SERIE A MATCH REPORT

Serie A Week 1 - 21 Dec 2011 (19.45 UK)
2 - 2 Palermo
Ludi og 20 (P), Bertolo 74 (P), Mazzarani 77 (N), Rigoni 84 (N)
Stadio Silvio Piola

Bortolo Mutti earned a dramatic point on his Palermo debut, though the 10-man Sicilians had been 2-0 up in Novara.

On Monday Palermo sacked Devis Mangia to bring in Bortolo Mutti, their third Coach of the season. This was his first game in charge and he changed the system to a 4-4-2 with Igor Budan and Josip Ilicic in front. Fabrizio Miccoli, Abel Hernandez, Eros Pisano, Eran Zahavi, Alexandros Tzorvas, Andrea Mantovani and the suspended Mauricio Pinilla were unavailable. Novara missed Paulo Hernan Dellafiore, Andrea Lisuzzo and the banned Matteo Centurioni.

Palermo took the lead with a stroke of luck – and their first away goal of the entire season. Ilicic’s cross from the right was going to Budan, but Carlalberto Ludi’s attempted sliding clearance accidentally turned the ball into his own net.

Novara fought back and almost equalised straight away, but Pablo Granoche’s curler skimmed the woodwork.

Massimo Paci had an absolutely free header off target that should really have equalised for Novara. Palermo lost Cetto to injury, so Giulio Migliaccio went back into defence.

However, the Rosanero shot themselves in the foot, as Ilicic was shown a straight red card for his reaction foul on Paci. Although contact was minimal, the intention was clear and that is what the referee penalised.

It immediately sparked Novara up and they hit the woodwork moments later with an angled drive that thumped the inside of the back post.

Palermo also lost Afriyie Acquah to an injury, but Novara still couldn’t equalise, as Filippo Porcari’s blockbuster on the volley from 20 metres skimmed the base of the upright.

In fact, Edgar Alvarez threatened to double Palermo’s lead with a swerving finish that Samir Ujkani palmed off the line.

Novara wasted and were made to pay, as Nicolas Bertolo put 10-man Palermo 2-0 up when he cut in from the left between two defenders and fired low at the near post to beat Ujkani.

However, Novara did get themselves back into it when Andrea Mazzarani’s strike took a massive deflection to loop over a helpless Benussi.

That got their tails up and the home side poured forward, eventually snatching an equaliser with Marco Rigoni’s sensational volley from 10 yards that flew past Benussi’s outstretched hand. Michel Morganella had provided the assist.

It was all Novara now, as 10-man Palermo were clinging on for dear life. Morganella drilled just past the near post, but at the 89th minute Bertolo was allowed to go on the counter one-on-one with Ujkani only to waste the chance to put the visitors 3-2 up by firing wide!


: Ujkani; Morganella, Giorgi (Mazzarani 52), Paci, Ludi, Gemiti; Porcari, Radovanovic, Rigoni; Rubino (Morimoto 77), Granoche (Meggiorini 58)
Palermo: Benussi; Munoz, Silvestre, Cetto (Bacinovic 37), Balzaretti; Alvarez (Bertolo 67), Migliaccio, Barreto, Acquah (Aguirregaray 46); Ilicic, Budan
Ref: Doveri

Sent off: Ilicic 43 (P)