Things are progressing nicely in the Città di Bergamo with Societá Sportiva Bergamo. After last seasons promotion from Lega Pro (Serie C) we were made one of the favourites for relegation from Serie B this season with the board wanting us to fight bravely against relegation.
During the summer months I offered contracts to just about every player in the 1st team squad who was with us last season and just added Forward Simone Mazzocchi who at 23 years old is a good addition to the squad ahead of the new season and who qualifies with our Lombardia Policy after being born in the region in Milan. Mazzocchi cost us €675,000 from Suditrol . With no players going through the exit door it gives us a 23 man squad with the inclusion / promotion to the 1st team for Central Midfielder Walter Angelozzi who at 17 years of age looks like having the potential to becone a leading player in the top tier no question. Angelozzi will train and join one of the first team mentoring groups along with getting some game time as the season unfolds which should aid his development.
The season kicked off with the first two rounds of the Coppa Italia which saw us advance to the 4th round with wins against Gubbio and Pordenone setting up a tie against fellow Serie B club Brescia.
The opening weekend of the Serie B campaign gave us the chance to play in front of our home crowd in the Città di Bergamo and the crowd of 23,898 witnessed a polished display with us running out 4-0 victors against Carpi. Playing in our 424 formation we dominated our first game in Serie B with Flavio Junior Bianchi opening the scoring after 8 minutes finishing with a delicate chip over the Carpi keeper. Davide Mondonico made it 2-0 before the break with a close range header. Gian Marca Nesta was creating problems for the Carpi defence with his dribbling skills and he made our third goal for Flavio Junior Bianchi to get his 2nd goal of the game. Last seasons player of the year Daniele Casiraghi rounded the game off with a shot from 18 yards that left the Carpi keeper helpless to stop it.
Matchday 2 saw winger Simone Rosso become the first player in the clubs short history to score an hat- trick in a 3-2 win away at Reggina giving us our second win of the season. I was a little concerned that the goals that we conceded came from mistakes in the centre of our defence, noted in my notebook and something that I will keep an eye on.
A draw 1-1 at home against Cosenza was a pretty dull affair with little to talk about after Bianchi had given us the lead we struggled to put the game away and ended up allowing our visitors a route back in to the game.
We suffered our first defeat on Matchday 4 when we travelled to Livorno and it was nothing less than we deserved losing 0-2 but more importantly we lost Pietro Rovaglia to injury that will keep the forward out for a number of weeks / months. Its a blow but this is why its a squad game.
Grabbing his chance in the starting line up forward Gabriel Charpentier was the hero of the Città di Bergamo when he scored our only goal in a 1-0 win against Benevento in the 80th minute just when the game looked like ending in a draw. French forward Charpentier had made himself a nuisance playing in the Target Man role offering himself as a forward pivot for our runners and deserved his goal.
An away victory this time 2-1 away at Pescara thanks to a goal in each half, the first from midfielder Fabio Castellano a powerful effort from 20 yards and the second in the 56th minute from Flavio Junior Bianchi who finished a nicely waited through ball courtesy of il maestro himself Daniele Casiraghi our jewel in the crown.
October kicked off with matchday 7 with a 0-0 draw at home to Perugia after a frustrating game that saw us miss an hat full of chances with new signing Simone Mazzocchi guilty of not taking his chances to open his account at the club. Patience is a virtue right.
Our first Lombardy derby against League leaders Brescia ended in a 1-2 defeat with us getting a late consolation goal from an unlikely source Rosario Maddaloni which if anything sempt to wake us up which almost ended up with us rescuing a draw at the death if Mazzocchi had not blasted wide when it looked easier to hit the target.
We had Simone Mazzocchi to thank when he scored his first goal for the club to rescue a 1-1 draw against a struggling Virtus Entella side who on reflection desrved all three points and would feel robbed by Mazzocchi’s late strike. It was nice to see Mazzocchi get off the mark he as been getting in to great positions and linking up well but not finishing his chances.
