Last season Siena watched with a heavy heart as Inter lifted the Scudetto in the Stadio Artemio Franchi, in the midst of their own relegation they could not even grieve in peace as the Nerazzurri not only celebrated part of a momentous treble, but they also threw this success in the face of Siena fans who knew their Serie A life was over.
Less than five months have passed and how things have changed, last weekend Siena celebrated in their stadium after beating Modena by two goals to nil, putting even more force behind their ascent on Serie B. Top of the table after seven games and four points clear, fans of the Tuscan side maybe thinking it could be plain sailing all the way to the finishing line and on recent form who could blame them?
Antonio Conte started life with Siena with a 2-0 Coppa Italia win over Ternana and confidence was high, however, on the opening day of the league the Bianconeri could only manage a 1-1 draw away at Pescara – not a bad result, but the fans who expected a quick return may just have thought it was going to be a long season. They did not have time to ponder this as in the next match Conte’s side beat Reggina 2-1, before getting a good home 1-1 draw against Livorno who were also relegated last year and also are their Tuscan rivals. After this draw on derby day Siena have not looked back and have taken up an assault on the division. A 3-1 win at home to Cittadella could have been five or six had it not been for a missed penalty and countless opportunities and a hard fought 1-0 win against a very tough Atalanta team was a result they can be especially proud of. The next week saw Siena still continue to impress with yet another victory, this time 1-0 away at Piacenza, next in the way were Modena.
Siena welcomed Modena confident they could beat a team hovering around the relegation zone. In the first half their confidence was apparent as defender Cristiano Del Grosso drilled a shot from almost 30 yards out just wide of Enrico Alfonso’s right hand post. Modena also attacked but Cristian Pasquato’s lob failed to trouble the reliable Ferdinando Coppola. Both teams exchanged shots and both keepers were equal to them, the game looked fairly even and at half time the teams went in at 0-0. Straight from the off Siena pressured although they failed to create many chances, then a cross from deep found Daniele Ficagna who cushioned his header into the bottom right hand corner. Siena were now in full control and Filippo Carobbio nearly added as second from a free kick. On 90 minutes and to the delight of the fans at the Stadio Artemio Franchi neat through ball found Marcelo Larrondo who lashed the ball passed an out-stretched Ferdinando Coppola for 2-0, a good performance and all three points taken.
Siena march on and with eleven goals scored in seven games which include six different scorers and three each for Salvatore Mastronunzio and Marcelo Larrondo it is easy to see they have attacking prowess. Special mention should also go to Siena’s defensive spirit as they have conceded only a miserly four goals in this period. Siena’s path will be more clearly mapped after the next three matches as they play 7th place Triestina, 6th place Padova and then 3rd place Empoli. Should they still be clear at the top after these matches and it may be all the talk about the top of the table will involve second place.
The Siena faithful will know it is a long season and injuries or simply a poor run can make or break teams in this division, but at the moment they will not care. Being relegated after seven years in Italy’s top flight hurt them. In the first season they went up in 2003 they may have expected a quick return but instead this did not happen until they eventually thought they were an established Serie A team, a cruel blow indeed. The wait to see top flight football again could have been a long one but right now the way Siena are playing they look like they want to be back more than anyone and on this form who is going to stop them?