Both Lecce and Palermo shared the spoils after going down to 10 men in the first half of this chaotic encounter.
Serse Cosmi was an old acquaintace of Palermo’s, having been on their bench for only a month last season. Bortolo Mutti knows the feeling, as there were already reports he’d be axed after three consecutive defeats.
The Sicilians had Eros Pisano, Edgar Barreto and Lecce hometown hero Fabrizio Miccoli suspended, joining the injured Armin Bacinovic and Matias Silvestre. The Salentini missed Carlos Grossmuller, Julio Sergio and ex-Palermo defender Moris Carrozzieri.
Within the opening five minutes, Lecce were awarded a penalty as Ezequiel Munoz clearly brought down Andrea Bertolacci as he tried to get on the end of a Massimo Oddo cross. The returning David Di Michele stepped up and converted low at the near post.
Bertolacci wasted two great chances to double Lecce’s lead, the first forcing a desperate Emiliano Viviano save from point-blank range after the Luis Muriel through ball, then he prodded straight at the goalkeeper from a promising position.
Palermo equalised with their first real opportunity from a corner. Munoz made up for his earlier error on the penalty by nodding in the set play after goalkeeper Benassi had come flying out to flap at thin air.
The game had been dominated by Lecce, but it all went very wrong for them when Oddo received a straight red card for knocking down Abel Hernandez running on goal. The veteran defender was dispossessed and seemed to stumble into Hernandez, while another teammate was nearby, so it remains to be seen if it was a clear scoring opportunity.
Benassi flew to palm the resulting Josip Ilicic free kick out from under the crossbar, then from the corner Munoz just failed to connect his header. Hernandez went on another counter and fired on to the side-netting.
However, Palermo shot themselves in the foot and went down to 10 men before half-time. Nicolas Bertolo was shown a straight red card for headbutting Gennaro Delvecchio in an off the ball incident.
Palermo should’ve gone 2-1 up straight after the restart when Leonardo Miglionico accidentally passed to Ilicic, but the Slovenian fired straight at Benassi at the near post.
Munoz bravely flung himself at the feet of Delvecchio to prevent a certain tap-in from six yards and Lecce went so close again with Viviano performing a desperate save to deny the Miglionico volley from a corner.
Moments later Benassi needed a wonderful stop to keep out Ilicic’s lob for Palermo. It was wide open and spectacular, as Viviano used his knees to parry Guillermo Giacomazzi’s attempt at the near post, then an acrobatic Di Michele diving header thumped the bar with Viviano beaten.
Sent off: Oddo 17 (L), Bertolo 41 (P)