di Andrea Rosselli
Fair 1-1 draw today in Livorno for the Granata, who finished this very intense year 2006 by collecting the fifth positive result in their last six outings.
Zaccheroni’s men took a deserved lead in the middle of the first half with Cioffi and confirmed their very good shape by playing very well for almost one hour, missing a few good chances to score the second goal, while the last part of the match (following Lucarelli’s equalizer, which came precisely in the 60th minute) was controlled by the hosts but without any real danger for Abbiati’s net.
Toro made their intentions clear after only three minutes, when Rosina hit the post with a superb free kick. Zaccheroni’s men kept on playing with personality, defending with the usual accuracy and taking control of the midfield, and deservedly took the lead after 24 minutes, when a corner kick by Rosina found Gabriele Cioffi all alone in the middle of the box: powerful header and no chance for Amelia. Livorno’s reaction came five minutes later, when a header by Lucarelli was superbly saved by Christian Abbiati, even though had probably crossed the line when the Granata keeper bounced it back.
That episode, however, didn’t change the match’s inertia: led by Rosina, once again the best man on the pitch, and by a superb Ardito in the middle, Toro kept on playing better and dominated the following minutes, going close to the second goal in several occasions and especially in the 34rd minute, when Comotto hit the bar with a superb right-footer from outside the box.
The Granata started very well also in the second half: after 3 minutes Rosina skimmed the post with a fine left-footer, and moments later another shot was deflected by a Livorno defender just over the bar.
Livorno reacted and missed an incredible chance with Lucarelli, who didn’t find the target despite being all alone in front of the empty net: a few minutes later, however, the former Toro striker took profit of a defensive mistake by Cioffi and netted the 1-1 with an accurate header.
In the last part Toro looked very tired and Livorno dominated, but only in terms of ball possession: the Granata defended with determination and the hosts were totally unable to create any scoring opportunity. Things didn’t change even after the ejection of Barone, who was shown the second yellow card in the 78th minute: with Muzzi, Fiore and Gallo for Stellone, Lazetic and Rosina Toro kept on defending this precious result, which allows Zaccheroni’s troops to end the year with a more than positive 8th place in the Serie A table.