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Ex-Impact Strikers ‘Flying High’ in Italy’s Third Tier …

Destination Serie B for Mancosu and Paponi ...

Toronto FC v Montreal Impact - Eastern Conference Finals - Leg 1
A return home has meant a return to goals Matteo Mancosu.
Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images

Two former Impact strikers are currently on fire in Italy’s Serie C.

Matteo Mancosu in his 5 games since joining Virtus Entella, has plundered 4 goals, the last coming on Wednesday evening in his side’s top of the table clash with Pro Vercelli. Mancosu, who struggled to find consistency during much of his time in Montreal, struck in the 9th minute slickly gliding between the visiting centre-backs onto an inviting through ball, before threading a low shot just inside the ‘keeper’s right-hand post.

Not long after, he almost made it two with a ferocious drive from distance that smacked the opposite post, before rebounding to safety. This time we saw a more familiar pose, the striker with hands clasped around his head in frustration.

Nevertheless since Matteo joined the little Ligurian club, they’ve won four times and lost once, and after Wednesday’s 2-1 victory, sit in third place in Group A, just one point below the team they defeated and Piacenza. Pro Vercelli however has played 3 more matches than Mancosu’s team, and Picenza, five.

Elsewhere, a little farther south, Daniele Paponi continues to top-score for Juve Stabia, along with the more widely recognized Juve (Turin), the only undefeated clubs in Italy’s top three divisions this season.

Paponi’s side are even better-placed than Mancosu’s to win promotion to Serie B. In Group C, they sit 6 points ahead, with a game in hand, of Sicilians, Trapani, ironically a former club of Mancosu and the one where he enjoyed the most prolific goal-scoring spell of his career.

Paponi was also in action, Wednesday evening as his side welcomed third-placed Catanzaro to Castellammare. Things didn’t turn out just so well for Juve, however they would end the 90 mins grateful to have their unbeaten record still intact.

When visiting play-maker Luca Giannone went down in the box with 5 mins left with the game still scoreless, Stabia’s players were visibly incensed at what they saw as simulation. Giannone picked himself up from the floor, prepared to deliver a blow that would seriously threaten the home side’s unbeaten run, and promptly chipped the ball into the arms of a grateful Juve goalkeeper who hadn’t dived left or right.

Home players surrounded the, by now not so smart penalty-taker, in a show of triumphant anger, relief and a high degree of animated satisfaction. They clearly felt justice had been done, and they wanted to let him know about it!

The game ended as it begun, scoreless, and the nine-point gap between first and third thus maintained.

Paponi, for his part, thought he’d put his side in front in the first-half, comfortably knocking in a rebound past Catanzaro ‘keeper, Furlan, but the striker had clearly, and rightly, been flagged offside. He does however remain the club’s leading marksman this season with 10 goals (22 apps).

Bologna FC v Mezzolara - Pre-Season Friendly
Daniele Paponi - frustrated by disallowed gaol on Wednesday, but flying high with Juve Stabia at the top of Serie C.
Photo by Roberto Serra/Iguana Press/Getty Images