Martorano (Cesena), 21 September 2022 – Matchday 1 of Group “D”  in the Coppa Italia triangular knock-out stages, at Centro Sportivo “Romagna Centro” in Martorano (Cesena), in live streaming on Parma Women’s official YouTube channel, ended 5-5.

Until the final 15 minutes, the Crociate were outstanding, yet the end of the second half was one to forget, and learn from, as the home side came back from 5-1 to draw 5-5.

The Gialloblù took the lead after 22 minutes: a cross by Arianna Acuti was handled by Elena Casadei and referee for the day Riccardo Boiani had no doubts and pointed to the spot. Up stepped Melania Martinovic to strike home to the right of goalkeeper Adelaide Serafino, who guessed the right way; 1-0 Parma.

It was soon two with Michela Cambiaghi doubling Parma’s lead: the striker was quickest to react, after Ludovica Silvioni’s cross wasn’t headed away by the home side defence, and slotted home with ease, 2-0 Parma.

A spectacular piece of action took place after 36 minutes to make it 3-0 for the Gialloblù: Melania Martinovic’s fantastic attempt from the edge of the box hit the post but following up to tuck home the rebound was Arianna Acuti.

The first half ended 3-0 for Parma as the two sides took a short break.

Parma continued their dominance and ten minutes into the second half got their fourth of the afternoon: Valeria Pirone went on a strong run down the right-hand side and put a low ball in for Bianca Giulia Bardin who got in a good position to fire home past the home keeper, 4-0 Parma.

Three minutes later, the home side got their opening goal: Fabiana Costi let fly with a shot that Gloria Ciccioli couldn’t keep out, 4-1 Parma.

After 59 minutes, Ana Jelencic was sent off for a foul on the Fabiana Costi in a clear goal-scoring opportunity: Parma were down to ten. Despite the numerical disadvantage, after 64 minutes, Valeria Pirone got the better of Cesena’s keeper to superbly lob home to make it 5-1 to Parma.

But then, the lights suddenly went out and the large lead and one player disadvantage started to take its toll, throw in with a few individual errors. In 15 minutes, Cesena produced a sensational comeback from a game that was seemingly heading only one way. After 76 minutes, Gaia Di Stefano struck home from the edge of the 18-yard box to make it 5-2. Two minutes later and Paola Cuciniello surprised Gloria Ciccioli with a long-range shot that made it 5-3. The side from Romagna started to believe and continued to oush forward: after 81 minutes, Szandra Ploner headed home powerfully from a corner and it was 5-4. Three minutes from the end, Cesena incredibly equalised with Gaia Distefano grabbing her second of the day that went in off a deflection, 5-5.

Head Coach Fabio Ulderici’s thoughts at the end of the game:

“I am very angry because for 60 minutes we played exceptionally. Then, we just stepped off the gas and this just cannot happen: football is very strange, it’s never over until it’s over, you can never allow yourself to switch off. We allowed Cesena to get back into the game because we completely shut down, we never got close to another ball, we never won a duel, we struggled to get into attacking areas… The last half hour was truly awful, what happened? We left the field of play and that is very very serious: we need to understand the importance of playing the game until the final minute, and those who have the most experience must be able to manage, from the pitch, these moments…

Was there a sense of satisfaction and job done at 5-1? It’s not an excuse, we can’t switch off like we did because we’ve got an extremely difficult season ahead and every moment is a chance to improve and take a step forward, and when situations like this happen, the risk is to go back to where we started in an instant, undoing lots of good work we’ve done so far. These are games that weigh on your mind a lot, they hurt: we need to reflect on it, analyse it, and then try to recharge the batteries because in two days’ time we have another tough game against a strong side. We don’t even have time to feel sorry for ourselves, we’ve got to look to the next game.”

Scorers: 22’ Martinovic (pen.), 29’ Cambiaghi, 36’ Acuti, 55′ Bardin, 58′ Costi, 64′ Pirone, 76′ e 87′ st Distefano, 78′ Cuciniello, 81′ Ploner

CESENA (4-3-3) – 40. Adelaide Serafino; 3. Maria Vittoria Nano, 30. Sara Pastore (Cap.), 22. Paola Cuciniello, 7. Elena Casadei (70′ 46. Alice Rossi); 8. Virginia Gidoni (61′ 28. Silvia Zanni), 5. Lidia Bradau (70′ 31. Szandra Ploner), 25. Nanoka Iriguchi; 9. Veronica Bernardi (70′ 14. Maddalena Porcarelli), 11. Eleonora Galli (61′ 17. Gaia Distefano), 10. Fabiana Costi (Vice Cap.). Head Coach: Michele Ardito
Unused Subs: 1. Eveljn Frigotto; 23. Nicole Costa, 26. Beatrice Bizzocchi, 29. Alessandra Amaduzzi

PARMA (3-4-3) – 12. Gloria Ciccioli; 15. Ludovica Nicolini, 3. Sara Caiazzo, 7. Antoinette Jewel Williams; 5. Joana Marchão (46′ 14. Ana Jelenčić), 6. Alice Benoit (Cap., 71′ 82. Gemma Puntoni), 18. Ludovica Silvioni (46′ 71. Niamh Farrelly), 4. Bianca Giulia Bardin; 17. Arianna Acuti, 36. Michela Cambiaghi (46′ 9. Valeria Pirone), 24. Melania Martinovic (61′ 27. Erika Santoro). Head Coach: Fabio Ulderici
Unused Subs: 1. Alessia Capelletti, 21. Rebecca Tinti; 73. Danielle Cox, 11. Nora Heroum

Referee: Riccardo Boiani

Assistant Referees: Laura Gasparini and Alberto D’Ovidio

Red Card: 59′ Jelencic

Injury-Time: 1’+4’