Miccoli 10, (pen) 43, 79
It was a windy evening at the Renzo Barbera as the strong breeze could have been the culprit for some of the wayward corners and heavy passes. One side coveted the Champions League spot whereas the other side’s only objective is to stay in Serie A next season. The result was predictable as Palermo ran out comfortable winners against visitors Bologna.
Palermo started the game with a weakened backline as regular starters Simon Kjaer and Federico Balzaretti were suspended and Cesare Bovo was out with an injury. Holding midfielder Giulio Migliaccio started the game as center-back and Marco Calderoni, who is on loan from Piacenza, was handed his debut at left-back. Fabirizio Miccoli scored early in the game to put Palermo in command. However, Javier Pastore and Miccoli himself were guilty of missing two easy chances to put the game beyond doubt. The Rossoblu seemed to have bounced back into the game as Martins Adaílton scored an inch-perfect free kick, giving Salvatore Sirigu absolutely no chance. However, towards the end of first-half, Palermo won an extremely soft penalty which Miccoli duly converted. The tempo of the game slowed down in second half before Miccoli’s third goal, sealing the result for the Rosanero.
Miccoli’s superb hat-trick takes his tally to 13 goals this season and will surely spark debate about his inclusion in la Nazionale. While it is true that the diminutive striker is in hot form this season, age is not on his side and Bologna were not a formidable opposition. Miccoli is under no illusions and has publicly stated that he would prefer Champions League qualification rather than a trip to South Africa. He knows that Marcello Lippi has own set of players and his chances of making it to the World Cup are thin. While Miccoli will grab the headlines, the quiet Pastore continues to evolve into a fine playmaker. His through ball that resulted in the deadlock being broken was simply delightful.
Fabio Liverani has had a somewhat erratic season as he has been guilty of giving away the ball far too often in many of his earlier games. However, in this match, he controlled the rhythm of the game and dictated the play perfectly, in the spirit of a true deep-lying playmaker. His assist for Palermo’s third goal sums up his game. Abel Hernández, who started the game in place of the banned Edinson Cavani, caused problems for the Rossoblu defence with his pace, but in the end, did not offer any final product.
Bologna did not offer much in the game as they did not trouble Palermo’s makeshift defence at all. They could have been down by three goals within first half hour had Pastore and Miccoli not wasted a chance each. Adaílton and Marco Di Vaio were the only two players who remotely threatened the Palermo goal. The midfield could not provide them any service as Antonio Nocerino put in some hard work in the center. Taking nothing away from Miccoli, but goalkeeper Emiliano Viviano could have done better on the two goals from open play.
This result allows Palermo to consolidate fourth place this week and Bologna remain seven points clear of the relegation zone in spite of the defeat.