As we head into the international break, Lecce Coach Luigi De Canio can breathe a huge sigh of relief after his side’s 1-0 victory against Catania at the Stadio Via del Mare on Sunday. A 37th-minute Daniele Corvia strike got the Salentini over the finishing line on a tense afternoon in Puglia.
The hosts suffered two first half scares, with Antonio Rosati denying Catania’s Maxi Lopez from close range early on, and Medina Da Silva Fabiano clearing off the line after Lopez broke clear again in the 34th minute. But Corvia clinched the points, volleying home Ruben Oliveira’s left-wing cross at the far post.
De Canio had stated prior to the game the lunchtime kick-off held no fears for his side, and although he was missing his inspirational captain Guillermo Giacomazzi through suspension, the other darling of the tifosi, Corvia, came good just at the right moment to ease the pressure on the Coach.
In his post match press conference, De Canio could hardly contain his satisfaction:
“Against Parma and Palermo, we have not succeeded due to tiredness and other factors but today we have held strong against a very good side. My players take a lot of credit as we have had to change things around a little due to injuries and suspensions. I applaud their dedication,” he beamed.
“My boys competed today against a side of superior quality, we never gave up in our quest for victory. Again we tired towards the end but this was due to the time of day and the heat inside the stadium. This victory was of major importance to us and now we can look forward to our trip to Turin to face Juventus in two weeks time,” De Canio concluded.
Goal hero Corvia was equally jubilant and echoed his manager’s thoughts:
“If we play with this mentality for the rest of the season, we will survive in Serie A,” the striker commented.
The importance of getting three points from the game was probably best expressed by the scenes at the end when Club President Pierandrea Semeraro leapt into the air as if his side had just clinched the Scudetto. The squad now has three days off to recuperate and those who have not been called up for international duty will recommence training on Thursday ahead of the big clash with the Bianconeri on October 17.
De Canio will hope that striker Javier Chevanton will be available for selection after injury, as well as David Di Michele. Captain Guillermo Giacomazzi will certainly be ready after serving his one-match ban on Sunday. One player who is stealing all the headlines for his outstanding performances at the moment is Ignacio Piatti. The 25-year-old was signed from Independiente in the summer and looks set for great things in the peninsula.
After another outstanding display by the Argentine midfielder against Catania, De Canio fired this warning to the rest of the division:
“Piatti is a great player, he is getting stronger and stronger with every game. At this moment I believe he is only playing to 50-60% of his capabilities. We saw his qualities in Argentina, so that is why we fought hard to bring him to the club.”
Piatti’s favourite position is just behind the striker and he played the role to perfection in Sunday’s victory. Lecce’s main worry, of course, will be the ability to keep him in Puglia should his form continue in this way.
Meanwhile, the Club’s Primavera side were involved in a thrilling 2-2 draw at home to local rivals Bari on Saturday. The hosts found themselves two goals in front after 50 minutes thanks to Lorenzo Legari and Giglio, but in a dramatic last 12 minutes, the visitors fought back through Grandolfo and Damore to take a share of the points. The equaliser came four minutes into injury time – a mirror image of the first team’s game in Sicily a week earlier.
There were also some great wins for the club’s other junior sides over the weekend. The Allievi Nazionali and the Giovanissimi Nazionali beat their counterparts from Salernitana 1-0 and 3-1 respectively, while the Allievi Regionali squad thrashed P Giannotti 7-1.
Early October has seen the Club make major strides in all areas but the hard work is just beginning for all concerned.