Returning to Serie A was a long time coming for Cremonese, who have been featuring in Italy’s top flight for the first time since 1995/96, and their fans certainly had a lengthy wait to see them emerge with a league victory in 2022/23.
The Grigiorossi defeated AS Roma 2-1 on Tuesday evening, ending a run of 23 matches without a league win from the start of the campaign. For the team from the Lombardy region in northern Italy, it certainly felt overdue because they had produced some good performances and have not had the results to show for that effort.
After failing to win under the guidance of Massimiliano Alvini, his successor Davide Ballardini took six games to secure a Serie A victory as Cremonese coach, adding to the two victories earnt in the Coppa Italia.
The win against AS Roma lifts them off the bottom of the league table but it remains to be seen if this was an exceptional scenario or the foundations for a miraculous escape.
Serie A victory long overdue based on Coppa Italia heroics
It would be easy to assume that Cremonese have an atrocious squad based purely on their league position and results. However, their performances in a few games and their incredible run to the semi-finals of the Coppa Italia demonstrate that there is more to them than their lowly league position suggests.
Former coach Alvini was more or less an imitator of Atalanta tactician Gian Piero Gasperini, implementing a back three formation and encouraging his team to press. Unfortunately, goals were hard to come by, and forwards such as Cyriel Dessers and David Okereke have not been scoring any great prolificacy.
Ballardini was brought in after 18 rounds and he is a renowned specialist in surviving relegation. It has taken some time to register a league victory, but he earned a penalty shoot-out win against Napoli – who have been dazzling crowds in both Serie A and the Champions League – in the Round of 16 in the Coppa Italia and defeated AS Roma 2-1 in the quarter-finals to set up a semi-final tie with Fiorentina.
Emerging goalkeeper Marco Carnesecchi has been a bright spot for Cremonese while Leonardo Sernicola and Emanuele Valeri are impressive wing-backs for the Grigiorossi. It also helps that Frank Tsadjout has scored twice in the last two rounds.
The Grigiorossi are still eight points from safety but at least they have that maiden Serie A victory for the season and can gather some momentum.
Cremonese joins list of teams with longest Serie A winless runs
It was a long wait for a league win for Cremonese but there have been other clubs that have been in that situation previously.
Benevento lost their first 14 matches in their maiden campaign in 2017/18, and then earned their first-ever Serie A win on Matchday 19, beating Chievo 1-0. Meanwhile, Pescara in 2016/17 had only achieved one victory albeit on a forfeit before registering their first win in open play on Matchday 25, smashing Genoa 5-0.
However, the longest wait for a victory in Italy’s top flight was in 2003/04, when Ancona failed to win in the opening 28 rounds and they had already been relegated when they defeated Bologna 3-2 on Matchday 29. Worst of all, they went bankrupt and restarted in Serie C2.