It's the day of the Catania-Messina derby: sold out but… without the Giallorossi fans. Probable lineups


By John

It's the day of the derby, the evening of Catania-Messina. Spotlight on the “Massimino” stadium where it will be sold out even if there will be no Peloritan fans due to the bans imposed by the security bodies. Some of the magic of the rivalry will be taken away but there will be no shortage of excitement, excitement and play on the pitch.
Catania-Messina is not, and will never be, a match like the others. Social reasons, traditions and the challenges that have characterized the past make it magical, heartfelt and never banal. Today will be no exception. They face a Catania who must score points to move away from the dangerous playout zone, after yesterday's success against Monterosi which shortened the standings and to avoid the salvation play-offs which after the triumph in the Cup would be equivalent to going to the playoffs. While the Peloritani want to reach mathematical salvation (by winning and hoping that Monopoli does not beat Taranto) to live the last 180 minutes perhaps dreaming of the playoffs: in some way, a direct clash, because by taking away oxygen from the Etna, the Peloritani would push themselves further higher and could, in the event of Catania's playout, also aspire to eleventh place which would mean a playoff. Crossroads, calculations and joints that will not be in the minds of those who take the field: concentration will be needed, giving everything to try to prevail, albeit from different perspectives and with different vibrations.

Those of Messina emerged from the voice of the sporting director Domenico Rome (mister Giacomo Modico absent due to a health problem): «It was a special week, the owners were closer to us than usual, the fans came to visit us because they couldn't be there and I thank them for their support. They asked us to give everything and we will. We know the importance of the challenge and we are aware of our qualities, we want to understand where we are at, we look for as many points as possible to cradle a dream”.
Catania “charged” the match a lot, with vice president Grella speaking for example of the “match of the year”: «It is for them – Roma replied -, for us it's worth three points but it might not be the most important. It will certainly be stimulating to play a match in front of so many people. We will have the public against us but I don't fear a negative emotional reaction, we have people on the team like Fumagalli, Ragusa, Franco, Rosafio and others who know how to deal with these matches. And then a young squad but with attributes. I hope it is a derby characterized by fairness to give a good image of Sicily. The atmosphere will be rude outside but hopefully correct on the pitch regardless of the result.”
Messina is five points ahead in the standings, which is another fact: «Nobody would have imagined it but we believed we could do well. Now the objective is to focus on these three final matches, then we'll see. Everyone would like to play games like this, I saw it from how the boys trained. There are five substitutions and the match can also be changed from the bench. Even those who don't start from the beginning, I'm sure they will push a cohesive group.”
Can having a freer mind be a positive factor? «From Monterosi to Monterosi we closed a circle, almost mortgaging our salvation through a comeback. We won against a live opponent, reacting after the bad performance against Juve Stabia. Not everyone is in top condition but they will all be called up, this is another good sign: we will be united in facing this special match.”