Di Carmine double gets Hellas off to a flyer
#1. Verona off to a flyer. Any suggestion that Verona would struggle to rediscover the momentum that had propelled them towards the European places before the Coronavirus pandemic brought the season to a grinding halt were quickly dispensed with on Saturday evening at a deserted Bentegodi. Hellas got off to the best possible start as the championship was finally rebooted. Positive, precise and potent, the opening 35 minutes of Saturday night’s encounter at the Bentegodi were as impressive as anything we have seen so far this season. A commendable achievement after such a long-enforced layoff.
#2. Di Carmine at the double. There were a few surprises when Juric set out his starting eleven late on Saturday evening, not least the inclusion of Samuel Di Carmine. The striker has not always been Juric's preferred choice up front. In fact, this was only his 13th starting appearance of the season. He responded in the best possible way to his surprise inclusion by scoring the opener after just 14 minutes, a glancing header following some skilful interplay between Lazovic and Amrabat on the left flank. His second was a super individual effort, an exquisite strike from long range after he'd won possession just inside Cagliari's half.
#3. Bamboozled Borini sees red. Just as Verona seemed to have the game wrapped up and under control, matters were taken out of their hands by a controversial intervention by the referee. A clumsy challenge that was neither reckless nor dangerous was, after consultation with the video, deemed to warrant a straight red card. A bamboozled looking Borini trudged off as Verona, not for the first time this season, adapted their game plan to cope with a numerical deficiency.
#4. Amrabat unleashed. Not for the first time this season, Amrabat was instrumental in everything Verona achieved on the pitch. In both offensive and defensive phases, his contribution was simply immense. His stats speak for themselves: 94% pass accuracy, 2 key passes, 5 successful dribbles, 12 ground duels won and 3 tackles (player stats courtesy of our friends at @SerieAScout). Of all the players projected to leave Verona this summer, his boots will be the hardest to fill.
#5. Playing the wide man. Verona’s indispensable wide-men Darko Lazovik and Davide Faraoni have been crucial to the offensive system employed by Juric to such great affect this season. On Saturday it was Lazovic’s turn to shine with another decisive contribution. His cross to pick out Di Carmine for the opener was inch-perfect, and he nearly got on the score sheet himself with a powerful shot that rattled off the crossbar.