Milan (AFP) – Franck Ribery believes that Salernitana can perform a miracle escape from relegation after Saturday’s 2-1 win at fellow strugglers Sampdoria kept alive their hopes of staying in Serie A.
Goals from Federico Fazio and Ederson in the first six minutes in Genoa were enough to take Salernitana to 19 points and continue the southern team’s bid for safety after an entire season at the bottom of the league.
With two games in hand, Salernitana are nine points behind Cagliari who sit six points and one place outside the relegation zone following their 1-0 win over Sassuolo earlier on Saturday.
“Today we showed that we’re working hard and we believe in survival,” France icon Ribery told DAZN after playing 25 minutes as a substitute at the Stadio Luigi Ferraris.
“We still have plenty of games and we need to get the maximum. Let’s see what happens.”
A first win since early January puts Davide Nicola’s team three points behind both Genoa, who lost 2-0 to league leaders AC Milan on Friday, and Venezia ahead of their clash at Europe-chasing Fiorentina later on Saturday.
It has been a tumultuous season for Salernitana as they were saved from being kicked out of the league at the last minute when Danilo Iervolino bought the club from Lazio owner Claudio Lotito ahead of a midnight deadline on New Year’s Eve.
The club had been placed in trust in June because multiple club ownerships in the same division are banned.
“We want to stay in Serie A but it’s been difficult. We’ve played matches which we’ve lost in which we deserved more and that’s not easy, but we look everyone in the face and we showed that today,” added Ribery, who is still enjoying his football at 39 years old.
“When I’m on the pitch, I’m happy, I have fun. Football, for me, is a passion.”
Samp were loudly whistled off the field by irate fans. The club have been dragged right back into the relegation battle with five rounds of matches remaining after the Easter weekend.
They are a point above Cagliari who prevailed in Sardinia thanks to a 42nd-minute strike from midfielder Alessandro Deiola, born on the island and a product Cagliari’s youth system.
That win for Walter Mazzarri’s team ended a run of five straight defeats and gave them a cushion in the race for survival.
Next week Cagliari face Genoa, who didn’t disgrace themselves at Milan despite a third straight defeat, in a match which could be crucial to their chances of staying in the division.
Udinese continued their fine end to the season by thumping Empoli 4-1 to move up to 11th with two games in hand.
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