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Crisis Italian club lose 20-0

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20-0 thrashing

As football players, we’ve all been there at some stage of our lives. Sitting in the dressing room at half-time whilst your team is getting an absolute pasting, dreading the thought of going out for another gruelling 45 minutes.

The lucky ones get substituted, avoiding the second bombardment of attacks on your team’s goal in a game you simply have no chance of winning.

For Italian Serie C side Pro Piacenza, that was certainly the case this weekend as they found themselves 16-0 down by the break, eventually losing the match 20-0 by the time the referee brought their misery to an end.

Their opponents Cuneo took their foot off the gas to a certain extent in the second half, still putting four goals past their opponents who were forced to play in incredible circumstances.

Piacenza started the game with just SEVEN players on the pitch, six of which were teenagers and their captain, 18-year-old Nicola Cirigliano, was also forced to take on the role of player-manager.

As such, it’s not too difficult to see why they were on the receiving end of such a thrashing, losing in convincing style to their league leaders, whose strikers enjoyed a field day. Hicham Kanis had six to his name before half-time, while Edoardo Defendi netted five.

Financial woes

So, how does a team manage to only lineup for a game with seven players?

The root of Pro Piacenza’s woes are all financial, with the club struggling immensely to keep their heads above water this season. They are currently bottom of the third tier of Italian football, having already been deducted eight points earlier this season.

To make matters worse, they have been unable to pay their players since August, leading to the majority of the first-team squad moving on elsewhere and leaving them down to the bare bones for playing staff.

That saw teenagers drafted in to fill in the gaps at the weekend, with the team managing to finish the match with eight players on the pitch after a member of the travelling squad found his identity papers after kick-off.

The club are set for a hearing with the Italian Football Federation on March 11 where their fate will be revealed. The President of the IFF says that the weekend’s 20-0 defeat was an ‘insult to sport’.

"In this surreal situation, the FIGC [Italian Football Federation] had a duty to enforce all the rules.

"Our responsibility is to protect the passion of the fans, healthy entrepreneurs and the credibility of our championships.

"The one we unfortunately witnessed will be the last farce."

So, the next time your team are losing heavily, consider yourselves lucky not to be Pro Piacenza.