It goes without saying that last season was one that Crotone fans will not forget in a hurry.
In fact, most Serie A supporters definitely won’t be forgetting Crotone’s debut appearance in the top flight. Up until the last nine rounds, the Squali were drowning rather than staying afloat. For all intents and purposes, it seemed like their first ever sojourn into the upper echelon of Italian football was set to end even before it begun.
On matchday 29, they were sitting in 19th place, leaving many to wonder if Crotone could indeed “pull a Leicester” and survive the drop. Up until then, Davide Nicola’s side had won just three games: against Chievo, Pescara, and Empoli. The Flying Donkeys became the team with the dubious honor to lose both home and away against the minnows when they were defeated 2-1 on matchday 30, and once Crotone got a taste of winning, they never looked back.
In fact, out of their last nine games, they only lost once. The opponents? Juventus. That obviously should be no surprise to anyone. It was nothing short of a David vs. Goliath clash, and in this case, David had a gimpy slingshot. Crotone showed great grit to rebound after that to beat Lazio on the final matchday, and even then, their fate was not entirely in their own hands.
Rather, they needed Palermo to do them a huge favor, and the Sicilians duly delivered, by defeating Empoli to drag the complacent Azzurri back down into Serie B as Crotone squeaked by into 17th place.
Mission accomplished…so now what?
Just like Sassuolo did before them, Crotone survived their first attempt in Serie A, albeit barely. Not every debutant is so lucky. Just ask Frosinone, who ironically beat Crotone in 2015 to get their ticket to the top flight. Or Carpi.
Now, the real work begins. The novelty has worn off. Just like a first-year student at uni, where mistakes are forgiven, second-year is a lot more trickier. Unfortunately, things have not started off on the right foot. Last weekend, Crotone were given a rude welcome to life in the top flight as they were outplayed and outclassed by AC Milan. An early red card left Nicola’s side with no chance at redemption as they were three goals down in less than 30 minutes, but they certainly had a shot at getting back on track as they will be welcoming Hellas Verona on Sunday.
In fact, the Verona game has come at the perfect time. They’re playing at home again, and Verona are a newly promoted side who have had their share of ups and downs – the Gialloblu have bounced back and forth between Serie A and B for quite some time. What better way to recover some lost confidence – and some of that verve that saw Crotone pull off a massive great escape than to take on an “easier” opponent on home turf? Many are expecting the Squali to bite back, which is why they’re looking good at 21/50 to clinch at least a point on Sunday.
- Soccer News Like
- Be the first of your friends!