Sting Like a B: The Recap of the 10th Round of Serie B

If you take a look at the ranking, you’ll notice how this could be the most balanced Serie B edition ever. It’s difficult even for a statistics nerd like me to recall when was the last time that Serie B started in this way: 22 teams within 9 points. Simply astounding.

The 10th round indeed enhanced this balance. The last minute victory of Venezia against Empoli resulted in both teams now leading the standing. The second draw in a row for Frosinone and the home defeat of Palermo made room for teams like Pescara, Bari, and Novara to get closer to the top.

In the limbo between heaven and hell, both Brescia and Perugia urge for a change of pace to move away from the negative streak they are going through in this period.

On the other side of the league table, earth stood still for every team involved in the relegation fight but Spezia – which amazed with a sound victory against Perugia, and jumped out from the hot zone. As for Ternana, Cesena, Foggia, and Pro Vercelli, their draws didn’t change but a little their situation.

Making a forecast or simply electing a leader in this championship is becoming harder and harder. Any prediction needs to be postponed after the end of the next round: The balance might be broken as many teams in the upper part of the table are facing lower-ranking opponents. On top of that, the match fixtures include the game that could reshuffle the top of the rank, Empoli-Pescara – which The Cult of Calcio will follow minute by minute and report to you about on Wednesday.

Cremonese-Brescia 2-0
Hard times for Brescia, which collected the third consecutive defeat and are already called to win the next match, given their position in the rank. A golden moment, instead, for Cremonese, that earned the second win in a row, after winning away in Cittadella. Despite the Rondinelle started the match endangering the Red-and-Grey defense, it was Cremonese to take the lead with a tremendous solo by Antonio Piccolo, who fooled all the defenders and scored on the farthest post, where Stefano Minelli couldn’t reach it. Brescia’s goalkeeper was repeatedly busy with saving the result, but he could do nothing on the strong header by Claiton Dos Santos, perfectly served in the box by Benjamin Mokulu.

Bari-Cittadella 4-2
Bari clearly stated what is their plan, and it includes the word “promotion.” On the other hand, Cittadella sees troubles on the horizon, as they disappointed their supporters with the second consecutive defeat. Despite the result, Cittadella took the lead first, scoring with Alessandro Salvi after just 2 minutes. Balance was restored thanks to Migjen Basha, who scored with a header from a corner kick, same as Salvi 18 minutes earlier. 1-1 after 45 minutes, and this gave a lot to think to both coach Fabio Grosso and Roberto Venturato. Indeed, the second half was way more hectic. Three minutes after the start, Riccardo Improta was left free in front of Enrico Alfonso, and could score for the 2-1. At the 67′, Cristian Galano finalized a by-the-book counterattack and, ten minutes later, it was again Basha to put his name on the scoreboard, shooting from outside of the box. When Simone Pasa scored the 4-2, it was already too late to achieve a draw. Therefore, Grosso’s guys could start the celebrations.

Cesena-Foggia 3-3
We are not exaggerating if we state that the match played at the Orogel Stadium was the most exciting of this Serie B round. Both teams are fighting not to be relegated to the Third Division. For Cesena, it’s a race against time: their last position in the table is starting to feel uncomfortable. For Foggia, the monster of play out has been roaming around since the beginning of the season. After 45 minutes of barely nothing, the second half started with a wonderful goal by Tommaso Coletti from 30 meters. Four minutes later, it was Giacomo Beretta to weigh down the result to 2-0, with an easy tap in. Cesena didn’t surrender, and woke up thanks to a counterattack led by Giuseppe Panico, finalized by Nicola Dalmonte. Then came a jaw-dropping solo by Fabio Mazzeo, who freed himself from the black-and-white defense and scored from outside the box, placing the ball right at the farthest top corner. It seemed the right day for Giovanni Stroppa’s boys, but Cesena didn’t give in. The Bianconeri were very lucky for a ridiculous own goal by Alberto Gerbo (someone should call an investigation on this goal..). Then, right at the last minute, Michele Rigione made his supporters explode with joy, kicking in the goal a ball that was bouncing everywhere in the box.

Palermo-Novara 0-2
The match at the Renzo Barbera Stadium (aka La Favorita) was a battle for promotion. Mission accomplished for Novara, which achieved their third success in a row. A big failure for Bruno Tedino’s guys, who collected only 3 points in the last 4 matches. Marco Moscati, the man of the match, scored a brace in the second half that gave three golden points to his team. First, he scored from outside the box, being served after an unbridled solo by Alessio Da Cruz. Then, the midfielder beat Alberto Pomini again with a powerful shot from the left top corner of the box.

