With seven points in their last three games, things are suddenly starting to look up for Parma and, thanks to their recent form, they’re now enjoying the luxury of having someone looking up at them. The Gialloblu’s 3-1 win over a sinking Sampdoria allowed them to continue their progression under Domenico Panico and, crucially, saw them climb off the bottom of the Serie A Femminile table at Samp’s expense.
It didn’t take Panico too long to show that Parma had probably made the right decision to part ways with Fabio Ulderici just eight games into their first-ever Serie A Femminile season, but the results didn’t immediately reflect the on-field improvements that were plain to see at the Stadio Ennio Tardini. Now, those results are starting to come, they’re unbeaten in three games ahead of the league’s split in two, and it’s hard to view Parma as favourites for the drop anymore. Now, Samp are looking increasingly hopeless with each week that passes, even despite Agnese Bonfantini’s surprise arrival on loan.
Samp brought in a potential star in Bonfantini on deadline day, but the 23-year-old has nothing around her in Liguria that will allow her to thrive. She showed sparks against Fiorentina on her debut, scored in their midweek Coppa Italia elimination at Inter, but against Parma she was isolated and the game passed her by, as many might between now and the end of the season, and through little fault of her own. Samp haven’t won a game since going on a three-game winning run to start the season, and they’ve been in free fall since October.
Parma, though, appear to be moving in the opposite direction. They’ve now gone unbeaten in three, but they’ve been showing signs of finding their feet for much longer than that. They were unlucky to lose to Juventus before Christmas – leading until even after the 90th minute only to concede twice in stoppage time – and they put up a real fight against both Inter and runaway leaders AS Roma as well. Their collapses against both Fiorentina and AC Milan have very much been exceptions to an upturn in performances since Panico’s appointment after Ulderici’s dismissal at the end of October.
One of the keys to their progress in 2023 has been the arrival of a ready-made star in Paloma Lazaro. The Spaniard’s signing from Roma in January showed Parma’s ambition, and her impact on the pitch was immediate – debuting in a hugely important win at home to Como before the ink on her contract had even dried. Against Samp, she scored twice and was named Player of the Match. It’s clear that she’s a level above almost anybody in the bottom half of the table, and with Valeria Pirone on her way back from injury as well, the Gialloblu now have serious depth up front and have even been able to leave top goalscorer Melania Martinovic on the bench.
A week of highs and lows for Niamh Farrelly
Ireland international Niamh Farrelly’s week had more than its share of ups and downs. News of being left out of the latest Ireland squad as they continue their preparations for the 2023 Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand would have hit hard, but her response to that setback couldn’t have been better and might just have had Ireland boss Vera Pauw second-guessing herself.
Against Sampdoria, Farrelly had one of her best performances in a Parma shirt. Her usual aggressive and combative self in midfield, the Dubliner opened her account for the club in serious style by rifling a strike from way out into the bottom corner and earned her place in the Serie A Femminile Team of the Week alongside teammates Lazaro and Erika Santoro.
Riding that wave, she was even called before the press post-match and did a fine job in her first sample of media duties, showing a more-than-decent level of Italian just months after making her move to Emilia-Romagna from Glasgow City.
Giada Greggi: Goleador
One of the keys to Roma’s brilliance this season has been midfielder Giada Greggi. Ever-present alongside Andressa Alves and Manuela Giugliano, the Roman is perhaps the least spoken-about of the three, but it’s hard to think of many more consistent players than her in Italy’s top flight.
Having opened her account fo the season against Fiorentina a couple of weeks earlier, Greggi scored again as Roma saw off Inter in a five-goal thriller at the Stadio Tre Fontane. Once again, it was a fine strike that came as the product of her own work – she won the ball back by pressing high up the pitch, took a couple of steps and fired into the top corner from the edge of the area.
Although Juventus remain eight points off league leaders Roma, Cristiana Girelli had plenty to celebrate over the weekend as the Bianconere beat Fiorentina 3-0 in Tuscany.
Assisted excellently by the ever-improving Julia Grosso, Girelli marked 100 goals for Juventus, becoming the first female player in the club’s history to hit a century.
Serie A Femminile Matchday 17 results
|Date||Serie A Femminile Results|
|Sat, Feb 11||Fiorentina 0-3 Juventus|
|Sat, Feb 11||AS Roma 3-2 Inter|
|Sun, Feb 12||Parma 3-1 Sampdoria|
|Sun, Feb 12||Sassuolo 2-0 Como|
|Sun, Feb 12||AC Milan 1-0 Pomigliano|
Serie A Femminile table after Matchday 17