Times are changing in Sicily and Palermo is flying high.
There is so much to be excited about for Rosanero fans. Palermo has had NINE consecutive positive results in Serie A, an amazing feat that has seen points come from good squads such as AC Milan, Udinese and Genoa. A more impressive achievement is the continuous retainment of Manager Beppe Iachini at 469 days, trailing only the infamous Francesco Guidolin (491). After a sloppy start in Serie B season last term, Gennaro Gattuso got the ax and Iachini took over and never looked back. Not only did he secure promotion right away, he won the league, set the league record for points (86), yes better than Juventus’ one season in the lower level and has Palermo in a fight for European football this season. Iachini may be the biggest asset who gets the least amount of recognition. His players truly love and fight for him on the field and his passion is seen throughout the squad, albeit sometimes seen as too much as he has been sent off 3 times.
Tuesday’s match with Cagliari was one for the history books. Palermo secured the largest ever margin of victory in the Zamparini Era and saw only the third victory by five goals in club history in the top flight. Zamparini has to be all smiles after continuing the hot streak following the holiday break. The winter break is usually a momentum killer, especially after seeing players traveling back home to their far away families. Maybe Cagliari was jet-lagged? No, Palermo was just THAT good Tuesday afternoon.
Michel Morganella opened the scoring early on after his volley hit off a defender and deflected in. The second goal came just five minutes later via a set piece that was too tall for Franco Vazquez, but just right for Ezequiel Munoz’s chest. Just like that the rout was on! The match took a major twist on 26 minutes when Daniele Conti saw his second yellow and was sent off without protest. Less than ten minutes later, Paulo Dybala finished a laser penalty into the bottom corner that hit the net so hard it looked as if it hit the post and came out, but rest assured the penalty was golden as it was hit with a precision and strength.
The second half saw more possession from the Rosanero as they looked to add to the scoreline. The fourth goal of the afternoon came from who else, but Paulo Dybala, assisted by….Franco Vazquez on an amazingly timed play. Vazquez held up his defender and flicked the ball over his head, one bounce and on the half volley, Dybala’s magical left foot smoked the ball past keeper Simone Colombi.
The icing on the cake for the Rosanero came Il Capitano on 85 minutes. Edgar Barreto blasted a volley from 20 yards out, miraculously weaving its way through a mess of traffic and into the bottom left corner of the goal!
There are many questions lingering around the Rosanero at this time:
Will Munoz sign a new contract or will Zamparini pull a Antonio Norcerino move and get what he can before he’s free in June? Will Dybala and Vazquez stay past June? Will Stefano Sorrentino move to Serie B as Bologna cranks up the recruiting on him? Will Palermo qualify for Europe?
All of these are fair questions, but as fans of the Rosanero, you need to live in the moment that is a nine game positive point streak, a 469 day streak with the same manager, be proud of being in joint 7th place, and most of all, be proud that salvation is within our sights.