MILAN - Sampdoria have scored one
injury-time goal in three outings since Antonio Cassano was
suspended for swearing at the club president and Thursday's trip
to struggling Parma offers hope of redemption.
Samp fans displayed banners at Sunday's 0-0 draw with
Catania asking president Riccardo Garrone to pardon the Italy
forward, who has apologised for his expletive outburst.
Cassano, who looked to have put his bad-boy image behind him
having matured markedly in the past two years, lost his temper
after refusing to attend a club dinner to be with his ill
His chances of a recall on Thursday look unlikely,
especially given coach Domenico Di Carlo's approval of Sunday's
display and Parma's continued woes after a 2-0 loss at Napoli.
"The attackers did a great job, we created loads of chances,
limiting them to just a couple of counter-attacks," the former
Chievo boss told reporters after Samp stayed sixth.
"Unfortunately we couldn't find that goal and were unlucky."
However, another blank on Thursday will increase the clamour
for Cassano to be brought back with Italy coach Cesare Prandelli
hoping his main creative force can return to action as soon as
If a pardon is not forthcoming, a move looks to be on the
cards for Cassano in January with injury-hit Inter Milan among
the clubs pondering whether to bid.
Their need is more immediate, though, with a string of
absences forcing coach Rafael Benitez to pick an unorthodox
formation in Saturday's 1-1 draw with Brescia while he is even
more constrained for Wednesday's trip to Lecce.
Walter Samuel was ruled out possibly for the season after a
knee injury against Brescia while fellow defender Maicon will
miss around three weeks of action with a thigh strain.
Centre-back Andrea Ranocchia, part-owned by Inter but
playing at Genoa, could be one option for January but Ivan
Cordoba and Davide Santon look set to stand in on Thursday.
Second-placed AC Milan, who play third-placed Inter at the
weekend, welcome Palermo on Wednesday while league
leaders Lazio will try to recover from Sunday's derby loss to AS
Roma with a visit to promoted Cesena.
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