Catania continue their march on European qualification after earning a shock 2-1 victory away to Parma.
There were huge doubts as to whether this match could go ahead, but 40 members of the Stadio Tardini staff worked through the night to clear snow from the pitch, stands and surrounding roads.
The Elefantini had never won at the Tardini, managing six draws and eight defeats between Serie A, B and the Coppa Italia. However, they were flying high in seventh place and targeting European qualification. Marco Biagianti sat out a ban for the visitors, joining the injured Sergio Almiron, Pablo Barrientos and Ciro Capuano, so Spanish youngster Keko had a rare start. Parma were without a win in six and missing McDonald Mariga, Fabiano Santacroce and Daniele Galloppa, but goalkeeper Antonio Mirante returned after a month out.
It took just five minutes to break the deadlock, as Francesco Lodi spotted Mirante looking distracted and curled a free kick in at the base of the near post from a tight angle. He was almost at the corner flag when firing in the set piece.
Gonzalo Bergessio hit the upright with a glancing header, but had been correctly flagged offside. Bergessio was in play when he got to the six-yard box and forced Mirante to parry the finish with his trailing foot.
Ishak Belfodil limped off for Parma with an ankle problem and was replaced by Raffaele Palladino. The Ducali were more in the game now and Marco Parolo’s screamer flashed across the goalkeeper to skim the back stick.
Bergessio ballooned over the bar from 12 yards, as he was leaning back when receiving the assist from Keko on the counter-attack.
Catania did double their advantage before the break, as Lucas Castro cut back past his marker and his shot was deflected, so Mirante only palmed it into the path of Keko for a tap-in. It was the Spaniard’s debut Serie A goal.
Amauri’s effort was well parried by Mariano Andujar, while the Brazilian-Italian also just failed to get on the end of a Parolo assist. Parolo’s blockbuster from distance stung Andujar’s palms.
Parma went extremely close on 74 minutes, as Aleandro Rosi pulled back from the by-line for Biabiany to crack his header against the crossbar.
Gonzalo Bergessio could’ve finished it off with a third for Parma, but he hesitated and Rosi got back to deflect the shot.
Parma pulled one back in the final minutes when Amauri appeared to shove Nicola Legrottaglie so he could turn and fire low into the near bottom corner. Legrottaglie took his protests so far that he shoved the referee and was sent off.
Sent off: Legrottaglie 87 (C)