In San Giovanni Valdarno the guests notice the anomaly and the attendants of the home team lower the crossbars in an artisanal way in order not to have the match lost at the table
“Check the crosspiece of the two doors. It’s lower than allowed.” It is rare to hear similar phrases in the pre-match of a Serie D match. Especially if the match in question is the age-old challenge between Sangiovannese and Grosseto, one of the most played in the history of Tuscan football, which has always been made up of bell towers and makes them a boast. Of course, the stage is no longer as professional as it was a few years ago, but Serie D, Group E. Two fans who don’t like each other, two historic names in football from the Grand Duchy: there are all the ingredients for a beautiful Sunday in the Valdarno. But Grosseto invites the referee and the field staff to take a look at the goals: they are lower than usual, it seems. The pregame becomes surreal. The field workers enter the turf of the “Fedini” of San Giovanni, and the crossbars are measured. They are about ten centimeters lower than the regulations, in fact. And now what to do? Play, you should play. But Grosseto wants the rules to be respected.
The Italian compromise is then chosen: dig a hole at the height of the line of the two doors to “bury” them, lower them enough to ensure that the crosspieces return to around two and forty meters. And we also need to do it quickly: the match kick-off is scheduled for 2.30pm, if the problem isn’t resolved by 3.15pm, the hosts risk defeat at the table. All to work then, down with the spade and a meter to continuously measure if the sleepers are ok. At 15.05 the situation seems satisfactory: we play. On the field we also have fun: three penalties conceded, one each is missed. The third ends inside: Sangiovannese ahead, the Maremma draw with a former Montevarchi (historic rival of Sangio in the more classic Valdarno derby: it is a land of bell towers, after all). Luckily none of the penalty kicks land on the crossbar, even if the goalkeepers are forced to start a few centimeters in front of the goal line, which is impossible to step on because it has become a crater. It ends 1-1, but the match continues off the pitch. Grosseto announces that it has filed a complaint because, as explained in a press release, “the host club has not remedied the problem despite the referee’s invitation: the height of the goals was ten centimeters lower than what was foreseen by the regulations”.
The story will continue from the Sports Judge. The doors lower than expected, an episode already seen in football. But not only in the amateurs. In 1982 Udinese signs the Yugoslavian Ivica Surjak, free-kick wizard: his left-handed draws rainbows under the cross between Hajduk Spalato and Paris Saint Germain. In Friuli they await him with joy in their eyes, and Surjak does not disappoint in terms of performance: his free-kicks, however, often end up against the woodwork of the opposing goals. Against the crossbar, in particular, of the Friuli stadium. In the long run the case becomes curious: it can’t be bad luck, even the technician Enzo Ferrari realizes it. Isn’t the crossbar lower than expected? One fine day the Juventus field workers show up under the two goals armed with tape measure and various suspects: Surjak still kicks like God, luckily. It’s the crossbars that aren’t up to par…
March 20, 2023 (change March 20, 2023 | 11:23 am)
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