Like buses one comes and then another….. Simone Mazzocchi was on the scoresheet in our 2-0 win away to Frosinone scoring our second after Flavio Junior Bianchi had given us the lead in the 38th minute. It was a welcome victory and a very good victory against a club who started the season as one of the favourites to be fighting for promotion. It was to be a memorable night for one of our giovani aquile (young eagles) 17 year old Walter Angelozzi who made his debut and a man of the match performance with the midfielder creating our opening goal on a night that the youngster demonstrated his range of passing with a superb performance in the middle of the park. Angelozzi looks to have all the potential to become a top flight player in the future and I fear that it won’t be too long before we are fielding a few offers for the talented Italian.
With games coming thick and fast we ended the month just four days after our win against Frosinone with a 2-1 win against stragglers Spezia in the Città di Bergamo in front of an attendance of 24,025 who witnessed a superb solo goal for us in the 22nd minute from Gabriel Charpentier who showed great strength when cutting in from out wide leaving two defenders flat footed before unleashing a shot in to the roof of the net. We had midfielder Fabio Castellano to thank for keeping his cool when scoring the winning goal in the 83rd minute from the penalty spot.
Just three games in our schedule for November but big games with the first away to Empoli were we managed to come away with all three points with a 3-2 win that was inspired by our €675,000 summer signing Simone Mazzocchi who netted in each half including the winner in the 78th minute. Defender Danilo Quaranta had given us a first half lead after 22 minutes nodding in a corner from Casiraghi before our hosts hit back almost immediately. A good win on the road but next up an old FM adversary.
For the last few years playing FM I seem to have come head to head with Marcelo Bielsa on a fair few occasions and FM20 is no different because El Loco is in town with his Genoa side who are in 2nd place in the table and a favourite to bounce back with promotion after last season relegation, A record crowd of 25,000 packed in to our home the Città di Bergamo to see how we would get on against Bielsa and his boys who like ourselves have been playing a 424 formation successfully.
Ahead of the showdown with Bielsa’s Boys I had a bit of a dilemma with both our left wingers Simone Rosso and Manuel Cicconi on the treatment table do I play Brazilian right winger Francisco Sartore on the left with Gian Marca Nesta on the right or do I turn to our Young Eagles and go with youth?
We started the game well but nearly went a goal down when Rovaglia gave the ball away on the right side leaving Lombardo our right full back stranded out of position but fortunately just has Pinamonti was about to pull the trigger the covering Danilo Quaranta made a superb block to deny the Genoa goal machine the opening goal. We escaped the early scare and in the 25th minute full back Mattia Lombardo opened the scoring with a well struck effort. Bielsa’s boys did not give up with their intense pressing and were soon on level terms when midfielder Stefano Sturaro equalised on the half hour mark with a screamer. The half time break came and I really wanted to praise the team but I could not allow complacency to creep in to our performance so I tore them a strip and sent them out looking motivated but not before I was forced in to a change with the returning Rovaglia nursing a knock so I put Mazzocchi alongside Bianchi in the Target Man role and brought 17 year old Angelozzi on to play in a three in the middle of the park changing Casiraghi’s role to a carrilero and Angelozzi playing in a Central Midfield supporting role. It was a gamble but I assigned Mazzocchi to man mark Genoa’s left right back out of possession.
An error from Andrea Masiello allowed Simone Mazzocchi to score a simple effort in the 52nd minute to put us 2-1 up which was nearly 3 when another error in the Genoa defence this time from captain Domenico Criscito nearly gifted us a goal in the 63rd minute.
We was playing well but Genoa who sempt to be under performing still posed a threat with their armoury and at 2-1 its always precarious and it was not until the 86th minute that I could relax when Danilo Quaranta headed our third to give us a 3-1 victory in front of a full Città di Bergamo and take us in to 2nd place in the table.
