STADIO ENNIO TARDINI (Parma): History was made at the Tardini on Monday night, in Matchday 2 of this 2022/23 Serie A Femminile season – the first fully-professional campaign of women’s football in Italy. Parma, playing in their first-ever home match in the top flight, came from behind to beat Sassuolo 2-1 and celebrate their first points since their arrival in the division.
It was ex-Sassuolo midfielder Alice Benoit who won the game with a 90th-minute free-kick, curling a perfect strike into Isabella Kresche’s top corner. The curse of the exes was strong on the night, with Michela Cambiaghi having levelled for the Gialloblu in the first half after Giada Pondini had put the visitors ahead.
Sassuolo taking the lead was to perhaps be expected, but Parma made them fight for every ball early on and made it clear from the off that they weren’t going to be pushovers, sending a real signal of intent after their opening-day hammering away at Inter.
In what is the only Emilian derby in Serie A Femminile, the spice was apparent from the off. The intent was clear from Parma and they had no plans to let Gianpiero Piovani’s side have even a second on the ball, pressing aggressively and not holding back when they went into tackles.
Parma enjoy a historic night to remember
With close to 1,000 people in attendance, there was a real sense of excitement at the Tardini ahead of this. President Kyle Krause was in attendance, as were men’s first-team coach Fabio Pecchia and the entirety of the men’s first team as well.
Parma clearly came to play. They had exploited the wide areas as something to target as their visitors tend to go narrow, and in Erika Santoro on the right they had another of Sassuolo’s exes and someone who knew how to get at the Neroverde. She was involved and lively, and had a hand in Cambiaghi’s opener with her relentless pressing.
Though there was an element of luck involved in Cambiaghi’s goal as the ball squirmed its way in her favour as she fought with a number of Sassuolo players for an inch of space, she was clinical when she had that yard, firing past Isabella Kresche. Pondini’s opener, fine as her volley was, was swiftly forgotten and no longer the night’s narrative.
Parma could be a side to watch in Serie A Femminile
The Crociati showed that they’re not going to be pushovers this season, and were defensively impressive against a side that are tricky to keep at bay. Danielle Cox barely let a thing pass her at centre-back, and Nora Heroum by her side looked like a player with more experience in the backline than is the case. Niamh Farrelly offered real grit in midfield, and she helped to set the tone.
With Valeria Pirone in attack and Cambiaghi too, there was always a feeling that Parma were never to be ruled out, as they have what’s needed to work chances from very little.
In the end it was Alice Benoit who scored the winner. When a free-kick was awarded on the edge of the Sassuolo area in the last minute it seemed as though Pirone would hit it. But it was left for the midfielder and she sent a perfect effort into the top corner, giving Kresche little chance of stopping it.
The result leaves Sassuolo without a point after they also let a lead slip to lose against Sampdoria in the opening round of fixtures, while Parma now have three points having lost to Inter on the first weekend.
Serie A Femminile Matchday 2 Results
|Saturday, September 10||AS Roma 2-0 AC Milan|
|Sunday, September 11||Sampdoria 2-1 Pomigliano|
|Sunday, September 11||Juventus 3-3 Inter|
|Sunday, September 11||Fiorentina 2-1 Como|
|Monday, September 12||Parma 2-1 Sassuolo|