yes I know it was only Catania and yes I know they had their best player sent off after 15 minutes but SEVEN goals doens't happen very often so I want to enjoy it whilst I can.
Mexes started on the bench and Tonetto was out too. Catania though newly promoted had been doing really well so far this season, playing some attractive attacking football and hovering in the upper part of mid-table. But this all went out of the window quite quickly. No point giving you a tactical analysis really since it was just embarrassing. and funny. Mascara elbowed Chivu in the face at 1-0, about 15' and that was really that. Goals were from Panucci (2) Perrotta (2) plus Mancini, Montella and finally Totti. 4-0 up at half time. then they had a second player sent off for 2 yellows in the closing minutes.
Catania brought more fans than I've ever seen at the Olimpico, I think, a minimum of 5000 and maybe more, such that the distinti ospiti did not suffice and they got half the curva nord as well, with the rest of the curva obviously empty for security reasons. Of course this caused chaos elsewhere, with the nord season-ticket holders shunted round into other areas and a general air of disorder. But the Catanese deserve major credit, not just for their numbers but for their organisation, banners, flags and tireless singing, clapping and jumping up and down. They're the first fans I've ever been able to hear from right in the middle of the Sud, even (once or twice) when we were singing. They had a bit of a lull after the third and fourth goals, but by 6-0 down they were making a fucking racket, they never shut up and deserve much respect. I think only one of their players went to acknowledge them afterwards, and though I know that after a 7-0 tonking you must just want to get the hell out of there asap, that seems a bit poor.
at 4-0 we were singing '5-0 perché no? perché no?... 6-0 perché no?' all the way up to 12-0. hehe. by 7-0 we were reduced to cheering the Catania players every time they managed to string two passes together, 'olè! olè!' as they managed to actually get 3 passes between their fantastically dispirited back four. in fact if anything we sang less than them at the end, having run through all our repetoire and lacking the incentive to do anything other than celebrate whereas they still had pride to sing for.
My personal, er, highlight, was an elbow to the face which got me square in the teeth during the celebrations of, I think, the fifth goal. Which really really really hurt. All bloody night. bit of blood, no teeth lost though. Comunque... se si va nella Sud, c'è da aspettare, no? the guy with the big elbows leant over... 'tutto a posto?' sez he, 'si si tutto a posto,' sez I, 'sicuro?' he insists, 'si si si.... no' I replied. hehe. no lasting harm done, all fine today.
Anyway good morale booster for the next Champions game on wednesday, and Valencia meanwhile lost to Seville and are without Edu as well as Baraja and Albeda so are not in good shape.
Shame I don't know any Catanese really.