Feature Photo: © Lapresse
Life is a ladder, a famous Italian saying goes. Some climb it up, some climb it down. Tonight, it was the Hellas side of the city of Verona – whose emblem is incidentally a ladder – to push themselves up in the standing as they captured a 1-0 win over Chievo, in a frankly disappointing edition of the Derby della Scala.
A lone goal by center back Antonio Caracciolo was the only noteworthy event in a match that had the effect of making the battle not to fall into the Serie B limbo an even more interesting one. A battle that Rolando Maran’s Clivensi, who collected their 6th loss in the last seven games tonight, have now been sucked into.
Far from the fireworks seen in the first seasonal edition of the Verona city derby, tonight’s match at Marc’Antonio Bentegodi Stadium saw an indomitable Hellas prevailing, their spirit well exemplified by coach Antonio Pecchia – who has been seeming on the verge of being sacked multiple times this season, and yet is still there with his team to fight.
Before the kick off, both club players honored poor Davide Astori, wearing a number 13 jersey with Davide’s name on the back. But after the emotional prelude, the stracittadina quickly turned into a boredom, with neither side of the Adige river able to produce any clear goal chance.
The Clivensi went just slightly closer to score with an initiative by Lucas Castro, who won a duel with his marker Jagos Vukovic, but was blocked by goalkeeper Nicolas Andrade before he could shot from a dangerous position.
Referee Antonio Damato then sent the teams for a break with no extra time, closing a first half in which the most exciting thing were the scrolling advertising on the sideline display boards…
Caracciolo suddenly broke the balance in the 51st minute, catching a pass from the left side by winger Daniele Verde, and maybe finding a slight deflection by Chievo’s Fabrizio Cacciatore on his shot: The resulting bend trajectory left no chance to goalie Stefano Sorrentino.
Coach Pecchia quickly realized that 1-0 was a precious result, and reshaped his lineup to protect and maintain the lead. He gave up some creativity by pulling out assist-man Verde, to send in tougher midfielder Bruno Zuculini.
Rolando Maran’s ace in the hole was 38-year-old, eternal bandiera Sergio Pellissier, who replaced Përparim Hetemaj. However, the impact on the match for the Valdaostan veteran didn’t go further than a rough tackle on Bruno Petkovic, that earned him a booking.
The derby got indeed tougher towards the end, with scoring chances still lacking, but yellow cards raining on the other hand: Referee Damato recurred to them in succession to prevent a battle that was getting nervous from degenerating.
When he blew the final whistle, Hellas Verona found themselves third from last in the ranking for the first time this season, temporarily overtaking Crotone. That miracle called salvezza (“safety”) is not a fantasy anymore. Fabio Pecchia and his boys will look at tomorrow’s games with extreme attention – especially at what the Squali do in their home match with Sampdoria, and at the outcome of the direct confrontation between Sassuolo and SPAL.
Rolando Maran’s Chievo, who seemed comfortably on the safe side only a few weeks ago, and have now been dragged down into the relegation battle, will have change their plans and do the same.
March 10, 2018 – Serie A 2017-18 Round 28
HELLAS VERONA-CHIEVO VERONA 1-0
SCORER: 51′ Caracciolo (H)
|HELLAS VERONA (4-3-3): Nicolas; Ferrari, Caracciolo, Vukovic, Felicioli (85′ Aarons); Fares, Buchel, Calvano (88′ Fossati); Verde (65′ Zuculini), Petkovic, Matos (Silvestri, Coppola, Laner, Lee, Bianchetti, Boldor, Bearzotti, Souprayen, Heurtaux) Coach: Pecchia|
|CHIEVO VERONA (4-3-1-2): Sorrentino; Cacciatore, Bani, Dainelli, Gobbi; Castro, Radovanovic, Hetemaj (62′ Pellissier); Birsa (87′ Stepinski); Meggiorini (46′ Giaccherini), Inglese (Seculin, Confente, Jaroszynski, Cesar, Tomovic, Rigoni, Gaudino, Depaoli, Pucciarelli) Coach: Maran|
REFEREE: Mr. Damato from Barletta
NOTES: Attendance: 20000; Yellow Cards: Buchel, Matos, Zuculini, Boldor (H), Gobbi, Bani, Pellissier, Radovanovic, Cacciatore, Dainelli (C); Extra Time: 1st Half 0′, 2nd Half 4′