Former Leeds United goalkeeper Marco Silvestri finally made his Serie A debut for new club Hellas Verona last night, after joining the side last summer. He was brought into the starting XI after regular starter Nicolas received a red card against Inter Milan and served a subsequent suspension.
Leeds fans will see that Verona lost 3-0 to Benevento, the Italian top-flight’s bottom side, and feel Silvestri put in one of his infamous poor performances.
That could not be further from the truth. Whilst the rest of his team was dreadful, Silvestri put in a class display. If it was not for the former Leeds man, the score could easily have been six or seven.
Silvestri made seven excellent saves, including two world-class one-on-one stops from Mali striker Cheick Diabate.
Such shot-stopping capabilities are not foreign to Leeds fans when they think of the Italian keeper. Silvestri, who spent two seasons as Leeds’ number one goalkeeper, always demonstrated excellent reflexes during his time at Elland Road. It was the other areas of his game, such as commanding the area and handling, that often let him down.
Last season he was replaced by Rob Green and in the summer sold to Verona as Leeds revamped the goalkeeping position. That ‘revamp’ has proved unsuccessful with youngster Bailey Peacock-Farrell now preferred to both summer recruits Felix Wiedwald and Andy Lonergan.
All three of Benevento’s goals were unstoppable. Diabate scored two close-range efforts whilst the opener from Gaetano Letizia was a rasping long-range drive into the top corner.
For Silvestri, it was a good night where he impressed the Verona fans with his display. Many will now hope he remains in between the sticks for their relegation battle with Crotone and Mirco Antenucci spearheaded SPAL. Based on last night’s performance, Leeds will wish they still had Silvestri after their goalkeeping troubles this term.