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Column: Palermo-Bari

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Column: Palermo-Bari

The first column is dedicated to Palermo-Bari, a preview of the 23rd matchday.

Palermo-Bari it is a challenge that smells like Serie A, capable of guaranteeing almost 22 thousand spectators on a Friday evening, of which 400 came from Bari – not exactly the easiest trip, logistically speaking. Two teams facing each other in two diametrically opposed moments of form: Palermo have come from 11 points in the previous 6 games and are in full swing for the play-off zone; Bari has only collected 1 point in the last few games against opponents within its reach (Ascoli and Reggiana). The team coached by Pasquale Marino is experiencing a season significantly below expectations – also due to some unfortunate circumstances, such as the injuries of Maiello and Diaw – and the gap with the play-off zone is increasing more and more. The tension, however, exploded in the protests of the fans after the last home match: a fringe of fans blocked the exit of the San Nicola and forced the Apulian management to find shelter inside the stadium.

There isn’t a good atmosphere around the Apulian club: precisely for this reason, perhaps, the fear of losing is stronger than the desire to win. This can be felt right from the start of the first half, which Bari intends to face with a rather cautious attitude. Marino lines up his team with an apparent 4-3-3, which in reality transforms into a 4-5-1 with Pușcaș isolated. The result of this choice leads to a low center of gravity which, in principle, should serve to close spaces and limit Palermo’s impetus in transition. In reality, the passive attitude in the non-possession phase allows Corini’s team to get out of the ball quite easily and overcome the opponents’ initial pressure. Ceccaroni stands out in this, as he often doesn’t encounter any obstacles when he picks up the ball.

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In this situation, Segre has plenty of time to get out with the ball because Bari doesn’t attack the ball carrier in the opponent’s half of the field.

Filippo Ranocchia, in his second match as a starter since his arrival in Sicily, he has been essential for the game between the rosanero lines. In particular, his arrival gave Corini greater tactical flexibility and expanded the range of offensive solutions. What was originally a 4-3-3, with the arrival of the young midfielder was transformed into a 4-2-3-1: the advantages of this deployment were already seen in the match against Catanzaro, both in possession that I do not possess. Ranocchia’s quality in dribbling, then, allows the former Juventus and Monza player to associate very well with the two wingers (against Bari, Insigne and Di Francesco).

Ranocchia is often Palermo’s first man in pressing.

From this fluidity Palermo’s dribble resulted in several triangulations that put the red and white defense in crisis. This is how the first goal was born, for example, scored by Filippo Ranocchia.

The action that leads to Palermo’s lead develops from the right, with an exchange between Ranocchia and Insigne, and is then finished with an exchange on the left between Brunori and Lund.

It’s these constant exchanges which develop on the left wing between Di Francesco and Lund who put Pucino in difficulty. Bari, at least in the first half, is in the same condition as a boxer who has taken too many blows. Confused, stunned. He only manages to become dangerous when Kallon attempts some sorties, even if often doubled by Di Francesco’s returns. Precisely in one of the rare situations in which he is left free, the former Verona player earns a corner kick which gives rise to the only dangerous action of the Galletti. Denying the joy of the goal is Brunori, Palermo’s captain, stationed on the goal line. For the rest of the fraction, the Apulian team is practically defenseless. He almost never goes too far, but suffers the advances of the rosanero. Very few playable balls arrive for Pușcaș, caught in the grip of Ceccaroni and Nedelcearu.

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During the second half, something improved in Bari. You wouldn’t think so, given that the deficit is increasing, but Marino’s team is raising the center of gravity. Especially in the first part he tries to get back into the game: raising the pressure, however, only makes Palermo’s job easier, a team that loves to play vertically. From an initial offensive transition comes the free kick that leads the home team to double their lead. The one who earned the foul was Diakité, a new addition to the January transfer market. Di Mariano, who replaces Insigne, kick at the near post where he finds the head of Ceccaroni left to wander calmly into the area by Dorval. Palermo scored its fourteenth headed goal since the start of the championship.

Nasti puts pressure on Pigliacelli, while Gomes is marked when he offers himself as an offloader for his goalkeeper. It is at that moment that Pigliacelli throws it long and starts the action that will lead to the free kick.

From another restartInstead, the third and final goal of the match was born. To close the accounts, he thinks about it once again Jacopo Segre, in a full state of grace. Three goals in the last three games are just part of the excellent work that the former Torino midfielder is doing in midfield. The dynamic is always the same: excellent timing in the insertion and the ball behind the various innocent goalkeepers. But there is more than goals: Segre and Gomes are the fulcrum of the rosanero team, which allows Corini’s team to unbalance themselves forward without being excessively exposed.

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The result is so rounded it certifies the good things Palermo did during the match, while condemning Bari to their second consecutive defeat. The Rosanero are getting closer and closer to the direct promotion zone (which is only 2 points away, with Cremonese and Venezia still having to play). Bari, once again, will find themselves having to deal with things at home, with Pasquale Marino’s position increasingly in the balance.

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