Crotone Butcher Benevento in Serie A Relegation Six-Pointer

Crotone captured their first points in 2021 as they butchered Benevento 4-1 at the Ezio Scida Stadium to win a Derby of the South and a battle between the top two ranked Serie B teams last season.

The two clubs from the South of Italy had a long history of rivalry and acrimony between them and tradition was respected today as the Squali once again bested their opponents from Campania – who only twice in their 28 previous encounters had managed to make a full score in this match-up.

Giovanni Stroppa’s Rossoblu took and early lead and gradually added to their tally while Benevento experienced a total blackout – similar to the one they had against Spezia in a previous relegation six-pointer. An odd squad, Filippo Inzaghi’s one, capable of shocking many Serie A sides while losing badly their matches against their other relegation challengers.

Conversely, Crotone gained two points versus direct contenders Parma and Torino, reducing their gap from safety to two points only – as they wait for Genoa and Cagliari to undertake their weekly tests.

Crotone were off to a good start and broke the deadlock on four minutes already thanks to an own goal. Pedro Pereira crossed from the left and Kamil Glik put the ball beyond his own keeper in an attempt to control Simy Nwankwo.

Benevento’s reaction was immediate, though the Streghe didn’t manage to produce more than a few corner kick chances – which the Crotone defense disposed of with not much trouble.

The next time the Rossoblu showed their face around Lorenzo Montipò’s area, they had their second as Simy finished for the best a deadly counterattack that saw Pereira once again breaking in from the left side and Milos Vulic producing the final pass for the Nigerian’s winning strike.

On 37 minutes, Benevento could have reduced their gap as Gianluca Lapadula snatched the ball off Vlaidimir Golemic’s feet and ignited Roberto Insigne’s fast break, but the Neapolitan’s effort was brilliantly saved by Crotone captain Alex Cordaz.

The Rossoblu goalie did even better a few minutes later as he took part in what could arguably win a prize for the best action of the Serie A weekend. From a Benevento cross, Perparim Hetemaj came up with an acrobatic overhead effort, but Cordaz flew to his right and literally removed the ball from the top right corner of the goal to keep the clean sheet into the break.

Before half time, there were additional troubles for Filippo Inzaghi who saw Insigne picking up an injury and had to replace him with Gianluca Caprari.

And yet, problems were not over for the visitors. On 53 minutes, Crotone had their third, once again with Simy Nwankwo. Pedro Pereira recovered the ball in midfield and released Emmanuel Rivière on the left. The Martiniquais’ pass for Simy was delicious, and all the Nigerian had to do was stretch his foot past his marker Federico Barba to round up the scoring.

In the 64th minute, the score changed again as there was room for Milos Vulic to score his first Serie A goal with a brilliant curling effort, at the end of an extended action that saw Crotone grounding and pounding a dazed opposition defense.

The Streghe eventually scored one to save their honor as substitute Iago Falque whipped the ball past hapless Cordaz with a slight Koffi Djidji deflection just eight minutes before full time, but that surely didn’t change the message sent by the game at the Ezio Scida: Crotone are well in contention to remain in the top-flight, and with teams like Torino, Genoa, and Cagliari continuing to struggle, the battle to avoid the drop zone is set to be an exciting one.

Benevento, on the other hand, still hold a comfortable mid-table position for the time being, but Filippo Inzaghi will have much to think about as he tries to find out how come is side seems to be melting down when in the most important games.



January 17, 2021 – Serie A 2020-21 Round  18

SCORERS: 5’ Glik (B, o.g.), 29’ Simy (C), 54’ Simy (C), 65’ Vulic (C), 83’ Iago Falque (B)

CROTONE (3-5-2): Cordaz; Djidji, Golemic, Magallan; Rispoli (79′ Luperto), Messias, Zanellato (79’ Rojas), Vulic (79’ Petriccione), Pereira (79’ Mazzotta); Simy, Riviere (69’ Eduardo) (Festa, Crespi, Crociata, Cuomo, Mignogna, Ranieri, Siligardi) Coach: Stroppa
BENEVENTO (4-3-2-1): Montipò; Improta (74′ Iago Falque), Tuia (74′ Caldirola), Glik, Barba; Hetemaj, Ionita (66’ Tello) , Dabo; Insigne (40’ Caprari), Sau (65’ Di Serio); Lapadula (Manfredini, Lucatelli, Basit, Foulon, Maggio, Pastina, Viola) Coach: F. Inzaghi

REFEREE: Mr. Sozza from Milan
NOTES: Yellow Cards: Messias (C), Ionita, R. Insigne, Barba, Dabo (B); Red Card: Sau (B, after being substituted); Extra Time: 1st Half 3′, 2nd Half 3′