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Lega Pro Review – Catanzaro rise like eagles

The history of US Catanzaro has been chaotic to say the least. Having been declared bankrupt on three separate occasions, the side from southern Italy are now in their fourth incarnation under new president Giuseppe Cosentino.

Catanzaro are flying high

It’s now more than 30 years since the club’s golden era when they managed an unbroken five-year run in Serie A with a team that included current Inter tactician Claudio Ranieri. But that is as good as it got for the Calabrian side and the subsequent years has seen them nosedive into the lower reaches of Italian football to the point of near extinction.

Last year saw the club reach a new low. Failure to fulfill early season fixtures due to a players strike due to non-payment of wages, concluded with the league authorities inflicting an eight point penalty on the team which virtually ensured certain relegation before the campaign had reached the Christmas break. A final league points tally of 11 relegated the club to Serie D which prompted then president, Antonio Aiello to concede that the game was up and unless a new buyer was found immediately Catanzaro Calcio under its current guise would be no more.

Step forward Giuseppe Cosentino, a local businessman who vowed to get the club back on its feet and who immediately set about a charm offensive, taking lunch with the city’s mayor Michele Traversa looking to gain support in his quest to make the club great again. After a summer of negotiations and appeals, the club were invited back into Lega Pro 2nd division (Serie C2) at the eleventh hour, part one of the long road to recovery was complete.

As the season drew ever nearer, the club still had to appoint a new manager, 37-year-old former Reggina midfielder Francesco Cozza answered the cry for help, now all he had to do was hastily put together a squad that could compete in Italy’s fourth tier. His task was not made any easier with the club being forbidden to take players from leagues outside of the peninsula because the new owners failed to pay a mandatory enrolment fee. One of the clubs directors, Maurizio De Filippo, made a statement on the club website explaining the situation vowing that the club would appeal against the decision – life is never simple in this part of the world.

Despite this, six games into the new campaign and a quick look at the C2B table makes happy reading for supporters of the Aquile del sud (eagles of the south) with the team sitting just four points from the summit having played a game less than the teams around them – in this particular division, an odd number of participants means every week one team takes a holiday.

The contrast to 12 months ago could not be more different. Cozza has constructed a team that is playing vibrant attacking football in a 3-4-3 formation which guarantees entertainment every time the team takes to the field. In a squad boasting an array of exciting young talent it is one of the veterans, 32-year-old midfielder Salvatore Carboni who is leading from the front having already scored four goals in the clubs opening five games, his latest coming in Wednesday’s 2-1 away win at Fano Alma. Young defender Christian Ricciardi has settled wonderfully into a back three alongside the more experienced Salvatore Accursi and Simone Narducci and Australian striker Christian Esposito looks set to become a firm favourite with the tifosi.

It seems the clubs long-suffering supporters are also starting to believe that the club has turned a corner with attendances at the Stadio Nicola Ceravolo averaging around the three thousand mark this season, they can surely play their part in the clubs road to recovery.

Elsewhere in the division

Paganese are setting the pace in C2B after two wins in the space of four days. Luca Orlando is a striker on a hot streak at the moment and he notched up his sixth goal of the season on Wednesday afternoon in Fondi grabbing the games only goal. There was midweek woe for Perugia who were surprisingly beaten 0-1 at the Renato Curi by Arzanese, a 76th minute Martino Imparato strike turned out to be the match winning goal.

Finally, spare a thought for Celano Olimpia, without a win all season and demolished 1-5 at home by Aprilia on Wednesday. Coach Michele Facciolo must look in horror when he sees the divisional table. His team sits bottom of the pile with a solitary point from their opening six outings, worse still is the goals column which reads two scored and 12 conceded. Some people in Calabria will have nothing but sympathy for the club from Abruzzo.

Alessandria have parted company with coach Alessio De Petrillo. The club sit fourth bottom of C2A and Wednesday’s 1-2 home defeat by Cuneo prompted an immediate change at the helm. The pre-season promotion favourites are in crisis at the moment with youth team manager Luigi Manueli taking temporary charge for the weekend’s derby game at table topping Casale. Former Avellino tactician Salvatore Vullo is thought to be favourite to take over early next week but the club deny any contact has been made so far.

