Last week the Southern cities of Aversa and Avellino were at the centre of the Lega Pro footballing world as they co-hosted the 32nd edition of the Quadrangolare di Lega Pro. The tournament is a showcase for young talents plying their trade in Italy’s third and fourth tiers.
The competition involves four representative teams from Lega Pro consisting of players aged 21 and under. Before the tournament started, legendary defender Fabio Cannavaro sent his best wishes to all concerned stating that “you are the stars of the future” and telling them to “play with passion and strength“.
The two semi-finals, played at the Stadio Augusto Bisceglia in Aversa, saw C1B taking on C2B followed by C1A against their C2A counterparts. The first match saw the surprise result of the competition as C2B ran out surprising winners 6-4 on penalties after the teams had drawn 3-3 after 90 minutes and could not be separated in the extra 30. The second semi-final went to type with C1A running out narrow 1-0 winners over their C2 rivals.
The finals were played in Avellino at the Stadio Partenio. First up was the duel for third place between C1B and C2A. After their surprise defeat just 48 hours earlier, the youngsters from the third division were in no mood to let another opportunity slip by and claimed third spot with a 3-0 win thanks to goals from Frosinone’s Thomas Funari, Portogruaro’s Simone Corazza and Luca Belcastro of Carrarese.
The Final itself also went to form with C1A beating C2B 3-0. Goals from Viareggio duo Dario Maltese and Brunori Sandri and one from Pisa’s highly rated striker Giovanni Scampini took the favourites over the finishing line. Scampini’s stand-out performances at the tournament ensured he won the “Roberto Stracca” award as the competitions best player.
Stracca, a sports journalist for Italy’s most celebrated daily newspaper The Corriere Della Sera sadly passed away at only 40 years of age in 2010 and the trophy was introduced in his honour. On receiving the award, Scampini was surprised stating that “when the announcer called out my name I wasn’t paying any attention, then my colleagues explained to me that I had won the trophy”. He continued by saying that he was “honoured to receive the award” and hoped to have a great career in the game like his idol Thiago Motta.
Elsewhere, congratulations must also go out this week to Simone Aresti who scored his first ever career goal. Usually this would not be headline news but the 26-year-old former Cagliari youngster plays in goal for C2 side Savona. He used the intense wind blowing around the Stadio Valerio Bacigalupo to his benefit to score his teams second goal in their 2-0 win over Giacomense on Sunday.
Benevento have successfully managed to get a reduction to the six point penalty handed out to them at the start of the season. After their appeal hearing earlier this week, the club received a two point deficit from their original punishment and they now sit just outside the play-off positions in C1A. It was not such good news for C1B side Cremonese, who failed to get any of their six point penalty reduced, a decision which rounded off a forgettable weekend for the club after they lost Sunday’s derby game at home to Piacenza.
Staying in C1B, Trapani take over top-spot after they won 1-0 at home to Carrarese and leaders Siracusa were held to a 1-1 draw on the synthetic pitch in Spezia. Crisis club Triestina are close to receiving a two point deduction because they have been unable to pay their staff for the last three months. Kind-hearted supporters set up collection points around the Stadio Nereo Rocco before Sunday’s game against Andria to try to show their solidarity at this most critical of times.
In C1A, a late controversial goal by Taranto’s Vito Di Bari ensured the Puglian’s took all three points in Monday nights big game against Sorrento. Davide Dionigi’s side stay a point behind Ternana who also left it late to beat Lumezzane 1-0 on Sunday. Carpi sit third in the standings with Pro Vercelli in fourth after their 4-1 hammering of Pisa. C2A also has new leaders with Rimini now sitting proudly in top spot. Casale’s suprise 2-2 draw at bottom side Lecco allowed the Biancorossi to overtake them thanks to their 1-0 home win over Valenzana. Perugia still have a five point cushion at the summit of C2B over second placed side L’Aquila, who failed to capitalise on the Grifoni‘s goalless draw at Paganese by throwing away a two goal lead at home to Arzanese.
For more insight from the depths of the Italian lower leagues you can follow Steve Mitchell on twitter (@barafundler).
|Avellino 2 – 0 Viareggio
Benevento 1 – 0 Foligno
Carpi 2 – 1 Pavia
Como 1 – 2 Reggiana
Monza 2 – 1 Foggia
Pisa 1 – 4 Pro Vercelli
Spal 2 – 1 Tritium
Taranto 1 – 0 Sorrento
Ternana 1 – 0 Lumezzane
|Barletta 2 – 2 Virtus Lanciano
Cremonese 0 – 1 Piacenza
Latina 0 – 1 Bassano
Portogruaro 0 – 0 Feralpi Salo’
Prato 1 – 0 Frosinone
Spezia 1 – 1 Siracusa
Sudtirol 0 – 1 Pergocrema
Trapani 1 – 0 Carrarese
Triestina 1 – 1 Andria
|Alessandria v Virtus Entella (postponed)
Bellaria 1 – 2 San Marino
Cuneo v Pro Patria (postponed)
Lecco 2 – 2 Casale
Mantova 1 – 0 Sambonifacese
Montichiari 2 – 3 Borgo A Buggiano
Poggibonsi 1 – 0 Santarcangelo
Rimini 1 – 0 Valenzana
Savona 2 – 0 Giacomense
Treviso 0 – 1 Renate
|Aprilia 2 – 2 Milazzo
Aversa Normanna 2 – 1 Campobasso
Catanzaro 1 – 0 Ebolitana
Gavorrano 2 – 0 Celano Olimpia
Giulianova 0 – 2 Fano
L’Aquila 2 – 2 Arzanese
Melfi 1 – 1 Vibonese
Neapolis Frattese 2 – 0 Isola Liri
Paganese 0 – 0 Perugia
Image from Lega-Pro.com