. The goalless draw against a good Lazio side should not be discredited.
Beyond the blanksheet, Palermo defended well as a team. Mangia has gotten the most out of his central pairing of Silvestre and Migliaccio while relying on the steadiness of Balzaretti and the grit of newcomer Pisano. It was unfortunate, then, that the Rosanero were unable to provide any sort of threat going forward. All in all, it was a dull game but valuable in terms of the point earned and the psychological breakthrough on the road. Going forward, if Palermo is to see any success this season, there needs to be more results garnered while away from the friendly confines of the Renzo Barbera.
On a negative-turned-positive note, the Stadio Olimpico proved once again to harbor certain factions amongst the Lazio fanbase that are filled with hatred. The jeers directed towards Acquah by a small group were terrible to see and hear. What occurred after the jeers began was beautiful to witness. As the racial insults hurled at Acquah began to pick up, they were quickly drowned out by the rest of the crowd there – Palermo and Lazio fans alike. More action towards racism, like what happened at the Olimpico, needs to continue to happen at stadiums across Europe when stupidity sullies the beautiful game. Forza Palermo!
Tzorvas – 8 – The man of the match for Palermo. The Greek keeper had his best performance in his short career in Rosanero making some good saves to give the club its first blanksheet in 17 matches. He only made one error on the day when he rushed out to punch a ball clear that landed at the feet of Cissè but the opportunity went wasted.
Pisano – 7 – Following the trend, Pisano also enjoyed his best performance for Palermo to date. The kid has a lot of heart in him and did well to stifle the Lazio attack throughout the course of the match. He may get beaten from time to time, but when he does, he doesn’t give up on the play. It happened against Inter and Cagliari and happened once again against Lazio. Admirable qualities from a player who has a lot of potential.
Silvestre – 7.5 – The central defender Palermo has been missing for a long time. It sounds repetitious but it’s a fact. Palermo may have spent a lot over the summer to acquire him, but the affair looks well-worth it early on in the season. He’s a true leader in defense.
Migliaccio – 7 – A converted central defender, Giulio continues to look like a natural back there. He’ll make the occasional error but for a man used to the midfield, it’s remarkable how well he’s played. Lately, he’s stated he likes playing back there but will play anywhere for the team. Interesting to see how Migliaccio continues to be first choice over Muñoz, but it could change when Cetto finally recovers from his injuries.
Balzaretti – 7 – Fluid and tireless like always.
Zahavi – 6 – Eran had a little bit of a setback from his previous effort against Cagliari. He inserted himself well at times but his decision-making and runs were a little questionable on other occasions. If he took a better touch from Iličić’s incisive pass, Palermo could’ve stolen a win. Still, the Israeli has quality and can be a valuable player for Palermo.
Barreto – 6 – Like the rest of the midfield, the overall performance was just a slight regression from games past. The good thing about Edgar is his tendency to attack the opposition immediately rather than let them run at him.
Della Rocca – 6 – Francesco was anonymous for stretches of the game but he did make several valuable contributions ahead of the defense. Still, his fitness might not be totally there yet.
Bertolo – 7 -The best of the midfield bunch, Nico runs a lot and earned quite a few fouls. He has pace and stealthy dribbling skills. The bigger question remains whether or not he stays in the starting lineup when Edgar Alvarez is available. He has made the most of his opportunity so far.
Pinilla – 5.5 – He had one opportunity the entire match and placed his shot too centrally . Other than that, there was running and winning free kicks but none of it ever presented Palermo with dangerous opportunities to score.
Abel Hernandez – 5.5 -Much like Mauricio, Abel provided little threat to Lazio as well. He had one opportunity but, like Pinilla, it went wasted. The Palermo attack had a down performance overall but fortunately Palermo was able to earn a point.
Acquah – 6.5 -Afriyie did a good job coming on and even managed to keep his disciplinary record clean. He still gets a bit too selfish when pushing forward as he absolutely must pass the ball to the other attackers around him rather than trying to shoot from distance (seemingly always off target).
Iličić – 6.5 – Coming off the bench, Josip initially looked disinterested. However, glimpses of the real Iličić manifested themselves as he began to terrorize the Lazio defense. He was mobile and made several good plays. Hopefully he can continue on the right path and return to being a valuable and indispensable asset to Palermo.
Bačinović – s.v.
Devis Mangia – 7 – The personality Mangia brings from the sideline is valuable to this entirely new squad. He kept a grieving Miccoli out of the starting lineup and even preferred not to sub him on when tactically it made sense. Bertolo probably should’ve stayed on the pitch while sacrificing Zahavi. Nevertheless, hindsight is 20/20 and Palermo earned a valuable point on the road.