Siena ran riot against sorry Palermo, but inevitably the match was affected by Federico Balzaretti’s red card in the opening minute.
The Tuscans may be in the Coppa Italia semi-final, but they fell to two consecutive defeats going into this game and confidence was low. Top scorer Emanuele Calaio sat out a ban, with Zeljko Brkic, Angelo, Francesco Bolzoni and Gaetano D’Agostino injured. Palermo have changed course under Bortolo Mutti, but were still looking for their first away win of the season. Abel Hernandez and Armin Bacinovic were on the treatment table.
Alessandro Gazzi was able to play despite breaking his nose this week in training, but strangely was wearing the same protective face mask that teammate Cristian Del Grosso used earlier this season – complete with number 3 written on it.
It was a very strange start to the match, as Mattia Destro went on a rapid counter-attack in the opening minute and Federico Balzaretti tripped him for a straight red card! It was outside the box and there was another defender in support, but the referee judged it to be a clear scoring opportunity.
Emiliano Viviano palmed away the resulting Del Grosso free kick. To make matters worse, the Sicilians had to replace the injured Matias Silvestre, so there were two substitutions in the opening 11 minutes.
Incredibly, it was 10-man Palermo who broke the deadlock against the run of play. A Fabrizio Miccoli corner found Igor Budan for a towering header relatively undisturbed from six yards, as Giorgi failed to intercept.
The referee awarded a debatable penalty for Aguirregaray’s sliding tackle on Brienza, as it’s not clear how much contact there really was. Claudio Terzi stepped up and converted, but the referee had not yet blown the whistle, so it had to be re-taken. At the second attempt Terzi placed it low into the far bottom corner to draw Siena level.
Siena turned the game around with Erjon Bogdani, although Destro’s pace was again decisive. Destro burst past Munoz down the left flank and rolled across for Bogdani to tap in from six yards.
Brienza volleyed off target with his left foot, again set up by Destro.
Straight after the restart, Siena got their third, as a Brienza free kick found Rossettini totally unmarked at the back post for a precise volley.
Brienza scored against his former club with a splendid low free kick round the defensive wall to surprise the goalkeeper at the near post.
Gianluca Pegolo flew to fingertip a Budan header out from under the bar.
Sent off: Balzaretti 1 (P)