Have Lecce missed their last chance saloon?

Languishing in 18th and on a run of two straight defeats, time is swiftly running out for Lecce. With only three games remaining this season, they require results against high flying Napoli, Champions League challengers Lazio and a Bari side playing with the freedom that only the certainty of relegation can provide. Things have very quickly gone from looking up to looking very, very bleak.
Just two weeks ago, Lecce were the proud holders of a three game unbeaten streak that included a hugely impressive 2-0 win over Udinese and a vital victory over Sampdoria. An impressive late fight back against Cagliari to claim a draw completed the sequence that followed hot on the heels of some good results and performances since Christmas. While teams around them struggled Lecce were going well and beginning to look like they might climb out of trouble.
That was reckoning without Lecce’s Achilles heel. Since Christmas, they have kept only three clean sheets, against Parma, Juventus and Udinese. Just as their attack was beginning to pull them out of trouble, they were thrown right back in at the deep end by their ridiculously leaky defence.
The statistics must have Luigi De Canio tearing his hair out. His side have scored more goals than all but one of the other sides in the bottom half of Serie A and yet they have been unable to escape their predicament. How can it be that a side able to shut out Udinese and concede only twice in two games against Inter leak three goals at home to Sampdoria, the most impotent side in the division?
Lecce certainly do not lack fight. While the likes of Sampdoria and Bari have often looked like they might go quietly, the Salentini are certainly not a side that will go down without a fight. They are resilient and will be confident of taking three points away at Bari despite the already-relegated side’s vastly improved performance against Roma at the weekend.
The problem will arise when they welcome Napoli and Lazio to Via del Mare. Despite Napoli being almost certainly out of the running for the Scudetto, they will want to finish the season with a flourish. Edinson Cavani will be licking his lips at the thought of what a good game against a defence as porous as Lecce’s could do for his quest to be Serie A top scorer. With Lazio still likely to be in the hunt for a Champions League place come the last game of the season, Lecce will have their work cut out to get a result in what could be the game that decides their fate.
But both Lazio and Napoli have recently suffered dips in form so Lecce’s cause is not lost just yet. While it will not be easy, the Salentini have shown a penchant for the unexpected this season and have the talent in their squad to perform a great escape in their remaining games.

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