Casale will welcome their visitors with open arms on Sunday and will expect to take all three points with the club riding the crest of a wave right now. The big star that dominates their team strip could not be more relevant at the moment and a 2-0 win in Rimini on Wednesday underlined the confidence currently running through Francesco Buglio’s team. Two more goals from Riccardo Taddei, taking his tally to six for the season, saw off the challenge of the home side with consummate ease as the Piedmont club went a point clear at the top of the table.

It was stalemate in the big Emilia-Romagna derby between Bellaria Igea Marina and Santarcangelo with both sides failing to perform on the plastic pitch at the Stadio Dino Manuzzi in Cesena which was used as the venue for the match. Santarcangelo’s many owners ( they are a supporter owned club) would have been the more satisfied with the point after a disappointing 90 minutes of action.

Other results

C2A week 4: Borgo a Buggiano 0-1 Montichiari, Casale 2-0 Lecco, Giacomense 2-0 Savona, Pro Patria 2-3 Cuneo, Renate 0-1 Treviso, Sambonifacese 4-0 Mantova, San Marino 2-0 Bellaria Igea Marina, Santarcangelo 2-3 Poggibonsi, Virtus Entella 2-1 Alessandria, Valenzana 0-1 Rimini

C2A week 5: Alessandria 1-2 Cuneo,  Bellaria Igea Marina 0-0 Santarcangelo, Lecco 2-2 Giacomense, Mantova 0-0 Virtus Entella, Montichiari 2-1 Valenzana, Poggibonsi 1-0 Pro Patria, Renate 2-0 Sambonifacese, Rimini 0-2 Casale, Savona 1-0 San Marino, Treviso 1-0 Borgo a Buggiano

C2B week 5: Aprilia 0-0 Fano Alma, Campobasso 1-2 Perugia, Catanzaro 1-1 Milazzo, Gavorrano 2-0 Fondi, Giulianova 1-0 Celano Olimpia, L’Aquila 1-1 Chieti, Melfi 1-0 Ebolitana, Neapolis 1-1 Arzanese,  Paganese 2-1 Vibonese, Vigor Lamezia 1-0 Isola Liri

C2B week 6: Aversa Normanna 0-2 Giulianova, Celano Olimpia 1-5 Aprilia, Chieti 1-2 Neapolis, Ebolitana 2-0 Campobasso, Fano Alma 1-2 Catanzaro, Fondi 0-1 Paganese, Isola Liri 1-0 Gavorrano, Milazzo 0-1 L’Aquila, Perugia 0-1 Arzanese, Vibonese 0-0 Vigor Lamezia

Follow Steve Mitchell on twitter for more gems from the Italian lower leagues (@barafundler).

  • EAfan

    go eagles go!!!
    catanzaro rule!

  • Sergio Audino

    go go U.S.catanzaro

  • Aquila

    C’mon Eagles!

  • Maurizioeagles

    There is only Us Catanzaro

  • Shit

     The Southern Eagles will rise again

  • Pirana83

    Thanks for this wonderful article.
    We love our football team because, as you states in the article, ‘life is never simple in this part of the world’. The eagles of the south are a symbol, a metaphor…11 men on a green field that represent a repressed land always in quest for revenge. Today we can smile again after many years, at least for a couple of hours on Sunday afternoon all worries go away by waiting a game.
    As stated by a great midfielder of our team, Giorgio Vignando, “I love rude defenders and midfielders with an innate spirit of sacrifice, the little football teams and oppressed people, I believe the victories of my team were melted with humility, abnegation and will, I resist on the stands of the stadiums located in remote suburbs, and I hope this sad present, a day or another will pass by”.

  • Pirana83

    thanks a lot Steve…It does not matter you have made some little mistake.In this part of the world, people are happy to comment and discuss their own history.
    I read it with extreme interest and I hope you ll dedicate some other article to the eagles of the south in the near future…

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