Catania v Udinese, preview: Sometimes they can even see the evidence of the gods

Doug Pensinger

On Saturday, Serie A Week 29 kicks off with eighth-placed Catania hosting ninth-placed Udinese. Does either side really have a chance of realizing their European dreams?

There were some ridiculous-looking animals. But they looked good to eat, and he was hungry.

On Saturday, the herd of roaming zebras will follow a southern course, crossing mountains and plains, hills and valleys, and even an ocean (aboard a ferry, of course) until they reach their destination: a beautiful sunlight patch of grass, with every blade precisely sharpened and reaching the same length. There the zebrette will linger, primarily near two white posts, but every once in awhile, one will break free of the pack. He will blaze forth a trail, venturing into enemy territory. Nearer and nearer he will come to his goal, a similar outpost of white sticks signifying his destination. Then suddenly, from the distance, comes the sound of heavy footsteps.

It was the strangest and most beautiful thing they had ever seen, and they wondered why the gods had sent it.

The elephants had been content to linger on the other side of the grassy field. They'd found a fun toy, a round object that flew through the air with ease. Although their ungainly manner meant it was difficult for the elefanti to control the ball, they were still having fun torturing the zebras, making countless attempts to slide the wonderous object through the middle of the herd.

The trouble started when the zebras began to fight back, snatching the ball -- which clearly belonged to the elephants -- and running down the field. Then the elephants would have to thunder after their toy, hoping they could catch up with their speedy foes. Fortunately for the elefanti, it seemed the zebras weren't very interested in actually playing with the ball, and were often content to give it back and let the elephants have their fun.

It looks like a paradise, but it is in fact the most treacherous desert in the world... the Kalahari. After the short rainy season, there are many waterholes, and even rivers. But after a few weeks, the water sinks away into the deep Kalahari sand, the waterholes dry up, and the rivers stop flowing. The grass fades to a beautiful blond colour that offers excellent grazing. But for the next nine months there will be no water to drink, so most of the animals move away, leaving the blond grass uneaten.

And so the two sides from the savanna of Italy will leave the grassy field, unfulfilled and unsatisfied. They will continue to wander over the course of the next two months, occasionally ruffling a few feathers or making a disconcerting splash, but come May they will slip back into the shadows. Europe, once again, will remain unconquered.

Catania Injuries and Suspensions

Ciro Capuano (injured); Nicolas Spolli (suspended); Gonzalo Bergessio (in doubt)

Udinese Injuries and Suspensions

Mehdi Benatia, Andrea Lazzari, Giovanni Pasquale and Giampaolo Pinzi (injured); Maurizio Domizzi, Thomas Heurtaux and Maicosuel (suspended)

Match Date / Time: Saturday, March 16 at 6 p.m. local, 1 p.m. ET

Venue: Stadio Angelo Massimino, Catania

TV: Sky Calcio 1, BeIN Sport, RAI Internazionale

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