Cesena are not leaving Serie A without a fight, as they held Palermo to a thoroughly entertaining 2-2 draw.
The Sea Horses were practically relegated anyway, but showed pride in recent weeks with four consecutive stalemates. They intended to keep that unbeaten run going against a decimated Palermo who missed Matias Aguirregaray, Giulio Migliaccio, Federico Balzaretti, Edgar Barreto and the suspended Josip Ilicic. Cesena had to do without Jorge Martinez, Daniel Pudil, Raphael Martinho and Alex Calderoni.
When these teams met earlier this season, Cesena caused a huge upset by winning 1-0 in Sicily, ending Palermo’s 100 per cent home record.
Fabrizio Miccoli’s free kick was pushed round the base of the post by Francesco Antonioli, but Cesena were forced into a substitution after Massimo Lauro got a nasty knock to the back of his neck.
Palermo broke through after 20 minutes when Ezequiel Munoz skipped past two defenders to pull back from the by-line for Nicolas Bertolo’s powerful finish from eight yards.
It should’ve been 2-0, as Franco Vazquez smashed his shot against the crossbar from the edge of the box.
Cesena equalised with Mario Alberto Santana, who squirmed between five players on a wonderful solo effort to prod past Emiliano Viviano at the near stick.
It was a sudden turnaround, as within 120 seconds the home side had gone in front. A poor Matias Silvestre clearance was chested down by Vincenzo Rennella for a strong half-volley into the near bottom corner. It was his debut Serie A goal.
Antonioli rushed off his line to close down Abel Hernandez and Cesena went close a third as Adrian Mutu’s header was off target.
Palermo did get an equaliser in first half stoppages, as a Miccoli corner was whipped in for Silvestre’s header from six yards. Cesena wanted a foul for the tussle with Steve Von Bergen, but the referee waved play on.
Massimo Donati had a shot charged down just in front of the line from Miccoli’s assist. Ceccarelli rolled across for Roberto Guana and the goalkeeper smothered at his feet from point-blank range.
A Vazquez header from a promising position missed the target and deep into stoppages Bertolo prodded just wide with a chance to win it for Palermo.