Tullio M. Puglia
They left it late, but Palermo's first game under Alberto Malesani ended in a 1-1 draw after an equalising goal from Diego Fabbrini, keeping them within four points of safety. Pescara, meanwhile, stay within a point.
That was despite the fact that the delfini actually started the match the brighter of the two teams, controlling possession well in the opening moments. Unfortunately, they didn't have anything to show for this bright start, save for a terrible long-range effort by Gaetano D'Agostino.
The opening opportunity fell for Palermo defensive midfielder Egidio Arévalo, though the Uruguayan's effort from the edge of the box was deflected behind for a corner. He had another decent opportunity moments later, though this one he blazed over the bar.
By now, the rosanero were pretty comfortable in the game, and should have taken the lead just after the half-hour when Ezequiel Muñoz wriggled free of his marker in the box, diving onto a corner, only to see it agonisingly skim the near post. Before half time Diego Fabbrini went close after shooting through a mass of Pescara bodies in the box, though his curled effort from the edge of the area cleared the bar.
Pescara had the best chance of the match to take the lead right from the restart, though Gianluca Caprari, entirely free in the middle, scuffed his shot straight into the arms of Stefano Sorrentino. It wasn't long before he was tellingly substituted.
Despite conceding this opportunity, the hosts were bossing the game again, and Mauro Boselli's first touch after coming off the bench was a header which whistled just wide of the post. He was undeliberately and indirectly involved in setting up the chance to rule all chances a couple of minutes later, though after his shot was deflected into the path of an open Andrea Dossena on the edge of the six yard box, he skewed his shot wide.
With just over 15 minutes to go, a death knell rang out for Palermo, with the sound of tumbleweed blowing across the Renzo Barbera turf the only noise in the ground. Not only had they contrived to miss chance after chance against arguably the weakest team in the division, but they'd conceded. Birkir Bjarnason, the substitute, headed into the net to hand his side the lead. Serie B beckoned.
But, just over five minutes later, the scores were level. A cross from the right bounced through the crowded area and perfectly into the path of Diego Fabbrini, who was lurking at the far post. This time, he couldn't miss, stabbing the ball into the net to open his Palermo account.
A rosanero onslaught followed, but, Palermo being Palermo, they couldn't find a winning goal. Arévalo slid over from inside the area, Muñoz's acrobatic effort was caught by Mattia Perin before Jasmin Kurtić saw his long range effort deflected just over the bar. Amusingly, Pescara came close to winning the game with the last kick of the match, though a vicious cross from the left was palmed away by Sorrentino.
The draw leaves Palermo bottom of the table, now four points adrift of safety. Today they didn't play badly, but undoubtedly need to be more clinical to survive. With their squad, they really ought to be able to. As for Pescara, they continue to defy the odds, today picking up a point despite being completely dominated. They're only a point and a place inside the drop zone, though it's hard to see them getting out of it.
Palermo (3-5-2): Stefano Sorrentino; Salvatore Aronica, Steve Von Bergen, Ezequiel Muñoz; Andrea Dossena, Egidio Arévalo, Massimo Donati (Jasmin Kurtić 77), Édgar Barreto, Nélson (Mauro Fórmica 83); Diego Fabbrini, Paulo Dybala (Mauro Boselli 57)
Pescara (4-3-3): Mattia Perin; Antonio Bocchetti, Uros Ćosić (Luciano Zauri 46), Bianchi Arce, Damiano Zanon; Giuseppe Rizzo, Gaetano D'Agostino, Manuele Blasi (Emanuele Cascione 79); Mervan Çelik, Milton Caraglio, Gianluca Caprari (Birkir Bjarnason 66
Goals: Bjarnason 73 (Pes) Fabbrini 80 (Pal)