Giuseppe Sannino had the luxury of naming a virtually unchanged side following Palermo's victory over Sampdoria last week, with only Stefano Sorrentino being restored in goal in place of Francesco Benussi. Stefano Pioli also made just a single change, the injured Alessandro Diamanti making way for Manolo Gabbiadini in the Bologna attack.
Palermo came charging out of the blocks and within five minutes, they were ahead. Josip Ilicic, on fire of late, cut in from the left hand side, exchanged passes with Fabrizio Miccoli before bending a left-footed shot around Gianluca Curci and into the bottom corner of the net to give the Rosanero a confidence boosting early advantage.
With a goal on the board, Palermo were content to sit back and allow Bologna to come to them however despite enjoying the majority of possession, they were unable to trouble Palermo goalkeeper Stefano Sorrentino.
Palermo were looking dangerous on the break, Ilicic coming close to a second after Jasmin Kurtic won the ball in midfield and Miccoli shooting meekly at Curci after Kurtic again took advantage of some sloppy Bologna passing.
Maybe the lack of action for Sorrentino affected his concentration because in the 17th minute, Bologna were level thanks to a truly inexplicable error from the keeper. Steve Von Bergen aimed a backpass from the right touchline which Sorrentino only had to kick clear, however he seemed to be about to dive on it before realising his own player had passed it and pulling out. The ball ran underneath him and Manolo Gabbiadini gratefully finished into the empty net, leaving Sorrentino with egg well and truly on his face.
The equaliser opened the game up and both teams began to come forward with purpose, Palermo the more effective attackers and coming closest to scoring again as Fabrizio Miccoli beat the offiside trap, shooting cleverly with the outside of his foot however despite beating Curci, the ball came back off the upright to keep the scores level.
Palermo's chances were hit by the departure of the talismanic Ilicic ten minutes after the break, succumbing to a hamstring injury and being replaced by the young Argentine striker Paulo Dybala.
Palermo were easily controlling the match, but for much the second half opportunities were hard to come by. Miccoli cut in from the left to shoot but his effort skimmed way wide of Curci's post.
Bologna did enjoy a brief period of pressure, substitute Cristian Pasquato's well-struck volley going inches wide and Alberto Gilardino finding space in the box twice, the first time his attempted volley completely missed the ball with Steve Von Bergen pressuring and the second his shot was saved by Sorrentino.
As the match approached its conclusion, Palermo were really ramping up the pressure on the Bologna defence. Jasmin Kurtic had his heels clipped in the penalty area by Saphir Taider but the contact was accidental and despite the Slovenian's protests, no penalty was awarded.
Abel Hernandez, on as a substitute after a seven month injury layoff, struck a long-range effort that flew inches over the bar whilst Edgar Barreto had a strike from a similar distance palmed away by Curci. Moments later, Santiago Garcia forced another save from the Bologna keeper with a fierce hit from a tight angle but despite the pressure, the ball remained out of the Bologna goal and Palermo now slip two points away from safety following Siena's victory on Saturday.
Palermo: Sorrentino; Von Bergen, Donati, Aronica; Arevalo Rios; Morganella, Kurtic, Barreto, Garcia; Ilicic (Dybala 55), Miccoli
Bologna: Curci; Garics, Antonsson, Cherubin, Morleo; Krhin, Kone (Guarente 38), Taider, Christodoulopoulos (Pasquato 64); Gilardino, Gabbiadini
Goals: Ilicic 5 (P), Gabbiadini 17 (B)