Serie A Club of the Week: Crotone


There was a surprising team of the week in the last Serie A round: Crotone were the only one to score multiple goals and keep a clean sheet. They also get the nod because they did it on the road and in a massive game for their seasonal objective, as they took down a direct challenger in the relegation race such as Hellas Verona.

Walter Zenga immediately put the newcomers Federico Ricci and Ahmad Benali in his standard 4-3-3 and they certainly gave the team more oomph. He benched Ante Budimir and moved Marcello Trotta to centre-forward, while had been playing out of position on the right flank recently. Ricci took over that role and was outstanding, proving how badly they needed a reinforcement in that area.

Things immediately took a turn for the better for the Sharks, as Andrea Barberis beat Nicolas with a fantastic long-range free kick in the first minute of the game. They then sat back to defend and somehow withstood Hellas’ charges in the first half, with a big help from Romulo, who wasted a clear-cut chance from excellent position.

As the Scaligeri’s energy inevitably faded, the guests were able to put together some good counters and the capitalized twice at the beginning of the second half, first with Adrian Stoian, who sneaked past the defenders and was beautifully served by Federico Ricci for an easy finish, and then with the youngster himself, who found the back of the net with a terrific curvy shot. They were also helped by Bruno Zuculini, who received a red card for a nasty tackle before the third goal.

From the fantasy perspective, it was a great haul. The clean sheets gave points to Alex Cordaz and the rest of the backline, even though many defenders , like Federico Ceccherini,  Marco Capuano and Bruno Martella, were also booked, which hurt them a little. On the other side of the ball, Barberis got six, Stoian and Ricci five.

Crotone were coming off three straight losses on the road, but they showed up when they needed to and are now in 17th position, so they got out of the last three places, and are two points above Spal and two behind Cagliari. Verona hit rock-bottom with this result, which constituted the fourth loss in a row, and showed they need a lot more from the transfer market. They are also pondering a coaching change.

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