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Macellaccio and the Uruguayans

November 6, 2011

Serie A Sat 5 Nov 2011

Palermo 3-1 Bologna

Stefano Pioli must not know whether he’s coming or going. The Bologna manager, at his third club of this year, was treated to two simultaneous homecomings on Saturday. First off, he’s still in the official honeymoon period (©) at Bologna, where he started his coaching career with the youth team in 1999. Secondly, of course, he was returning to the Stadio Renzo Barbera, from where Maurizio Zamparini had banished him at the end of August.

“…that’s f*cking Barbera…”

The Renzo Barbera – currently named after a previous chairman of Palermo – has a schizophrenic past. In the nearly 82 years since it was built, it has taken the name Stadio Littorio, as fascist homage to Ancient Roman civil servants; Stadio Michele Marrone, in honour of a soldier who died in the Spanish Civil War; and Stadio La Favorita, after a country estate of Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II.

Lictor (Littorio), ieri

It was renamed Renzo Barbera on the club’s return to Serie A in 2002, a mighty act of humbleness on Zamparini’s part, given his usual nature.

As for Pioli, he was neither put on trial, shot at or hunted. In fact given the clumsy play in the first half, Stadio Hanna Barbera might have been more appropriate.

Macellaccio

Guglio Migliaccio - Macelaccio

After 30 seconds, a flying elbow found purchase on the bald head of Palermo midfielder Giulio Migliaccio. Blood flowed. He got a plaster stuck on his head. More blood flowed. Migliaccio took regular breaks from the game to get more and more bandage wound round his head. He continued to charge around, though, doing his best Terry Butcher impression.

While Guilio Macellaccio was getting blood in his eyes, the 19 other outfield players were creating their own blind spots. Rarely have I seen so many passes in one game attempted with no glance at all towards where they were going. Presently Palermo tired of the party games, with Bacinovic picking up the ball and striding forward from midfield. Eran Zahavi took note, and followed his example on 13’. The Israeli broke from outside his own box, carrying the ball to the Bologna ‘D’. There he slipped it sideways to Bacinovic, who shot into ‘keeper Gillet’s body, naturally. Zahavi followed up, tapping in an Eran shot (ha!).

The goal – one of the few occasions when Bologna’s defence was drawn out of its proper shape – settled the nerves of the home side somewhat. And when Uruguayan striker Abel Hernandez was forced off with a hamstring pull a minute later, it appeared the Rosanero might settle for defending their lead.

Fortunately for neutrals, Bologna have Uruguayans of their own.  Macellaccio met one of them, as Copa America winner Diego Perez and he made handbags out of sows’ ears together. Both were booked. Our friendly local Macellaccio also showed his delicate side, bringing out his inner thespian to avoid a second booking for a lunge on Gaby Mudingayi. The depilated midfielder was then lucky not to get booked for simulation after Morleo’s sliding tackle missed him comfortably.

The second half

After the break, things kept on refusing to calm down. Josep Ilicic decided to only play in backheels. Bologna responded by sarcastically flicking the ball on at every opportunity, even when it was easier to control it. The result was wacky – the 1 in 100 chance that lack of control led to plenty of opportunities, as defenders and attackers seemed to forget how to read the ball. Marco Di Vaio, however, hasn’t the pace to capitalise on this ‘style’ of play, and it meant that when Palermo put passes together, as Ilicic and Zahavi did continuously, they looked dangerous. The Slovenian in particular stretched Bologna with perfect cross-field balls. Zahavi got an assist to go with his goal on 53’, reviving a Palermo corner to place the ball on the head of Matias Silvestre. Ilicic got his reward soon after, slipping a delightful ball over the top from Varela under the keeper.

Bologna’s insistence on moving the ball as if they were level paid off with a lovely consolation goal. Gaston Ramirez got his third of the season after a penalty box one-two with fellow Uruguayan Henry Gimenez. Interestingly, Perez and Ramirez are in the Uruguay squad to face Chile and Italy in the next two weeks, as Abel Hernandez surely would have been without his injury. The three all came through South America’s most successful club, Penarol, before moving to Europe.

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