It may not be a competition that gets the pulse racing as much as it’s big brother, the Coppa Italia but Padova don’t care. A near faultless performance in the group stages has seen them progress to the quarter finals of the Coppa Italia Veneto, reports La Gazzetta dello Sport.
Last season’s Promozione champions knuckled down to the task of six group fixtures in the lower league competition as English manager Chris Darwen looks to endear himself to the Padovese public with another trophy to add to the cabinet of the reborn football club.
Following a turbulent summer that saw the club move from semi-professional to amateur and back to semi-professional again meaning that Darwen missed out on many of his transfer targets, the Biancoscudati would have progressed with a 100% record had it not been for a shocking refereeing decision at the Euganeo. The find of their pre-season, Mario Xhixha, was shockingly dismissed for two yellow cards in the match against Piovese, the second yellow card being shown for a non-existent foul leading to the equalising penalty.
Despite the slight slip the team has looked in fine shape following an extensive eight game pre-season programme and the six cup group matches. They can head into Saturday’s opening league fixture against Caldiero Terme, the first of three away games, full of confidence and hope of another successful promotion campaign.
The squad has evolved over the summer. Padova line up with a new goalkeeper and entirely different back three, the mainstay of which already seems to be the Albanian towering centre-back Kiakis. The midfield three has just the one change, Calliari replacing the released Deinite. Big things are expected from the promising D’Alterio who is pushing hard for a starting place. The need for at least one U18 starter in the team forced Darwen into acting decisively in promoting players from last season’s youth intake. The first team squad now has the young talents of Monti, Begnis, Boscolo Bielo and Xhixa with Xhixa already making his mark in the advanced playmaker role being the front three.
The veteran Innocenti still captains the side and at 40-years-old the trequartista still has goals in him, four in the cup matches so far.
Morale is high at the Euganeo, Padova’s home ground built for Italia 90. A strong start to the league season and game time for some of the young talent could see the Biancoscudati in pole position come the winter break.
Gazzetta dello Sport