Bari-Foggia: When Teams Don’t Switch Sides

Some Italian regional derbies are even more fiery than the most renown city clashes like Roma-Lazio or Juventus-Torino. That is the case of Bari-Foggia, aka the Derby d’Apulia, where rivalry between the fan bases from the two biggest cities in the Southern Region of Apulia (the “heel” of Italy’s “boot”) is so harsh, that it once prompted the referee to order teams not to switch sides at half time – to prevent supporters from both clubs from throwing objects at their rival goalies.

The Galletti (“The Bantams”) and the Satanelli (“The Little Devils”) will square off today for the first time in 20 years in a Serie B round, in a match that is expected to draw at San Nicola Stadium no less than 30000 spectators – all from Bari, as the visiting Foggia supporters were banned from entering the stadium due to the match being considered “a risk for public order and security…”

The Derby d’Apulia doesn’t take place very often – mostly due to Foggia’s long absence from the football top divisions, and occurred in modern day Serie A only in four occasions. As we prepare for the match, let’s take a dive in the past by reliving the first Serie A Derby d’Apulia ever, as well as that infamous occasion when the supporters’ intemperance forced the two teams to attack for 90 minutes in the same direction…

Bari Supporters
Supporters from Bari, here depicted in an away match…
…and their Foggia counterpart, in occasion of a 1991 match played in Napoli

November 3, 1991 – The “Miracle Foggia” and the Birth of Zemanlandia

In the 1991-92 season, Foggia comes back to Serie A after a 17-year absence. That prompts the chance for the first confrontation ever in the elite division with Bari, which have been stationing in Serie A since 1989. The Satanelli are trained by an even-tempered, phlegmatic coach named Zdenek Zeman. The man from Czechoslovakia predicates a very offensive football philosophy, which roughly translates into scoring one more goal than your opponents –  no matter how many goals such opponents were scoring…

Zeman’s vision will eventually fail to succeed in high ranking clubs such as Roma or Lazio, but it’s blast to watch when applied to minor teams, and Foggia is exactly the place for it to prosper. The 1991-92 season is the one of the Foggia dei miracoli (“Miracle Foggia”) and of Zemanlandia – “Zemanland,” meaning that watching his boys play was like spending a day at an amusement park. That Foggia ends their Serie A season with a shocking 9th place, and fail to qualify for UEFA Cup only at the last day. The first Derby d’Apulia, played on November 3, 1991 against a Bari that will eventually face relegation, cannot but end in their favor.

At their home ground Pino Zaccheria stadium, the Miracle Foggia captures a sounding 4-1 win, where the star is former Serie B top scorer Francesco “Ciccio” Baiano, who places a hat trick. The 4th goal for the Little Devils, after Federico Giampaolo has reduced the gap for the Galletti, is realized by a 23-old blondie named Giuseppe Signori. He is the one that three years later will play for the Azzurri at the 1994 World Cup, and that will eventually capture two Serie A top scorer titles.

To put things more in perspective, that Bari was by no means a minor team, featuring England national side midfielder David Platt, and a 23-year-old Zvonimir Boban, whom Milan had parked there to make him grow. Oh, those good old days when Serie A was the center of the football world!

- Zdenek Zeman allenatore di calcio ceco naturalizzato italiano, tecnico del Foggia
Zdenek Zeman teaching his verbo during a Foggia 1991-92 training


November 3, 1991 – Serie A 1991-92 Round 9


SCORERS: 18’ Baiano (F), 44’ Baiano (F, pen.), 45’ Giampaolo (B), 76’ Signori (F), 80’ Baiano (F)

FOGGIA: Mancini, Codispoti, Grandini, Picasso (71’ Porro), Matrecano, Consagra, Rambaudi (86’ Musumeci), Shalimov, Baiano, Barone, Signori (Rosin, Napoli, Padalino). Coach: Zeman
BARI: Biato, Brambati, Parente (46’ Caccia), Terracenere, Loseto, D. Fortunato, Carbone, Cucchi, Soda, Platt, Giampaolo (Alberga, Maccoppi, Manighetti, Colombo). Coach: Boniek

REFEREE: Mr. Trentalange from Torino

June 8, 1997 – When Collina ordered Bari and Foggia to switch sides again

The derby between Foggia and Bari played in Serie B on June 8, 1997 goes down to history as the only football match ever where both teams attacked in the same direction for the full time. A young Pierluigi Collina ordered the teams to re-switch their sides five minutes into the second half, when a plastic bottle thrown from the Foggia supporter stands hit Bari’s goalkeeper Alberto Fontana.

Collina’s original and courageous decisions to bring the two sides back to their first half positions allowed the match to carry on, and conclude with a 1-1 score that took the Galletti closer to Serie A.

The last Derby d’Apulia played in second division before today takes place in a scorching hot June Sunday. It is the penultimate Round of a Serie B season that produced different outcomes for the two Apulian clubs. Bari are still fighting to catch the last spot for promotion to Serie A, after an enthusiastic come back. Foggia, on the other hand, are already mathematically save from relegation – but surely dont’ want to miss the chance for pooping their rivals’ party. Long gone are the days of Zemanlandia – this Foggia is trained by former Azzurri rugged defender Tarcisio Burgnich, whose football predication cannot be but catenaccio & contropiede.

A roaring Pino Zaccheria stadium, filled with 11000 supporters, half of which coming from Bari, literally explodes when the Galletti home-grown striker Nicola Ventola catches a pass by Klas Ingesson, stops the ball with his chest, and puts it past Francesco Mancini three minutes after the break. That’s the episode that generates the Rossoneri supporters’ anger, and the object throwing at the opponent goalie – promptly imitated on the other side of the stands by Bari’s fans. At that point, referee Collina comes up with this unprecedented expedient to keep the match going.

A header by Roberto Colacone at 80’ equalises for Foggia and scares the Biancorossi, which are anyway reassured by promotion-contender Genoa’s failure to win in their contemporary match. Bari will eventually go on to win their final match the following week to make their return to Serie A. So their last derby against Foggia is mostly remembered as the stage for an early example of Pierluigi Collina’s questionable, yet effective, decisions.

Pierluigi Collina orders Foggia and Bari to switch sides and return to their first half positions. An unprecedented decision in Italian football!


June 8, 1997 – Serie B 1996-97 Round 37


SCORERS: 48’ Ventola (B), 80’ Colacone (F)

FOGGIA: Mancini, Englaro, Tangorra (75’ Matrone), Brescia, Bianco, Di Bari, De Angelis (57’ Zanchetta), Tedesco, Di Michele (46’ Chianese), Bettoni, Colacone (Orlandoni, Oshadogan, Briano, Axeldal). Coach: Burgnich
BARI: Fontana, Garzya, Manighetti, Volpi, Sala, Montanari (74’ Doll), De Ascentis (39’ Annoni), Ingesson, Ventola (57’ Ripa), Olivares, Guerrero (Indiveri, Zanchi, Flachi, Di Vaio). Coach: Fascetti

REFEREE: Mr. Collina from Viareggio
NOTES: Attendance: 10000; Yellow Cards: Colacone (F), Ventola, Volpi, Doll, Manighetti, Ripa (B); Red Cards: Brescia (F), Olivares (B)