Controversy helps Lecce limp towards survival

Under a dark grey sky at the Stadio Via del Mare, Lecce came from two goals down against Brescia to claim what could prove a vital point in their struggle to stay in Serie A. Having pulled the score back to 2-2, they appeared to have succumbed to a late defeat when Brescia forward Andrea Caracciolo poked the ball home following a scramble in the penalty area. However the goal was disallowed, and Lecce were able to hang on for a point.
While a great deal has been made of the goal that wasn’t, far fewer column inches have been devoted to what was an exceptional fight back from a side who are refusing to go quietly back to Serie B. Despite falling behind early in the game, the Salentini did not collapse. Rather than concede defeat, they pressed forward and were rewarded when Daniele Corvia pulled a goal back mid-way through the first half. Gianni Munari then won a point for his side with an excellent run and finish. The furore surrounding Caracciolo’s disallowed goal will rumble on for some time, but the fact remains that Brescia had played like relegation candidates by letting a two goal lead slip away.
Lecce on the other hand, displayed enough battling qualities to suggest that they may yet beat the drop. They have done well in recent weeks, winning points against relegation rivals Cesena and Parma as well as Brescia, and have also claimed a point against AC Milan and beaten Juventus. In each of these games, Lecce have demonstrated a togetherness which points toward a light at the end of their tunnel.
Survival was always going to be the aim for the side after winning promotion from Serie B last season, and they are currently going the right way about achieving that aim. Club captain Guillermo Giacomazzi pointed out the unity of the squad in their desire to keep Lecce in Serie A, while praising their performances during his recent suspension, saying: “The team did really well even without me. That was once again proof of our strength as a unit and not individuals.”
On Friday, Lecce face Roma at Via del Mare. While they remain obvious underdogs, they will also be looking to take advantage of what Giacomazzi described as: “a wounded side.” With Roma focussed on their Champions League second leg clash with Shakhtar Donetsk, Lecce will be looking to put more ground between themselves and the relegation zone.
They are currently separated from Chievo in 13th by only three points and a strong performance against a distracted Roma sde would stand them in good stead for a difficult run of games to come including a trip to Inter, as well as encounters with fellow relegation candidates Sampdoria and Chievo. Should Lecce survive to fight another season in Serie A, they may well look back on their strong performances against Juventus and Brescia as the turning points of their campaign.

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