We had started the season well performing above expectations but I was not getting carried away and with a 0-0 draw away to Juve Stabia we ended November looking forward to a busy December that would see us reach the halfway point in the season.
The 4th qualifying round of the Coppa Italia was to be our first game in December and I decided to give a run out to a few players who have been on the fringes so far this season also allowing me to rest a few of the boys who are looking a little jaded. Brescia entertained us and just like our league meeting back in October we lost by a single goal this time 0-1 to send us out of the cup which was never high on both mine and the boards priorities with us already achieving the boards expectation in the Coppa giving us a chance to concentrate on our League form.
On the eve of our League game with Chievo Verona we received a bid from Milan for one of our youngsters Romano a central defender in a deal worth €1m which I rejected and started a month of negotiations with the Milan giants finally agreeing on a initial payment of €5.5m with a future sell on percentage of 40% which all in all I feel is a very good deal for the club.
So back to matters on the pitch and the visit of Chievo we picked up another 3 points with a 2-0 win thanks to goals from Manuel Di Paola and Simone Mazzocchi who seems to have found his scoring boots.
Mazzocchi was on target in our 1-1 draw with Salernitana in a very entertaining game against a side looking for at least a playoff place. Our keeper Soncin was in fine form and was crucial in us getting a point with a number of fine saves.
Matchday 17 took us away to Lecce who have been struggling this season and we piled on the misery with a 5-1 win that saw Simone Mazzocchi add another 2 goals to his tally. Flavio Junior Bianchi also found the net along with Daniele Casiraghi and substitute Pietro Rovaglia.
The visit of Pro Vercelli to the Città di Bergamo two days before Christmas provided us with a chance to give our fans some festive cheer and that is exactly what we did when a brace from Flavio Junior Bianchi and a goal apiece from Simone Mazzocchi and first goal for the club from youngster Walter Angelozzi in injury time making him the first of our Giovani Aquile (young eagles) to score a first team goal.
Matchday 19 and the final match of the year took us on the road to play Pordenone where we had Flavio Junior Bianchi to thank for an 18th minute penalty goal after he was upended in a one on one. Its been a great month for the club to round off our first 5 months in Serie B with us in 2nd place in the table on level points with leaders Brescia and 2 points in front of Bielsa’s Genoa.
Last seasons top goalscorer Flavio Junior Bianchi is leading the way this season with 11 goals with Simone Mazzocchi just behind with 10 goals. Daniele Casiraghi is leading the way with assists on 8.
Serie B table at the halfway point
I never expected us having such a good start to life in Serie B and promotion was and is still not our main objective this season. We will take it as it comes, we go in to every game trying to win it and thats all we can do. If we gain promotion this season to the top flight we address it and set our goals accordingly likewise if we don’t get promotion it doesn’t change anything because we are building gradually. In all honesty if I was to choose now I would very much like us to remain in Serie B and establish ourselves giving our development system more time to fine tune the players who are the future of the club. I mentioned above that we have been in negotiations to sell one of our young eagles to Milan in a deal worth €5.5m with a future sell on fee of 40% which is a very good deal for the club at the present. We don’t set out to be a selling club but all our players have a price and we have to move on and reinvest the money in the best way possible to keep the club going in the right direction.
We are entering the January transfer market with an open mind, we have our very own transfer policy and we are building a database of players who are eligible to sign for us if the opportunity should present its self.
The club have offered me a 2 year contract extension which I have agreed with the boards vision of remaining in Serie B over the next few years.
Both the Under 20 and Under 18 squads are both doing well in their respective leagues with us having a good number of players coming through our youth ranks. I have a post in the making that focus on our youth titled le giovani aquile which translates to the young eagles.
I thank you for taking the time to read my blog and hope that you are enjoying your own FM experience.
Until next time Arriverderci (Forza Le Aquile) 🇮🇹
le giovani aquile (The Young Eagles)