Parma-Entella 3-1
One match, opposite objectives: Parma wanted to reach the play-off zone at any cost, while Entella wished to stay as far as possible from the the play-out area. The home team achieved the target with more than one difficulty. Despite the eternal Alessandro Lucarelli scored the leading goal at 34′ from a free kick, Davide Luppi brought Parma back on earth by tapping in a header by Michele Pellizzer. Entella tried to take the lead, while the Crociati struggled to be dangerous until 82′, when a counterattack of Roberto Insigne – brother of the more famous attacking midfielder playing in Napoli – was masterfully finalized by Emanuele Calaiò. Parma’s striker repaid the favor from Insigne 8 minutes later, allowing the latter to dribble a defender and beat Alessandro Iacobucci for the final 3-1.

Pescara-Avellino 2-1
The Biancazzurri, on a two-game winning streak, had to double their efforts against Avellino, who was looking for a victory to forget an undeserved defeat against Bari. It was indeed the Lupi to score the first goal with Sofian Bidaoui: the Moroccan shot from the right top corner of the box, right to the farthest top corner of the goal. Pescara’s defenders and supporters could only observe and admire in silence. The Biancazzurri reacted immediately, and after 7 minutes, Francesco Zampano – after a series of classy dribbling and tunnels – freed Leonardo Mancuso in the box, who scored with a powerful shot that no one could stop. Pescara’s supporters had to wait impatiently until the 82′, when Stefano Pettinari, freed by Mancuso in the box, easily scored the decisive goal. Biancazzurri consolidated their position in the play-off zone, while Avellino will need to win in the next match against Pro Vercelli not to lose contact with it.

Pro Vercelli-Carpi 0-0
Carpi tried to get 3 points in this supposed-to-be easy match, but Pro Vercelli stopped them, conquering their 8th point in the last four matches: Not bad for a team that started in the worst way possible, and occupied the last position for 6 rounds. Anyway, after two astonishing victories against Perugia (1-5) and Cesena (5-2), Pro Vercelli left the pitch with no goals for the first time after 6 matches (last time against Brescia). Carpi played below the expectations, maybe because their mind was already busy with the next match against Palermo.

Salernitana-Frosinone 1-1
Frosinone stumbled at the Arechi Stadium against a Salernitana that could have asked more from their players. It was indeed the Canarini who dominated the match for the whole first half. Despite that, Salernitana found the first goal at 43′ with Raffaele Schiavi, who corrected the ball trajectory after a confused action in the box. After going down 0-1, Frosinone also lost Nicolo Brighenti for a red card. Francesco Bardi, MVP, saved Frosinone’s goal in several occasions before the Canarini could score the equaliser with Roberto Crivello, who was left alone by the whole Granata defense, and could easily put the ball behind Boris Radunovic.

Spezia-Perugia 4-2
The fourth defeat in a row for Perugia coincided with a goal fest for Spezia. Alberto Masi unleashes the goleada from a corner kick after just 2 minutes. 2-0 was a masterpiece by Giuseppe Mastinu: He freed himself with a dribbling, the kicked the ball at the farthest top corner of the goal from the left corner of the box. Just magnificent, maybe the best goal of the 10th round together with the one scored by Coletti (Foggia). Perugia attempted to react by scoring the 2-1 from a corner kick with Massimo Volta, but they were not as dangerous as expected. Indeed, thanks to a missed control by Volta himself, Spezia could increase the gap with Francesco Forte, who didn’t celebrate – as he used to play for Perugia last season. 8 minutes later, Pablo Mariano Granoche wrote the word “end” on the match. Mattia Mustacchio enhanced the Grifoni‘s side of the scoreboard, by placing the final 4-2.

Ternana-Ascoli Picchio 1-1
This was meant to be the big match from the lower ranks of the standing, and so it was. Nonetheless, the final result didn’t make either team happy. A victory could mean taking a deep breath and distance oneself from the play-out and relegation zone, but both Rossoverdi and Bianconeri will have to postpone that to the next round. Everything happened in the second half: Andrea Favilli took the lead for Ascoli at 74′ with a header lob right in front of Marco Bleve. 5 minutes later, Adriano Montalto scored the equaliser with another header from a corner kick.

Venezia-Empoli 1-0
The Serenissima caught the Azzurri at the top spot of the ranking by beating them with the least effort, in a match that Venezia controlled for the most part. Empoli was extremely good at defending, given the number of times that coach Filippo Inzaghi’s team tried to get away with a win. For the whole match, what one could see was a siege by Venezia and sporadic shoots from the distance by Empoli. The match was finally decided by a goal by Stefano Moreo at 87′: The Azzurri‘s defense decided to go back earlier in the changing rooms, and left him completely alone in front of Ivan Provedel, who did manage to deflect his shot – but not enough to avoid the goal.