SCOTT PETERSON - Monday, November 21, 2011
Michael Bradley went the distance in midfield for Chievo Verona, who picked up their first victory away from home this year and handed Calcio Catania their first loss at home in over a year.
In lieu of sticking with what worked last time out in a one-goal victory over Fiorentina, Domenico di Carlo opted to tinker with Chievo's squad a bit in the hope of offering up some resistance away from their home turf. He sat Bourkary Dramé on the left side of defense for the more attack-minded Bojan Jokic and gave Cyril Thereau a start up top in place of Davide Moscardelli.
Bradley was paired up in the middle alongside Brazilian Luciano and Italian Luca Rigoni, behind the attacking trio of Paolo Sammarco, Sergio Pellissier and the aforementioned Thereau.
The first half saw the home team exert their will on the flow of the match and a Chievo team that was content to defend whole heartedly to keep their hosts off the scoreboard. Catania had three golden opportunities to open the scoring in the first half, with Adrian Ricchiuti coming closest in the 32nd minute only to see his shot slide flirt with going in before going just wide of the target.
Despite their dominance, Chievo gained the advantage just minutes before the half-time whistle was set to sound. Pellissier got around his man and into the box, where he was unfairly tackled by Catania defender Nico Spolli.
Pellissier dusted himself off and grabbed the ball to take the spot kick. He sent keeper Mariano Andujar the wrong way and the ball into the back of the net for the 1-0 halftime line.
The second half was a veritable repeat of the first 45, with Catania attacking at will and Chievo letting the hosts come at them and looking to counter attack when opportunities arose.
In the 68th minute, Catania had a chance to get back on level terms after Chievo defender Davide Mandelli tackled Catania striker Maxi Lopez in the box for a penalty. But Franceso Lodi squandered the opportunity as his shot was stuffed by an incredible save by Chievo keeper Stefano Sorrentino.
Just 5 minutes later, Chievo made Catania pay for their prodigality, as the hosts were caught out on the counter attack. Pellissier got in behind the backline and squared for Sammarco, who will not have an easier goal tapping into an empty net. Chievo was a model of efficiency, converting their two best chances.
However, Catania did make things interesting as they pulled one back in the 78th minute, when Sergio Almiron's long-range effort took a wicked deflection and bounded into goal making it 2-1.
The game's remaining minutes were intense but ultimately uneventful, and the match ended with Chievo victorious.
The victory gives the Flying Donkeys 15 points and leaves them in a four-way tie for 7th place. Next week, Chievo and Bradley will have their hands full as they take on AC Milan at the San Siro.