Serie A Club of the Round – Lecce

A surprise appearance for Lecce in the club of the week column, but it is a completely deserved one as they fully exploited Torino’s dismal form to get their first home win in dominating fashion.

They had previously stopped both Juventus and Inter at Via Del Mare, but they had yet to triumph in front of their fans. They had also collected just two points in the past seven rounds.

After a pair of games with 3-5-2, Fabio Liverani switched back to a diamond formation, selecting newcomers Antonin Barak and Riccardo Saponara in the lineup over Marco Mancosu, who was battling the flu. Jacopo Petriccione was banged up and Panagiotis Tachtisidis was sidelined by a knee injury, so the midfield was completed by Alessandro Deiola and Zan Majer. Filippo Falco and Gianluca Lapadula were the only available strikers, Mauro Vigorito filled in for the injured Gabriel between the sticks and Andrea Rispoli kept his spot in the XI despite Marco Calderoni being available.

It took the Salentini ten minutes to score the first goal against a very passive and unmotivated side: Saponara fed the trailing Deiola with a low-drive cross on a corner kick and the former Cagliari man blasted it home for his first career goal. Eight minutes later, Majer recovered the ball deep on the left flank, his cross was poorly cleared by Djidji and Barak punched it home with some purpose.

The Granata hit the net at the end of the first half on an Andrea Belotti free kick deflected by a pair of players, but Lorenzo De Silvestri was ruled offside.

After the break, Giulio Donati found a wide open Lapadula in the box, but the striker’s header was too weak. Falco put the nail in the coffin at the 64th minute as he was allowed to settle the ball and take aim from the edge of the box and rifled it right in the top corner. The final goal, by Lapadula, came from the penalty spot after Bremer crashed into Yevhen Shakhov in the box.

As far as the relegation zone is concerned, the Giallorossi gained three full points on Brescia and SPAL, which were defeated in the weekend, and two over Genoa: they are now a game above the third-to-last position.

The drubbing lead to a fantasy bonanza: Barak, Falco and Saponara all racked up six points, all of the defenders five thanks to a rare clean sheet, Lapadula got three for scoring, as he was docked one for a yellow card.

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