Published On: Thu, Jan 31st, 2013

Cagliari Club Focus: An almost pointless draw

One could have been called a little premature for calling the game between Cagliari and Palermo, a relegation battle. It is after all only January and the festive season has only just left us.

The stark reality was however, that this ‘Derby of the Islands’ highlighted the very precarious position that both teams found themselves in.

Cagliari, in fairness, have started the New Year with a fair degree of vigour and fight, mixed with an almost unimaginable hint of stability. Admittedly they lost their first match of 2013 away at Lazio but a well-earned win at Genoa was followed up with a creditable draw away at Atalanta and a game against Palermo, sitting below them seemed winnable.

The game itself ended in a draw mixed with controversy. Josip Ilicic had put the away side ahead against the run of play but in the final minutes Cagliari got what they deserved, an equaliser, albeit after a controversial decision.

Both teams disagreed on which way the throw in should go and when the home team saw the decision go their way they then delighted the 9,000 strong in the Stadio Is Arena by scoring a late goal.

Tempers ran high and both Fabrizio Miccoli and Coach Gasperini were sent off for dissent. Cagliari Coach Ivo Pulga said “There were many moves after the supposed changed throw-in before it got round to the goal, so it was not decisive. We deserved more than a point, as we created a great deal.”

The result did neither team any favours and the Sardinians will look at the next two games with trepidation as they face Roma away before Milan at home. After this there is the ‘respite’ of a game against struggling Pescara but the challenge that presents itself is by no means one they will relish.

There are things to be positive however, first of all in the game of Palermo Marco Sau continued to impress and his form shows no sign of diminishing. Pulga’s side are also creating chances and Milan and especially Roma will not be sleeping easy the night before their games against the islanders.

Also it seems that the Mayor of Cagliari has finally started to like, or at least tolerate the Stadio Is Arena, the recently-built stadium has been subject to safety concerns this season, however, it seems that it has now been passed okay for the foreseeable future.

Davide Astori also looks like he could stay at least until the end of the season. He said “I’m calm about the rumours, That is because this situation is in the hands of capable people like President Massimo Cellino and director general Francesco Marroccu”

The next game away at Roma is positively enthralling as Zeman’s team finds the concept of defending both alien and terribly disinteresting. This could fall tantalisingly into Pulga’s game plan and if Sau or any other of the very capable front line senses the urgency of the situation, then an away win, although shocking, could be a reality.

Follow me on on Twitter: @RichardHall_TGU or visit his blog The Gentleman Ultra

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