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Wednesday January 10 2018
Coda the saviour of Benevento

Massimo Coda has a history of taking unfancied teams to surprise targets and is now inspiring Benevento to believe in a miracle, writes Ramez Nathan.

Born in Cava de’ Tirreni, on the outskirts of Salerno, Coda was destined to write history in the region of Campania and, despite playing for 12 different sides in his career, he shone the brightest in his hometown. Until now.

Coda took an unpleasant career path, spending the majority of his career switching clubs every year in the dark sides of Lega Pro, until the day came with an offer on the table from Slovenian side ND Gorica.

The Prva Liga was the stage where Coda stepped into the breach, 18 goals and six assists leading his side to fourth place, grabbing a spot in the Europa League qualifiers.

His virtuoso performance in Slovenia earned him his first Serie A contract with Parma, unfortunately it was a horrendous spell for Coda, as he watched his new side go back to Lega Pro after going bankrupt.

Home side Salernitana in Serie B welcomed the striker with open arms and it was the place where he unleashed his full potential, hitting double figures with strength, intelligent movements and ability to surprise goalkeepers for two seasons in a row.

Another Serie A chance came knocking on Coda's door, as regional rivals Benevento were hoping he could fill the shoes of their loaned Capocannoniere Fabio Ceravolo.

Unfortunately, the new Serie A striker failed to grasp the tactics of Marco Baroni, leaving his Coach dependent on the youth products of Italy's finest clubs.

Raman Chibsah, Amato Ciciretti and George Puscas were the Benevento backbone in their journey to the top flight, but Baroni was unsuccessful in trying to mould them into anything resembling a cohesive unit, failing to grasp a single point.

The Stregoni remained powerless, until the appointment of Roberto De Zerbi late in October, as he started oiling the tactical fluidity of his side, creating a competitive force against every opposition.

Nonetheless, it was not until the introduction of the 29-year-old forward in the starting line-up that the boys in red and yellow stripes enjoyed their first triumph.

The man who was on the verge of leaving the club for his lack of playing time instead earned his first start with De Zerbi in charge for the last game of 2017.

As Marco D'Alessandro crossed the ball from the edge of the box, the striker outstretched his right foot, leaving Chievo shot-stopper Stefano Sorrentino motionless to record Benevento's first ever Serie A victory.

Another sensational performance from Coda in the following game, earned his side the win over Marco Giampaolo's Sampdoria, as the finisher proved his right foot is as good as his left when he bagged two goals of sheer beauty and as the icing on the cake then assisted Enrico Brignola with a third.

What others may consider as a feeling of hopelessness, is the flame that warms the heart of Coda. This is a man familiar with relegation battles, as he saved Salernitana by netting 17 goals, with two of them in the play-offs against Virtus Lanciano.

Can Coda perform one more miracle 70km down the road by banging more vital goals to save another drowning Campania side?

Have your say...
Forza Benevento!!
Campani avanti!!
on the 10th January, 2018 at 2:29pm

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