Ten-man Catania hold on for victory
Last Updated: 24/02/13 8:57pm
Francesco Lodi celebrates his goal for Catania
Catania survived a late onslaught and the dismissal of Nicola Legrottaglie to continue their march towards Europe with a 2-1 victory at Parma on Sunday.
The Sicilians knew that three points from the Stadio Ennio Tardini would give them a share of sixth place with Fiorentina, whose game at Bologna was postponed, and first-half goals from Francesco Lodi and Keko were enough to see them through.
Parma, who are now without a win in seven, regrouped after the break but failed to make half-a-dozen solid chances on goal count until Amauri finally forced a consolation goal with time running out.
Parma were desperately poor in the first half and Lodi's early strike was a clear statement of intent from their ambitious visitors.
With five minutes on the clock Lodi stepped up to whip home a free-kick from the tightest of angles with goalkeeper Antonio Mirante rooted to the spot.
The Parma keeper then stood tall to deny Gonzalo Bergessio and the hosts were denied an equaliser through Ishak Belfodil as Mariano Andujar punched his shot to safety.
Belfodil would not last the half, though, and Raffaelle Palladino took his place before Marco Parolo went close with an angled drive that touched a post and span out of play.
Slack passing allowed Bergessio in for a close-range shot that somehow ended up off target and Amauri almost punished Catania at the other end, only for Andujar to block.
There was only one man to blame when the Sicilians doubled their lead one minute before the break, as Mirante spilled a tame shot from Lucas Castro straight into Keko's path.
Roberto Donadoni's half-time team talk had some effect as Parma emerged brighter for the second half, but there was no one waiting for Jonathan Biabiany's cross from the right.
The Gialloblu pressed on and Amauri came up just short on a treacherous low cross from Parolo, but moments later the Brazilian sent Andujar sprawling to keep out his powerful shot on the turn.
Indeed, Andujar would have a key role to play for the remaining 30 minutes as he kept a resurgent Parma side at bay.
First, Parolo's rocket from distance was given short shrift before Andujar leapt across his goalmouth to keep a deceptive cross-cum-shot from Biabiany away from danger.
Biabiany had no one but himself to blame when he slotted Aleandro Rosi's canny pass wide of the mark and the Frenchman followed up with a wayward diving header.
If not for Andujar's heroics and Parma's wasteful approach, the scoreline could have looked very different by the time Bergessio missed a fine chance to settle the tie, but Rosi got in the crucial block.
He might have lived to regret that miss as Amauri forced a tense finale by controlling in the box and halving the deficit with three minutes remaining.
Catania defender Legrottaglie was then handed two yellow cards in succession and dismissed for his overzealous protesting but the visitors had done enough.
Italian Serie A