Coppa Italia: Round of 16 / Team rating: 3 / Top scorer: Bergessio (10)
Catania deservedly dropped into Serie B after a campaign chequered by instability, and they must now look to rebuild the for future with their finances in mind, writes Livio Caferoglu.
Fresh from achieving their best-ever season and narrowly missing out on European football, hopes were high at Catania, who looked to take advantage of their new-found status as Serie A’s sole Sicilian representative.
However, the losses of Giovanni Marchese, Alejandro Gomez and Francesco Lodi were keenly felt, and their inability to sufficiently replace the indispensable trio laid the gauntlet down for a season of turbulence at the Angelo Massimino.
In came the likes of Fabian Monzon, Jaroslav Plasil and Panagiotis Tachtsidis, but none of their summer arrivals made the desired impact, with the Greek midfielder moving on to pastures new in January.
Without set-piece specialist Lodi or pocket rocket Lopez in attack to rely on, scoring goals became a fundamental problem. Just three wins were mustered by Rolando Maran and his successor Luigi De Canio, before the former returned in January.
However, the worst was yet to come. Eight defeats in nine matches between February and April consigned the outfit further adrift, while not even their home form couldn’t paper over the worrying statistic of no away win in 14 months.
Youth team Coach Maurizio Pellegrino was seen as a stop-gap until a likely relegation was confirmed in May, but against all the odds, he secured three victories in his last four games, including a success on the road.
Gonzalo Bergessio may have also been amongst the goals again, with Lodi back in the supporting cast, but Catania’s decline had already reached the point of no return. No longer was their destiny in their own hands, as the events on the penultimate day of the campaign showed.
A 2-1 win over Bologna was supposed to have kept them up, but late drama involving Chievo and Sassuolo saw them both manage to stay up at the expense of the Etnei, who must now prioritise financial stability over immediate promotion.
Having steered the Elefanti to a record-breaking term just months before, 50-year-old Maran oversaw their demise in two separate spells, while his successor fared no better. Youth team Coach Pellegrino nearly staged the impossible, but by then it was too little too late.
The Argentine winger enjoyed arguably the best individual campaign of his career, scoring a handful of important goals and doing his best to support his teammates in the latter stages of the season with a few assists to boot. Relegation would have been a mere formality were it not for his frequent glimpses of magic.
- Prior to this year’s relegation, Catania survived eight consecutive seasons in the top flight, their longest-ever run in Serie A.
- They made the most managerial changes in Serie A throughout the 2013-14 season, with four in total.
- The Sardinians recouped the fewest points from trailing situations, doing so on just two occasions.