Serie C Group A (Italy’s third-flight division) bottom-dwellers Pro Piacenza suffered an absolutely brutal 20-0 loss to Cuneo on Sunday after the team was only able to field the seven players required to not forfeit the match.
All seven players officially on the team are teenagers with an average age of 18. This isn’t normally a problem for playing purposes, but since the oldest player, 19-year-old captain Nicola Cirigliano, had to take the role as manager, they needed to get an extra person on the team. Unfortunately, the player the team recruited for this game apparently forgot to bring some sort of ID, meaning the team had to find yet another person to fill in while that kid returned home to get proper identification. The team settled on its 39-year-old kitman, who played until the 60th-minute of the match, when he limped off with an injury and the missing player came on as a substitute (his delayed ID check meant he couldn’t come in until that point anyways so it’s wild to think about how long that older man was dealing with that knock before he was mercifully subbed off). That whole clusterfuck resulted in a 16-0 halftime deficit, and an eventual 20-goal shellacking. Here’s how that set-up looked on the field:
And here’s what a journalist wrote in his live blog from the game (roughly translated from Italian):
We are about to witness the most grotesque page in the history of Italian football. The Pro Piacenza, with its president Maurizio Pannella, has really decided to send 7 boys against the Cuneo field. The 7 are heating with the warehouse, there is no technical staff. As a coach he signed the captain, Cirigliano.
We refuse to continue the live match report of this match. We postpone the appointment with our readers at the end of this farce in which we will communicate the final result. Actually the Pro is playing in 7, Picciarelli has replaced Isufi.
There isn’t much to overanalyze about this situation. Pro Piacenza is as dysfunctional of a club as all of that information implies. They have not paid any of their players or staff members since August because of financial troubles, and while the league has taken action in the form of an eight-point deduction on the season, the entire first team has reportedly resigned in protest—an action that followed a months-long strike. The only reason the club tried to scramble together a squad today is because they had already forfeited three matches this season. One more and they would have automatically been expelled.
But this last-ditch effort to save some sort of face with the league will probably not be enough. An Italian Football Federation hearing is expected to be held for the club as the federation essentially decides whether it lives or dies.
It’s not all bad, however. The club was sold for €1 last summer, meaning if you’re interested in becoming an owner of a European soccer club—which I imagine is an amazing conversation-starter—there might soon be an opportunity for you. Cuneo, the opposing club in this “farce” match, was also the recipient of a positive result on Sunday, as they doubled their goal total for the season, jumping from 18 to 38.
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