Frankly Frustrating

Palermo striker Matteo Brunori laments his miss against Virtus Francavilla

As has been the story all season long, Palermo failed to take any points from their match on the road against Virtus Francavilla.

The Sicilians fell to Virtus Francavilla 2-1 and slid from fifth place to seventh place in the Serie C, group C table. With 10 matches remaining, Palermo are still sitting somewhat comfortably in the playoff zone, but that’s about it.

The Rosanero started the match well and thoroughly dominating the opening 20 minutes. They were unlucky to go ahead, partly due to the heroics of Francavilla keeper Tommaso Nobile and partly due to the poor finishing from several Palermo players. And of course, while the Sicilians were playing their best stretch of the match, all it took was one incident to have it all come crashing down. In the 24th minute, Palermo’s left back Maxime Giron stumbled into Francavilla’s trequartista Federico Mastropietro in the box. Penalty awarded to the home side. Even though Alberto Pelagotti dove the right way, Pasquale Maiorino placed his shot perfectly into the bottom left corner. The goal deflated the confidence of the Rosanero even though they had plenty of time to get back into the match. In the 57th minute, Cosimo Patierno doubled Francavilla’s lead with a nice one-timed shot that caught Pelagotti by surprise, beating him at his near post from the top of the box. Palermo had a lifeline in the 73rd minute when they won a penalty that top scorer Matteo Brunori converted. It was Brunori’s 15th goal of the season, placing him second overall in the group C Capocannoniere table. But Brunori’s goal was not enough. The Rosanero had several more opportunities to draw level but they were either thwarted by Nobile or off target.

The home/road splits for the Rosanero continue to be staggering. It is the principal reason why this club has not been able to find any consistency or press for second place. How bad is it? Well, if the standings only took home matches into account, Palermo would be in 4th place and just four points off of first place. They are undefeated at the Stadio Renzo Barbera in 11 matches this season with seven wins and four draws. They’ve only conceded five goals at home, compared to 19 scored. That’s the second best differential outside of leader Bari’s 24:7 mark. In contrast, the away table underlines the problem: 13th place and only nine points earned thanks to just two wins, three draws and five losses. They also have a -5 goal differential with 8 goals for and 13 conceded. Until Silvio Bandini can sort out this Jekyll and Hyde act, promotion is a pipe dream.

In the end, it was another frustrating microcosm of the season at large. Palermo played well, dominated large portions of the match and frankly deserved better but come away with nothing to show for it. To their credit, Virtus Francavilla buried both of their chances and earned their 8th win in a row at home to move to third place. Palermo are stuck with self-reflection looking once more for a restart in hopes of finally turning the corner on the season…but time is running out.