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Lega Pro Review – Giovanni Stroppa Making The Hills Come Alive In The Sudtirol

In the late eighties and early nineties Giovanni Stroppa was an attacking midfielder who was an integral part of the all conquering AC Milan dynasty. Stroppa was a product of the Milanello youth academy and he would later continue his top-flight career at Lazio and with the iconic Zdenek Zeman in Foggia.

'Gianmaria Cesaro free from the pirates hands' - Sorrento fans threw themselves into the campaign to have Cesaro released from the hands of pirates

'Gianmaria Cesaro free from the pirates hands' - Sorrento fans threw themselves into the campaign to have Cesaro released from the hands of pirates

With Arrigo Sacchi, Fabio Capello and Zeman all major influences in his playing career it is no surprise to see the 44-year-old now making great strides in his first coaching role at C1 side Sudtirol. This week, Stroppa has been speaking about how much he is enjoying life in the beautiful city of Bolzano and the comparisons he sees between his current employers and that of the team that gave him his big break.”It is obvious to everyone that you cannot compare Sudtirol  with Milan” explained Stroppa “we are a very small club but the organisation here is reminiscent of my time at Milanello”

He gave an insight into how he feels about the current crop of players he has at his disposal: “I have a squad of serious professionals who are in perfect harmony with each other, I am extremely proud of my players” The team has some exciting young talent to boast about, none more so than local boy Manuel Fischnaller, a 20-year-old striker who is straight out of the clubs highly regarded youth system.

The youngster took his tally to eight for the season last weekend after grabbing his side’s equaliser in their 2-1 away win at Frosinone and was rewarded with a call-up to Luigi Di Biagio’s Under 20 National side for Tuesday’s friendly game in Macedonia. Fischnaller was joined in the squad by his goalkeeping colleague Alessandro Iacobucci with both players starting the match that ended  in a 2-2 draw. The squad announcement was a triumph for Lega Pro with ten players  in total being given an international call-up.

The development of young players is currently a top priority for the Lega Pro executive committee and they were given a huge boost this week when the games governing body, the FIGC announced it was to give the league a 16 million euro cash injection to aid the clubs in the nurturing of young talent.

This windfall came only days after one of the league’s executives, Francesco Ghirelli explained that “we have to cut our league down to 60 teams, three divisions of 20 clubs, we cannot keep relying on Serie A teams to provide the players for us” . The ramifications of this would of course, be massive and Lega Pro looks set for (another) summer of discontent.

‘Discontent’ is the word that describes the current situation at C2 side Ebolitana. A week after players had to lock themselves in the dressing room after being set upon by disgruntled fans during a training session, the club ordered a press blackout ahead of last Sunday’s home match against Neapolis. The main stand at the Stadio Dirceu was closed to all media with no-one really knowing just who is actually in charge at the moment – watch this space for more details.

Sorrento Calcio took the award for gesture of the week inviting seaman Gianmaria Cesaro to be their guest of honour for Sunday’s home match against Como. Cesaro, who lives in the area, had been held captive for 10 months by Somalian pirates and the tifosi at the Stadio Campo Italia had been campaigning furiously on his behalf for the Italian government to negotiate his release. Prior to kick-off on Sunday Cesaro did a lap of honour around the pitch in what was naturally an emotional moment for him and his family.

A 2-0 win for Sorrento on Sunday moves them up into fourth place in the C1A table. There was a major surprise at the top as leaders Ternana were held at Foligno whilst second placed Taranto won away at bottom club Pavia to cut the gap to just a point. Carpi sit third after a 1-1 draw at Lumezzane. This weekends big match sees Sorrento travel to Taranto on Monday night in front of the live TV cameras.

Siracusa remain a point clear at the summit of C1B thanks to a 2-0 home win over Triestina, whose immediate future is now in doubt following the clubs announcement that it is unable to make inroads into its six million euro debt and has declared itself bankrupt. Trapani keep up the pressure in second spot after a 2-1 win at Feralpi Salo.

There was a huge upset in C2A were table toppers Casale were toppled on their own patch by Bellaria Igea Marina. The chasing pack failed to take advantage however with San Marino the only side in the top 5 to claim maximum points. In C2B a Mancini has signed for Juventus with the son of Sampdoria legend Roberto, 19-year-old striker Andrea, signing for Fano Alma Juventus on loan until the end of the season. The club will hope the addition of the youngster will give the whole team a lift as they currently sit dangerously close to the play-out positions. At the top of C2B, Perugia march on after a 2-0 home win over Melfi.

Follow Steve Mitchell on twitter (@barafundler) for updates throughout the week with regard to all levels of the Italian game.

Latest results:


  • Foligno 1 – 1 Ternana
  • Lumezzane 1 – 1 Carpi
  • Pavia 0 – 2 Taranto
  • Pro Vercelli 1 – 1 Monza
  • Reggiana 0 – 2 Benevento
  • Sorrento 2 – 0 Como
  • Tritium 1 – 0 Avellino
  • Viareggio 2 – 0 Spal


  • Andria 2 – 1 Barletta
  • Bassano 1 – 3 Cremonese
  • Carrarese 2 – 0 Portogruaro
  • Feralpi Salo’ 1 – 2 Trapani
  • Frosinone 1 – 2 Sudtirol
  • Pergocrema 1 – 1 Latina
  • Piacenza 0 – 1 Spezia
  • Siracusa 2 – 0 Triestina
  • Virtus Lanciano 0 – 0 Prato


  • Borgo A Buggiano 1 – 2 Alessandria
  • Casale 1 – 3 Bellaria
  • Giacomense 2 – 2 Montichiari
  • Pro Patria 3 – 0 Lecco
  • Renate 2 – 2 Mantova
  • Sambonifacese 2 – 2 Cuneo
  • San Marino 1 – 0 Treviso
  • Santarcangelo 3 – 0 Rimini
  • Valenzana 0 – 0 Savona
  • Virtus Entella 3 – 0 Poggibonsi


  • Arzanese 3 – 1 Giulianova
  • Campobasso 0 – 2 Aprilia
  • Celano Olimpia 0 – 1 Aversa Normanna
  • Ebolitana 1 – 1 Neapolis Frattese
  • Fano 0 – 1 Gavorrano
  • Fondi 2 – 0 Chieti
  • Isola Liri 2 – 2 Paganese
  • Milazzo 0 – 1 Vigor Lamezia
  • Perugia 2 – 0 Melfi

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