As I’ve discussed here and elsewhere, I spend a little too much time keeping my eyes on how Lecce get on in (now) Serie C1. Last weekend saw the second leg of their playoff final with Frosinone with the winners to be promoted to Serie B.
The first leg, a week hence and in Puglia, was 1-1. This week, 2,000 and more Giallorossi tifosi turned up to see their heroes and went into the game as slight favourites. When that, too, ended 1-1, we were set for extra-time. That was pretty hairy, though after goalscorer Beretta was dismissed, the 10 men of Lecce were under the cosh for huge periods of time.
I managed to catch extra-time and Frosinone huffed, and they puffed and they, eventually, blew the Lupi’s house down – in a nice volte-face from the fairy story. It was a header from a corner that did it and, Alessandro Frara made himself a hero. I can’t say it wasn’t deserved.
Nor can I make that claim of Marcus Paixao Diniz’s red card, which he received for a headbutt a couple of minutes after that goal. That sending off seemed to send the crowd into meltdown, and a pitch invasion ensued that saw players and supporters alike involved in all sorts of bedlam. Not dissimilar, it has to be said, to the scenes after Lecce’s defeat to Carpi in last season’s playoffs (although this time it was Frosinone fans doing the invading).
The LegaPro has passed sentence on those involved now and Diniz has got a two game ban (fair dos – he headbutted somebody). Meanwhile Franco Lerda, who rather contritely admitted to ‘losing his head’, has been banned until December 31st 2014.
The official release details the reasoning thus.
“At the end of the match, in response to the provocations of an supporter of the opposing team, railed against him and struck him with his fist; dismissed by some security officers and their managers, they eluded the intervention and reached a player of the opposing team and tugged him, then struck him with a slap to the face; after apparently calming, he reached the corner where supporters of his team were to applaud them along with some players; then on the way to the dressing room, he was struck by insults and provocations on the part of some local supporters who had entered the field of play;in response to that behavior he hurled a football against a young fan and sent him to the ground, then hit him again with two fists, before walking then running to the locker room.”
Now, I’m not an expert on this kind of thing but a ban until December 31st seems fairly reasonable – despite what Mr Lerda says – his claims of justification pale a little against his actions and the most pertinent part of his statement is
“I was wrong.”
He was. Lecce are a fine club, they had a tremendous season – had they not lost their first five games of the season, they might well have been promoted automatically. However, incidents like this do the club no favours and, perhaps even more so, seeing their coach banned until the end of they year and losing Diniz for two games for a headbutt is important. Moreso than that, Matteo Ciofani and Mariano Bogliacino both miss one game for trying to attack an opposition player, and Giuseppe Abruzzese, Nicholas Caglioni, Walter Lopez, and Gilberto Martinez all miss a game for their own individual actions.
It was nothing short of a disgrace.