Catania fought back from a goal down three times to hold Livorno 3-3 in a thrilling encounter, but a point apiece does nobody good.
This was a relegation six-pointer between the bottom two clubs, although it’s entirely possible both will go down this season. There was a sense of desperation, as Catania had already sacked Rolando Maran and recalled him after a poor spell under Gigi De Canio, while Domenico Di Carlo won his Livorno debut with an emphatic 3-1 result over Sassuolo.
Andrea Coda and Leandro Greco sat out bans for the visitors, who could count on deadline day signings Ishak Belfodil and Djamel Mesbah, although the Inter-owned forward started from the bench.
Emerson hit a piledriver that Alberto Frison got behind in the opening minutes, while Marco Benassi’s strike was charged down. Alfred Duncan’s header skimmed the upright from an Ibrahima Mbaye cross.
After the restart Francesco Bardi made his first save, tipping a Cristian Biraghi strike over the bar. Innocent Emeghara turned on the turbo to burst between three defenders and pulled back for the unmarked Paulinho who only had to tap in from eight yards, but Nicolas Spolli intercepted at full stretch with his toe.
However, it was only a warning, as moments later Frison beat away an Emerson strike into the path of Emeghara. Remarkably, it was the first goal Livorno had scored on their travels since September 29, firing blanks in seven games.
Catania equalised with sheer determination. Gonzalo Bergessio got his toe to a Cristian Biraghi cross and Bardi parried at the base of the near post, but the striker just about managed to bundle it over the line.
Emeghara’s pace was wreaking havoc in the Elefantini back line and he was brought down when Frison grabbed his ankle for a penalty. Paulinho sent the goalkeeper the wrong way to restore Livorno’s lead and Catania Coach Rolando Maran was sent off.
The advantage did not last long, as Catania got it back to 2-2 when a corner was whipped in and Pablo Barrientos got the final touch from point-blank range.
It was still far from over, as 120 seconds later Livorno went in front again. Frison once more only beat away a Duncan effort and Emeghara was hovering ready to finish it off.
Catania came back for the third time, snatching an equaliser in the final minute. A cross was not dealt with and Sergio Almiron allowed at the back post to chest down and fire in.
The Elefantini tried to win it in stoppages, as Bardi flew to palm a Francesco Lodi free kick round the upright. Tempers flared and Bergessio was lucky to only be booked for grabbing Mbaye by the neck during a row.