Just as the last time Benevento featured in Calcio’s first division, they opened their campaign with a visit to Sampdoria, a game they lost 2-1. But this time around, Benevento looked a more rejuvenated, motivated and focused side as they came from 2-0 down to win 2-3, a game which will be stuck in the heads of many of their fans for a long time.
In their 91 years of history, Benevento Calcio has played in the Serie A only once before 2020/21. That one time was the 2017/18 under Head Coaches Marco Baroni and Roberto De Zerbi. Throughout the 17/18 season, Benevento was more talked about because of the controversies that surrounded it rather than the on-field performances.
During their inaugural season, Gli Streghette made an infamous record which might take centuries to break. They lost all the first 14 games of the campaign. At one point the Club President blamed sorcery for their run of poor form, ironically their nicknames Gli Stregoni and Gli Streghette translate to ‘The Sorcerers’ and ‘The Witches’ respectively.
Although their season was going from bad to worse, Benevento is remembered for an injury-time equalizer against Milan by their goalkeeper Alberto Brignoli to give them their first Serie A point in history away at the San Siro. And exceptionally in the reverse fixture, Benevento defeated Milan 1-0.
In the same season, they made a shock signing of then, 34-year-old French right-back Bacary Sagna. Sagna said he was persuaded by the spirit of a team (I guess it was the spirit of losing but never losing hope or morale from both the players and fans).
Even though there was some hope, Gli Streghette were relegated to Serie B the following season and their marque signing also left at the end of the season. Roberto De Zerbi was also snooped up by Sassuolo.
For the past two seasons, Benevento has been trying to make it back to the Serie A in the shortest time possible until they signed Filippo Inzaghi as their new manager for the 2019/20.
Filippo Inzaghi has guided Benevento to what is not only the club’s most successful season in history but his career too
The Italian Manager guided Benevento to what is not only the club’s most successful season in history but also Inzaghi’s in his managerial career. The last time he had won a trophy in his managerial career was with Milan Primavera in the 13/14 season.
In his 8-year-old managerial career, Inzaghi has had prior management stints in the Serie A which have both been the shadow of his playing career. He might have been a winner as a player but as a manager, Inzaghi has been struggling to reflect his playing prowess onto a tactical board.
His first senior management role was at Milan where there were high hopes of him succeeding after the Primavera success but things went from bad to worse and he was relieved of his duties a year later at the end of the season.
In June 2018, he suffered another fruitless attempt, it was announced that Inzaghi was to take the tricky head coach role at ever struggling Bologna. He only lasted merely 6 months in Emilia-Romagna leaving the club in another of its vicious cycles of relegation battles.
Before promoting Benevento, Bologna was Inzaghi’s last Serie A assignment and unfortunately, it ended like the first one, dismal.
Away from his unsuccessful Serie A adventures, Inzaghi has enjoyed successful stints in lower divisions of Italian football. During his two years at Venezia, he won the Serie C and Coppa Italia Lega Pro in his first season. In his second season, he guided the club to the Playoffs to Serie A only to be defeated by Palermo at the semifinals.
Benevento and Inzaghi have enjoyed a rosy relationship in their first season but their lies a huge task for both during this season. The two are competing in a division where both have been competition dwarfs during the time they have taken part.
Benevento will be looking forward to a successful season (to their standard) which is avoiding relegation to the Serie B. To this, not only do they need players to up their display to match Serie A standards but also a ship captain with enough tactical brilliance and flexibility to properly navigate the tough tides of the league.
To achieve their goals, the top management will do whatever they can do as the season progresses even if it means dislodging the Italian Manager. On the other side, Super Pippo is taking on a managerial role in the Serie A for the third time and the first time since January 2019. This season is a big test for Inzaghi.
It is a season which establishes the Italian as a Lower Divisions Arigo Sacchi or a future top football manager. To establish himself amongst the bright prospects of football management in Italy, Inzaghi needs to make some revisions in his Serie B winning tactics putting in mind the quality of players available to him.
For example, his most preferred 4-3-3 formation should not be the order of the day most especially against offensively better opposition.
Inzaghi has made some experienced signings to bolster his side. He has brought in an experienced quadruple of Gianluca Lapadula, Kamil Glik, Artur Ionita and Bryan Dabo to reinforce his squad and also add in some Serie A experience to it.
Benevento and Inzaghi will both need to engage in a good working and transitive relationship this season to achieve a successful 2020/21 Season.
Author: Katende Basajjabaka
Katende writes about sports and occasionally technology.