Catania vs. Palermo, Final Score 1-1: Sicilian Derby ends in chaos

Maurizio Lagana

An equalising goal with the final kick of the match has kept Palermo within touching distance of safety.

Josip Iličić scored for Palermo with the last kick of the match to spark chaos at the Angelo Massimino, keeping his side in with a chance of survival. The rosanero are now only a point adrift of safety, while Catania's third consecutive draw probably ends their hopes of qualifying for Europe.

Catania should've been ahead in the opening five minutes, when a drilled cross by Giovanni Marchese bounced into the path of Alejandro Gómez. The winger was in so much space in the area it seemed he must've been offside, but replays -- and the assistant referee -- said otherwise. Unfortunately, Gómez couldn't bring the ball under control, and it bounced away into the arms of Stefano Sorrentino.

The hosts were applying all of the early pressure, and a classic Francesco Lodi free-kick forced a great two-handed stop by Sorrentino after 13 minutes. Nicola Legrottaglie missed a free-header from the ensuing corner, and Palermo already looked in serious danger.

But, they had a gilt-edged chance of their own a few minutes later, when Josip Iličić got lucky and skipped through on goal. A simple pass to his left would've left Mauro Boselli with a tap-in (which he'd have done his best to miss), though Iličić decided to try the shot himself, only for it to be kept out by Mariano Andújar.

Sergio Almirón should've punished Iličić's greed when he slid into the box to meet a low cross by Mariano Izco, though it defied the laws of physics to clear the bar. It was an end-to-end game, and a Lodi free-kick went close again on the half-hour, minutes before Iličić fired wide and Palermo ended the half with a flourish.

However, their momentum was well and truly broken by the half-time break, from which Catania emerged galvanised. Sorrentino was forced into making a couple of important saves, including one excellent diving stop to keep out an effort by elefanti substitute Lucas Castro. With the home side in the ascendency, a goal was inevitable.

When it eventually came, it was Pablo Barrientos who scored -- and in scrappy circumstances. The Argentine winger was on hand to tap in a ball which had rebounded off the post, with Sorrentino slipping. Nevertheless, it was a deserved lead, and they continued to press for a second. Unable to find one, they were eventually made to pay the price.

It was a completely bizarre goal, and came completely out of nothing. In the fifth and final minute of stoppage time, a fairly innocuous-looking long ball was floated into the Catania box, though their defenders completely switched off. Abel Hernández flicked the ball into the path of Josip Iličić, who slammed the ball into the back of the net for a last-gasp Palermo equaliser.

As you'd imagine, the Catania folks didn't take too well to conceding so late, and a scuffle broke out, while the Palermo fans leapt around in delirium. The handbags saw elefanti keeper Andújar sent off after the whistle had gone, in a dramatic end to a slightly underwhelming -- but nevertheless significant -- match.

Catania: Mariano Andújar; Giovanni Marchese, Nicolás Spolli, Nicola Legrottaglie, Giuseppe Bellusci; Sergio Almirón (Lucas Castro 57), Francesco Lodi, Mariano Izco (Marco Biagianti 45); Alejandro Gómez, Gonzalo Bergessio, Pablo Barrientos

Palermo: Stefano Sorrentino; Salvatore Aronica, Steve von Bergen, Ezequiel Muñoz (Egidio Arévalo 73); Andrea Dossena, Jasmin Kurtić (Abel Hernández 78), Massimo Donati, Edgar Barreto, Michel Morganella; Mauro Boselli (Paulo Dybala 56), Josip Iličić

Goals: Barrientos 69 (C) Iličić 95 (P)

Red cards: Andújar 95 (C)

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