Bonucci 5, Alvarez 7, Barreto (pen) 62, Koman (85)
Cavani 28, Pastore 54
Calcio fans who invested their time in the encounter between Bari and Palermo were paid rich dividends as the two teams from southern Italy played out a thoroughly entertaining match. Bari once again proved their strength at Stadio San Nicola through some clinical finishing and put an end to Palermo’s seven-game unbeaten run. The Rosanero were far from being awful in the match and showed plenty of fighting spirit. However, they committed too many errors and Bari mercilessly exploited each and every one of them.
The Galletti were looking to bounce back from their 2-1 defeat to Bologna last week and got off the mark literally swiftly. Palermo were caught off guard by their speedy attacks and were stunned by goals from Leonardo Bonucci and Edgar Alvarez. The Rosanero tried to remain composed and tried to claw their way back into the game. The theme of rest of the half was Palermo trying to claw their way back into the game by building from the midfield whereas Bari trying to capitalize on the counter-attacks. The goal by Edison Cavani was the result of one such build-up and Palermo were getting on top.
The first turning point of the game was substitution of Federico Balzaretti on 33 minutes. Balzac was in his usual marauding best on the left flank and provided the assist for Cavani’s goal. His substitute Cristian Melinte is not viewed very highly by the Palermo fans. The inexperienced Romanian was roasted by the speedster Edgar Alvarez from time to time. Melinte’s late tackle on Andrea Masiello in the box missed the ball completely and resulted in a penalty which Barreto duly converted. It is unclear why Coach Delio Rossi removed Balzaretti from the pitch in the first place. If it had nothing to do with physical reasons, then it was a very poor decision.
Fabio Liverani had an extremely miserable game. Riccardo Allegretti stole the ball from under his nose and provided the pass that led to Bari’s second goal. Liverani was not able to take control of the midfield and dictate play. The first yellow he received was as a result of argument with Sergio Almiron whereas a high tackle saw him earn a second yellow along with marching orders. The Rosanero were fatigued and could not cope up with the pace of Bari with one man down. Palermo president Maurizio Zamparini was furious with Liverani and Melinte: “I really did not expect such naïveté from a man of Liverani’s experience. As for Melinte, he was hopeless. I told my director of sport to send him to Serie B.”
On the bright side, Javier Pastore was by far Palermo’s best player on the night. His ability to skip past defenders in true South American style caused problems for Bari all afternoon. After finding out that his service is not being put to good use, Pastore took matters in his own hands and scored a wonderful goal. The Argentine possesses a good combination of dribbling skills and a powerful shot and will surely turn heads of teams higher up in the league.