The Cibali Stadium has taken its place in the Italian football dictionary for a phrase coined by Sandro Ciotti, one of Italy’s greatest football commentators.
On 4th June 1961, having seen Catania pull of a stunning victory against Helenio Herrera’s Inter, he blurted out “Clamoroso al Cibali!” (“Sensational at the Cibali!”), a line that was to gift this rather unbecoming stadium its place in Serie A folklore.
So far this season, the Etnei have managed to honour their forefathers’ feat: Inter and Napoli have already fallen to the Sicilians, who have also grabbed sixth place and sit only three points away from Milan.
For all the Massimino’s aura, Catania will have to quit their beloved home ground this weekend and face up to the Rossoneri on Milanese soil.
Can they beat them? At 33/4, it seems rather unlikely, but there are a couple of odds that might just redress the imbalance.
For a start the Etnei have recently come close to coining a fresh, San Siro-based soundbite. In 2010, they took a two-goal lead against the Rossoneri after a blistering first half.
Unfortunately for them, Marco Borriello was on rare form to gift Milan a point, but the home side took notice of just how impressive this weekend’s guests could be.
There are other reasons why Vincenzo Montella’s side might be able to take their good home form to Milan, and come back with the points they need to catch up with them in the table.
For a start, they have only lost once this season, away to Genoa. Secondly, Milan have been stunned by Antonio Cassano’s health problems, something rather evident in their disjointed display against the mighty BATE Borisov.
The Sicilians might have only beaten Milan once over their last nine encounters, yet this seems as good a time as any to break their Serie A duck (that last win came in the Coppa Italia).
Massimiliano Allegri’s side will also be under pressure to perform, as Juve’s big tie with Napoli will possibly present the Milanese side with an incredible opportunity to chew away those two points which separate them from the Bianconeri.
Despite these points, a Catania win might still seem excessively optimistic to some, but there are a couple of other bets that might just come to fruition.
For a start, a draw (7/2) seems more than probable. Otherwise, the Sicilians’ scoring record is impressive: with ten goals in their last five (two against Fiorentina), they should present quite a threat to a club that hasn’t kept a clean sheet in its last four encounters.
At 3/2, they are an interesting punt to score once, yet even more fascinating at 6/1 to bang in two.
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Otherwise, Gonzalo Bergessio should attract some attention: with two goals (worth a total of three points) against Napoli and Lazio over the last fortnight, the ex St Etienne man looks likely to net last against the Rossoneri, an eventuality currently priced at 7/1.
Now that we’re onto the scorers, Antonio Cassano’s absence, coupled with Alexandre Pato’s injury worries, have forced Milan to declare that they’ll be jumping onto the mercato bandwagon at Christmas.
My tip would be to keep your eyes peeled on a young pharaoh capable of dazzling feats, yet now under pressure to perform and carve out a place in the starting eleven.
Step forward Stephan El Shaarawy, 7/1 to score last or an exceedingly generous 2/1 to do so at any time.
What of Milan’s chances? Well, let’s gloss over that 7/20 for the win and focus on a Milan win despite a 0:2 handicap priced at 5/2.
That’s far more appetizing, since goals will no doubt be on the agenda, something confirmed by another bet: at 16/5, bwin are offering generous odds in case the game were to end 2-1, 3-1 or 4-1.
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