A cracker of a game filled with plenty of goals and numerous comebacks. In many ways, the last game of the 2011/12 season mirrored that very first game at the Barbera way back in September. The only major difference, of course, was that Palermo weren’t able to garnish the full three points.
Early on, it seemed like it would be an easy day in the sun for the Rosanero as Fabrizio Miccoli found the back of the net twice in quick succession. Even more fittingly than the captain bagging a brace on a day when his future in Sicily was uncertain was the man who set him up for both goals: Giulio Migliaccio. Much like his veteran teammate and bandiera, Migliaccio had also been the subject of much speculation regarding where he’d be next season. First, the Palermo warrior procured a penalty after being hauled down in the box, which Miccoli converted with ease. Then, more impressively, he rose above two Chievo defenders to deftly head the ball backwards into the box right in the path of a breaking Miccoli, who slipped behind the defense and calmly slotted it in for a comfortable 2-0 lead.
Then again, nothing has been comfortable or certain about Palermo this season. As has happened too many times to even tally, the Rosanero went to sleep for the next 50 minutes. In that span, Chievo managed to score four unanswered goals, three of which were down to shoddy, lackadaisical defending. The chief contributor to the horrid defending was the man who was brought in to shore up the defense prior to this season in Matias Silvestre. On two of the Chievo goals, Silvestre was incredibly inattentive and inept at making amends for his errors. It was a display from the Rosanero defender that was truly baffling, making many wonder whether his head was already elsewhere*, perhaps on vacation
*more on that later
With the Sicilians trailing 4-2 and only 18 minutes left to play, practically everyone had written off the match as a lost cause – everyone except for Miccoli. The man who saved Palermo’s skin this season did it one more time at home. A lovely floated ball over the top from Massimo Donati was brilliantly and acrobatically taken by Miccoli who had beaten the offside trap once again and volleyed it past a helpless Sorrentino. The goal brought Palermo within one and the Rosanero captain inspired some urgency and confidence back into the side. With his hat-trick complete, he almost had a fourth when his free kick smashed off the underside of the crossbar and went out.
The team would find the equalizer though. With a minute left, Miccoli delivered a corner to Migliaccio, who got the slightest of touches on it to angle it to Silvestre who smashed it home. It was a small reward for the wrongdoings committed earlier in the game by the defender but it tied the game nonetheless.
The Barbera saw off their players for the final time this year in a season that will not be remembered in any way for its results. What will be remembered is the play of its two pillars, perhaps in their final games in Rosanero. Giulio Migliaccio, the gritty warrior who gave his all for this club, had a part in three of the team’s four goals. Meanwhile, Fabrizio Miccoli, the man who single-handedly saved Palermo from relegation this season, scored his second hat-trick of the season (only one of two players to accomplish that feat in Serie A this year, the other is Diego Milito). If the two do end up leaving, they will always be remembered for what they gave for the shirt. Nothing has been decided but should they find themselves elsewhere, those at the Barbera will remember the swan song they gave one last time for the Rosanero faithful.
One person not worthy of praise is Matias Silvestre. The ex-Catania defender was bought by Palermo for a hefty amount over the summer in the hopes that his strong defensive skills and leadership would transfer over across the island. He had some good games but he also had some very poor performances, perhaps capped off by the display against Chievo. His stock has always been high and many teams have been interested in acquiring his services. Yet, several weeks ago, Silvestre stated that he wanted to stay in Palermo next season. It was a nice gesture and helped allay any concerns about a potential sale.
Fast forward to today and Silvestre had this to say to Tuttomercatoweb:
“When I accepted Palermo, and I’m well happy I did so, I thought I’d be competing in the Europa League and instead the team was quickly eliminated. Pained? No, but I’m surely disappointed for how the season ended, without having reached important objectives. For my future there are a lot of sirens? I know, I’ve heard them. And at this point, I have a wish: next year I want to play on an ambitious team, that plays in European competitions. I’ve heard of a lot of teams that are interested in me, I’m the right age to take a step up in quality. I have the desire to do it, next year. Obviously, whoever wants me must pay the price asked by the Rosanero club that spent a lot on me. And I want this to happen. I want to make the step up in quality…I feel like I’m ready. Abroad? I want to continue to play in Italy, I know that there are important teams that want me. But why not, if a great foreign team calls me, I’d think about it. Naturally, I want to thank Palermo for having believed in me.”
Palermo does not need mercenaries like Matias Silvestre. The warning signs were probably already evident. After all, Silvestre had no problem joining Palermo from rivals Catania without a problem. Given his aspirations, it appears that he’s not willing to fight for an objective but would rather have it fall in his lap. So, go. Get lost. Palermo wants motivated and humble players. Better a Muñoz for all his faults but who has the humility to work hard and get better than a man like Silvestre who believes he has nothing more to learn. As always, “esiste solo la maglia” and FORZA PALERMO!