12 February 2015
Cesena, who were relegated from Italy’s top flight in 2012, arrived back in Serie A at the start of this season having achieved promotion via the playoffs.
Funnily enough it was their superior away record which helped them to finish fourth in Serie B and subsequently return to the big time following victories over Modena and Latina in the knockout process.
During their promotion push, Cesena only registered 34 points out of a possible 63 at the Dino Manuzzi, having won nine, drawn seven and lost five of their encounters on home soil.
In order to remain among the Serie A elite, a vast improvement was needed in front of their own faithful and it looked like the message had been received loud and clear by the players as an Alejandro Rodriguez strike ensured a 1-0 opening day victory over Parma in August.
But the optimism was shortlived due to Empoli (2-2) and then Milan (1-1) each coming away from the Manuzzi with a point during the month of September. It didn’t get much better in the solitary home outing of October either as a ten-man Cesena, hindered by the sending-off of on-loan Juventus shotstopper Nicola Leali, were defeated 1-0 by Inter.
Two 1-1 stalemates against Verona and Sampdoria followed before Genoa ran out 3-0 victors in Emilia-Romagna with November drawing to a close. A new month then witnessed a new manager at the helm as Domenico Di Carlo replaced Pierpaolo Bisoli in the hope of turning the club’s dwindling fortunes around.
But the change didn’t have an immediate impact as the Cavallucci Marini ended 2014 on a sour note with Fiorentina romping to a 4-1 success before Napoli triumphed by the same scoreline in the first game of the new year.
The final home encounter of January saw veteran Franco Brienza bag a brace against the Bianconeri’s arch-rivals Torino but that wasn’t enough to stop the Granata returning back to the north-west with a 3-2 triumph under their belts.
With it looking increasingly unlikely that a win in front of their own faithful could come any time soon, a hard-fought 2-1 triumph over Lazio, thanks to a strike from Greogoire Defrel plus an own goal courtesy of Danilo Cataldi, saw them extinguish those doubts and shatter their six-month hoodoo in style on the first day of February.
So with two victories, four draws and five defeats to their name thus far, Cesena sit 17th in the form guide for their record at home, having scored 12 goals and conceded 21.
Di Carlo’s men, who are currently second bottom and six points off safety, will certainly be buoyed by that vital victory over Lazio but in order to back their cause for Serie A survival, this needs to be the start of an imperious run on home turf.