Bologna-CagliariBy: Jeremy | April 10th, 2012
After Saturdays exciting but disappointing draw with Inter, Cagliari’s dream of a 6th place finish and a european place is pretty much gone. While the chances were slim to achieve such a final finish before the game with Inter, after the gain in confidence from the Atalanta win, there was still something to play for. After the draw with Inter, Cagliari sits in 12th place with 38 points, seven points above the drop zone, with the focus being able to finish safe and hopefully as strong as possible.
If you saw the Inter game, Cagliari showed again that if Pinilla is on the field, the offense is on another level. In addition to his own scoring, he makes the players around him better and inspires them to be confident in their own ability. While his post goal celebration cost him a yellow card and an ultimate dismissal, its hard to criticize his enthusiasm and he seems to clearly want to involve the fans, especially a group that traveled 600 miles to support the team. Once he was dismissed, Inter got the equalizer and was frustrated they didnt get another goal with all the time left with the man advantage. Check out the highlites……..
Even if the results sometimes dont go your way, things are so much better when the team is exciting to watch and there is a real goal scoring threat on the field. The success of Cagliari’s offseason will be determined by their ability to get Pinilla to return. Hopefully he understands he needs to build on his sucess which will eventually lead to a move to a bigger close. Lets just hope that does not come until summer 2013 at the soonest.
Now that the goal is to earn safety, the team has a little work to do and it starts with a midweek game against a similarly situated club in Bologna. They are one point behind us and have overcome a bad start with a nice run to be followed by some disappointing results which has left them where many expected they would finish which is safe but just above the relegation group. Like Cagliari they probably expected to finish higher but will be satisfied with another year in Serie A. They expect a home game with us to push them to the 40 point level. With DiVaio, Ramires, and the still untapped potential of Acquafresca, this team has some talent. It lacks Serie A quality depth so too many mistakes are made which cause points to be dropped.
Cagliari despite all its ups and downs this year, has to feel fairly stable on the field. They played well against Inter who still has a lot of talent even if they missed much of it on Saturday. Cagliari really should be in a higher place and it would be interesting to see what they could do with this same group for a whole year. If we can get Lazzarri back this will be an even better team next year and part of me hopes Acquafresca’s lack of time in Bologna will drive his price down and he can be brought back at a bargain price. He would be an ideal second striker for Pinilla at a reasonable cost and could allow Thiago Ribeiro to move more into a midfield role to replace Nainggolan who will likely leave this summer.
With Lecce the key team to watch, there is still time for them to escape the relegation zone. Teams like Genoa and Parma are under real stress but they get the two relegation certainties this weekend so they will have to get wins and if Bologna beats Cagliari and Lecce can beat Catania, there will be some real pressure. Ultimately its likely Lecce goes down, but we still have to watch the games and get 3-4 points to be sure. This should be able to be done in 6 matches but with us, you never know. This year really seems like a repeat of last year and ultimately Cellino will have to dig deeper into the pocketbook to get this team to the next level. We have become a team that seems to just edge out the relegation group and while this is better then being a yo yo type club, the fans want more.
While Cagliari and Cellino try to work out the stadium issue, one has to wonder how a new stadium is going to make sense when we cant even fill the Sant Elia. I would rather have a small stadium full then a big stadium where it seems like it is empty because of its size. Until the fans can show they can fill up the Sant Elia, why are we looking at investing in another stadium. If sponsorships etc make money great, but if it is empty, I am not sure how it makes sense.
There are still lots of questions to be answered but the team most focus on earning its safety so we can look toward the future. With Pinilla expected to miss this game because of suspension, I dont expect much on this road game as teams below us seem to improve their play once they realize their safety is an issue. Bologna will likely step up and do what they need to do while we regroup and look forward to the next match.