Last year, Palermo began the season with a Coppa Italia match against Cremonese. The Rosanero beat the Grigiorossi 3-1 at the Renzo Barbera. The Sicilians then went on to face Hellas Verona, a Serie B side at the time, in front of the Rosanero faithful. Palermo would be knocked out by Verona 2-1, courtesy of a second half own-goal from Carlos Labrin. This year, the story arc has followed the same path: Palermo beat Cremonese once again – this time 2-1, and now face Hellas Verona once more. Will history repeat itself?
Surprisingly, Palermo will host Hellas Verona despite being in Serie B while the visitors are now in A. This fortunate break is due to scheduling and seeding. Chievo Verona also plays tomorrow and holds the higher seeding over Hellas. Since both clubs share the same stadium, the Serie A newcomers must play on the road.
The match will provide a very good test for Palermo. After squaring off against Cremonese, a side in Lega Pro, Gattuso’s men will test their mettle against a team in a category above them. Verona boss Andrea Mandorlini insists the Rosanero are a squad of Serie A caliber and his side will have to fight hard to pass the turn. Regardless of the result, the more interesting factor in play is whether or not Palermo can compete for an entire match. Gattuso noted the squad was visibly tired in the game’s final 20 minutes, causing increased pressure on the defense. As the Serie B season draws near, it will be imperative to make sure the players are approaching the ideal fitness levels needed for a long, tough campaign.
Both clubs will be missing key players. For Palermo, Edgar Barreto and Ezequiel Muñoz will not be available and an early morning test will determine whether Kyle Lafferty is ready to go as he was dealing with a sore Achilles’. For the Mastini, the squad will be without defender Alejandro González and striker Daniele Ragatzu because of injury, while defender Fabrizio Cacciatore is suspended, midfielder Emil Hallfreðsson is being rested after playing internationally mid-week and promising new midfielder Ezequiel Cirigliano is still waiting for his transfer to be made official. Yet, the team is chock full of attacking talent. Daniele Cacia was the capocannoniere of Serie B last season to the tune of 24 goals and has been linked to Palermo all summer as a potential replacement should Abel Hernandez depart. Other familiar faces to be found in Verona are Luca Toni, Bosko Jankovic and Massimo Donati. It’ll be interesting to see what kind of response each of them receives from the Palermo public. The smart bet would be a hostile one.
Probable Palermo Lineup
Pisano – Terzi – Andelkovic – Daprelà
N’Goyi – Bolzoni
Lores – Dybala – Stevanovic
Palermo bench: Ujkani; Milanovic, Morganella, Struna; Bacinovic, Di Gennaro, Embalo, Sanseverino, Troianiello; Abel Hernandez, Malele
SIAMO TERRONI E CE NE VANTIAMOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!