Serie B: Nobody wants promotion as top six all fail to win, Palermo bounce back

Each of Serie B's top six failed to win on a thrilling Matchday 17, with Palermo emerging as the weekend's big winners as they beat Pisa at home.

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Shocks and dramatic comebacks were a common theme throughout Serie B Matchday 17 as nobody in the top six won a match.

First-place Parma were held to a scoreless draw against Cosenza; Venezia succumbed to defeat in an exciting game against Sudtirol; Cesc Fabregas lost his first match as Como coach to Brescia; Catanzaro were beaten by an Ascoli side battling relegation; Cremonese lost to bottom club FeralpiSalo; and Cittadella were held to a draw against Modena.

Meanwhile, Palermo got a much-needed victory in a thrilling game against Pisa. After squandering a lead late against Parma in the previous round, they almost did it against the Tuscans, but they were able to regain the lead this time.

Venezia striker Christian Gytkjaer steps up to take a penalty against Sudtirol. (Photo: Venezia FC Facebook)

Gytkjaer double not enough as Sudtirol win for the first time under Valente

Venezia had looked the most likely to break Parma’s dominance at the top of the table, but they lost to Cremonese on Matchday 16. Meanwhile, Sudtirol had slipped out of the playoff spots and replaced Pierpaolo Bisoli as coach by promoting Federico Valente from the Primavera squad.

Valente lost 2-1 on his debut to Bari and his team had to travel for the second week in a row. Incredibly, it was the South Tyrolese club that took the lead after 10 minutes when Nicola Rauti fired a low shot from outside of the box, but the Arancioneroverdi were in front by the half-time break thanks to a Christian Gytkjaer brace.

Despite the deficit, Sudtirol came out firing in the second half and Albanian striker Silvio Merkaj proved to be decisive. He capitalised on a defensive error to level the scores and earned a penalty, which was converted by Daniele Casiraghi.

Merkaj squandered a chance to make it 4-2, hitting the side-netting with his shot, but Venezia’s chances of making a comeback ended when Marco Olivieri was sent-off for a foul on Biancorossi captain Fabian Tait.

Jacopo Segre celebrates scoring a goal for Palermo. (Photo: Palermo F.C Facebook)

Palermo recover after squandering lead against Pisa

Palermo have been out of sorts in recent months after looking like a potential promotion contender. After blowing a comfortable lead against Parma, they could not afford to do it against Pisa.

Roberto Insigne, the brother of former Napoli and Italy Men’s National Team star Lorenzo, played a key role for the Rosanero against the Tuscans. He opened the scoring after 29 minutes and then supplied an assist for Matteo Brunori.

Despite taking a two-goal lead into the break, the Sicilians let Pisa back into the game early in the second half. Marius Marin pulled it back to 2-1 with a volley, then Mattia Valoti equalised with an excellent side volley of his own. Both teams had their chances to win it, and it was Palermo who got the winner with a header from Jacopo Segre.

The Rosanero are now seventh on 28 points, five points off direct promotion, but they at least remain in a playoff spot.

Serie B 2023/24: Matchday 17 results

DateSerie B Fixtures/Results
Fri, Dec 15Spezia 1-0 Bari
Sat, Dec 16Brescia 2-0 Como
Sat, Dec 16Feralpisalo 1-0 Cremonese
Sat, Dec 16Modena 1-1 Cittadella
Sat, Dec 16Reggiana 1-2 Sampdoria
Sat, Dec 16Venezia 2-3 Sudtirol
Sat, Dec 16Ascoli 1-0 Catanzaro
Sat, Dec 16Cosenza 0-0 Parma
Sat, Dec 16Palermo 3-2 Pisa
Sun, Dec 17Lecco 2-3 Ternana

Serie B 2023/24: Table after Matchday 17

PosClubMPPts
1Parma1735
2Venezia1733
3Como1731
4Catanzaro1730
5Cremonese1729
6Cittadella1729
7Palermo1728
8Modena1727
9Sampdoria1722
10Brescia1722
11Bari1721
12Cosenza1720
13Sudtirol1720
14Pisa1718
15Ternana1717
16Reggiana1717
17Ascoli1716
18Spezia1716
19Lecco1716
20FeralpiSalo1710

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