Igor Budan’s brace of headers were both inspired by Fabrizio Miccoli as Palermo swept Novara aside.
Bortolo Mutti finally got his first win on the Rosanero bench in last week’s 5-3 victory over Genoa. Abel Hernandez and Armin Bacinovic were still injured, while Mauricio Pinilla left to join Cagliari. Novara were in dire straits, propping up the table with 10 defeats from the last 16 rounds and still looking for their first away win. Andrea Lisuzzo, Carlalberto Ludi, Centurioni and Alex Pinardi were on the treatment table.
In the opening seconds Marco Rigoni stung Emiliano Viviano’s palms after pouncing on a Josip Ilicic error. Andrea Caracciolo’s lob was off target, then the centre-forward just failed to get his head on the end of a Giuseppe Mascara cross, as Palermo took a long time to get into gear.
Novara threatened again when Caracciolo burst past Matias Silvestre and was denied by an outstretched Viviano foot. Palermo’s first real chance was on 28 minutes when Samir Ujkani fingertipped an Ilicic screamer over the bar.
The Sicilians took their time, but got the opening goal. Fabrizio Miccoli curled a magnificent cross with the outside of his right boot for Igor Budan’s towering header.
Miccoli hit the woodwork after the break, but was in an offside position. Miccoli had an incredible opportunity on 65 minutes, as he went on the counter from a Novara corner and dribbled past the last defender only for his finish to crack the base of the upright, then Ujkani parried the Ilicic follow-up.
Budan doubled his tally with another header from Miccoli’s right-foot curling assist, confirming Palermo’s strength in this area.