It’s difficult these days for Impact and Bologna owner, Joey Saputo, to find the perfect weekend. There have been exceptions like last week when both teams hit the jackpot, but more often than not things have turned out mixed. This weekend was no exception.
While the Montreal arm of the Saputo footballing operation was failing in Philly, the Italian version was stuffing “Samp” in Bologna.
It pretty much done for Sampdoria’s Europa League aspirations for next season, but more importantly it was a fifth win in seven for the Rossoblu. The change in coach from Pipo Inzaghi to Sinisa Mihajlovic at the end of January has been a decisive factor.
Inzaghi did not survive a dreadful 0-4 drubbing at home by bottom club but one, Frosinone, and in came the Serb for his second spell of managing at Stadio Renato Dall’Ara.
There was an immediate effect, Bologna went to the San Siro, where they defeated Inter 1-0, but defeats to Juventus, Roma and most critically, Udinese followed before the current good run of results took hold.
Now, with other results going their way this weekend, especially Empoli’s 2-4 reverse at home to SPAL, Bologna find themselves in a heady 15th position, only two points behind Parma. More significantly they are now 5 points clear of Empoli who occupy the last relegation spot, and have leap-frogged Udinese and Genoa as well.
Next weekend they can extend the gap over Empoli to 8 points by beating them at home thus all but sealing Serie A safety, which once looked a million miles away.
They could be thankful today for a poor display by young Samp ‘keeper Emil Audero. the 22-year-old was culpable on all three goals, the first of which arrived on 54 mins.
Audero finger-tipped Erick Pulgar’s free-kick onto the cross-bar, but lost co-ordination in trying to make the situation safe, the ball finally ricocheting off luckless, Lorenzo Tonelli’s shin into the net.
The Samp ‘keeper then flapped wildly at Chilean international, Pulgar’s free-kick from wide as the ball curled into the top corner of the goal (69).
But the worst was yet to come on 83 mins, when an acrobatic Orsolini scissor-kick volley squirmed through his hands, making the final scoreline, 3-0.
There are still tricky trips to Milan and Lazio ahead and a difficult home game on the final day against Napoli, but three points at Stade Renato Dell’Ara next weekend will massively ease the pressure.