BOLOGNA, Italy – In the first of two friendly games in Italy, the Montreal Impact lost 1-0 to Bologna Thursday evening in a game that was never really in doubt. With an important forthcoming game on Sunday, and Bologna fighting to stay in Serie A, head coach Stefano Pioli played a mostly second string side against the Impact, but the Italians nevertheless still managed to dominate the game.
Daniele Paponi scored the first and only goal of the encounter with a brilliant curler in the first half and Bologna really should have added a few others to its tally.
The Impact on the other hand had only a few sniffs at goal, and never really looked like scoring, as they played the majority of the game in their own half.
Impact defender Alessandro Nesta wasn’t surprised by the level of dominance Bologna demonstrated and the evident technical gap between the two sides.
“There’s certainly a difference between the two sides,” Nesta told reporters following the game. “[MLS] is a young league, Serie A has 100 years of history. It’s not easy, it takes time. MLS has grown very quickly, but still with 100 years of experience you can expect a significant technical gap.”
Though the game didn’t offer too much in the way of excitement, it will still be a memorable one for the 1800 in attendance, as it provided one last opportunity to say farewell to former Bologna captain and current Montreal designated player Marco Di Vaio. The Roman forward was showered with praised throughout most of the match and explained he was moved by the warm support that was directed his way.
“To enter into this stadium [again] was something incredible," Di Vaio said. "It wasn’t an easy time either for the fans to show up to the game, but to see the banners, the people and all the affection was amazing. I have to thank these two clubs for having organized this game.
I would have never thought of coming back here. I thank everyone.”
Immediately following the game, the Impact left Bologna for Florence where they will see out the rest of their postseason training camp until Nov. 17.