Italian club playing in fear of a landslide defeat


Playing in the shadow of disaster.

Football and climate change – two topics which rarely intersect thanks to the all-encompassing, TV-money-fuelled bubble surrounding the modern game.

But as away supporters all over the world are forced into their cars to attend matches scheduled with never a thought to public transport. And as ever, expanding international tournaments pump millions more tonnes of carbon emissions into our air, some clubs cannot afford to turn a blind eye.

Take Italian Serie D outfit SCD Ligorna 1922. Having survived relocation and a forced name change under the fascists, and the building of the SS45, autostrada through a previous home stadium, Ligorna’s all-weather pitch was covered by a huge mudslide in 2012.

Undaunted, fans and volunteers excavated the ground tucked alongside the highway and the Bisagno river in the Genovese district of Struppa and even managed to complete the season, fending off relegation to Italy’s seventh tier by amalgamating with fifth-rung works team PonteX.


Sitting in the one-sided ground watching Ligorna struggle to defeat against ambitious USD Real Forte dei Marmi-Querceta, supporters could be forgiven for glancing nervously behind the only stand. Perched precariously at the foot of the steep hillside in question, the nearest trees from the forested incline intrude around and above the sides of the structure.

Given the evidence about how climate change not only worsens such natural disasters but renders terms such as “once-in-a-century” obsolete, the few hardened supporters trying to find plastic seats sheltered from the patchy rain on Sunday must know another landslide will occur sooner or later.

At the weekend, more immediate on-field matters were the concern as the players opened matters during a torrential downpour on an afternoon when Genoa’s weather warning service carried a yellow wind alert – fortunately signifying risk only to hairpieces and umbrellas.

The hosts sit three points from the safety mark in the, northwestern Girone A section of Serie D’s nine divisions, occupying one of four positions which involve a play-off against a lower league side for survival at the end of the season. The same margin separates the club from the second of the two automatic relegation places.

An early blow

Ligorna started brightly enough only to be undone by a dubious looking penalty after Real Forte Querceta forward Francesco di Paola crumpled unconvincingly in the area in the 19th minute. Nicholas Guidi showed no mercy from the spot.

Di Paola was brilliantly denied by a perhaps aggrieved Alessandro Bulgarelli in the home goal five minutes later and should have conceded a penalty in his own area after shoving Manuele Castorani in the back, unseen by the officials, on the half hour.

Ligorna had their chance to level in the 39th minute, after Antonio Tognarelli hauled down Andrea Mancini in the area and escaped what should have been a red card. Agonisingly for the hosts, Andrea Corsini cracked his penalty against the bar and the hosts’ luck was summed up a minute before the break.

In the space of less than 60 seconds, Corsini smashed a shot against the bar that left visiting keeper Andrea De Carlo a spectator and the visitors duly broke downfield to score a second, Ligorna failing to clear their lines and allowing Di Paola to bang in a lovely effort off the underside of the bar.

Pointless dismissal

When Real’s Mirko Lazzarini needlessly picked up two yellow cards in the space of nine second-half minutes, Ligorna coach Luca Monteforte made the first of his five permitted changes by wheeling out giant forward Luis Kacorri.

But the hosts lacked sufficient invention to find a way through their ten-man opponents during the 32 minutes they had a numerical advantage, and Real noisily celebrated going second and trailing leaders Casale – who occupy the only automatic promotion place – only by virtue of having scored one goal fewer in their opening 10 fixtures.

Relegation to the Eccellenza division is a worry for the players of Ligorna – but the bigger concern should be how long the club will be spared before the next Act of God.

SCD Ligorna 1922: Bulgarelli; Danovaro (Moretti, 78min), Gallotti (Ferrante, 79), Zunino; Di Cecco (Fasce, 81), Gnecchi, Castorani, Pondaco; Mancini, Corsini (Capotos, 72); Vallerga (Kacorri, 64).

Subs not used: Ventura, Gilardi, Perrone, Glarey.

Real Forte Querceta: De Carlo; Tognarelli, Guidi, Bertoni; Maccabruni, Lazzarini, Biagini, Angelotti; Doveri (Belluomini, 79); Falchini (Amico, 66), Di Paola (Molinaro, 81).

Subs not used: Manfredi, Maffini, Giovanelli, Fantini, Musacci, Baldassarri.


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