Parma vs Palermo, Final Score 2-1: Amauri the unlikely hero

Claudio Villa

Amauri has come of the bench to score against his former club, in an agonising last-gasp defeat for a Palermo side who arguably should have won the game.

Gian Piero Gasperini's side were the better of the two in the first half, taking the game to Parma with a high-intensity start. They should have taken the lead inside the opening 20 minutes, but Franco Brienza -- having been found by a low cross from impressive young wing-back Giulio Sanseverino -- managed to prod wide from inside the box, as the visiting fans broke down in tears of desperation, muttering something about how that's why Brienza's been linked with a move to Serie B.

Edgar Barreto's effort from the edge of the area stung the palms of Antonio Mirante a few moments later, with Parma's opening half-chance coming from young winger Nicola Sansone, whose volley from the edge of the area narrowly cleared the bar.

Palermo played the first half with the energy, verve and even confidence of a side much higher up the table, with the hosts struggling to cope with the intense rosanero pressing which saw the momentum swing back their way towards the end of the opening 45. Josip Iličić twice forced Mirante into excellent saves from long range, before Santiago García nodded a corner over from point-blank range.

The second half saw Parma emerge with the sort of attacking hunger that only a kick up the backside from Roberto Donadoni could have created. Ishak Belfodil should have scored shortly after the restart, though Massimo Gobbi's fine cross skimmed his forehead, before the ball looped up into the arms of Francesco Benussi.

It was an error which Belfodil atoned for just past the hour, stabbing home a corner flicked on by Fabiano Santacroce, handing Parma the lead -- and probably a fortunate one at at that. It could quickly have been 2-0, but Sansone's effort was deflected by his teammate Jonathan Biabiany onto the legs of Benussi.

Palermo regrouped and set themselves for a final charge, as the hosts were pushed ever deeper. Eventually the pressure and grim inevitability told with ex-Parma striker Igor Budan rising to head in Michel Morganella's cross from the right.

But, another misfiring mediocre former-striker-for-the-other-team would be having the last laugh. Usually so hapless and clumsy, Amauri managed to score out of nothing in stoppage time, bringing the ball down under pressure in the area before striking it towards Benussi, who aided Parma by making a hash of the slightly deflected effort.

The win saw Parma fans cheering in a slightly embarrassed and apologetic fashion as they retain 8th place in the leage. Palermo, meanwhile, are just one place off bottom and have been in touch with Emilian police after this smash and grab raid.

Parma (4-3-3): Antonio Mirante; Massimo Gobbi, Alessandro Lucarelli, Gabriel Paletta, Yohan Benalouane (Fabiano Santacroce 56); Marco Parolo, Gianluca Musacci (Afriyie Acquah 56), Marco Marchionni; Nicola Sansone (Amauri 77), Ishak Belfodil, Jonathan Biabiany

Palermo (3-4-2-1): Francesco Benussi; Santiago García, Salvatore Aronica, Steve Von Bergen; Giulio Sanseverino (Anselmo 68), Jasmin Kurtić (Cephas Malele 80), Edgar Barreto, Michel Morganella; Franco Brienza, Josip Iličić; Paulo Dybala (Igor Budan 83)

Goals: Belfodil 62 (Par), Budan 85 (Pal), Amauri 92 (Par)

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