PALERMO, Sicily (AP) — Fabrizio Miccoli marked his return from injury with his 100th Serie A goal as Palermo beat archrivals Catania 3-1 in the Sicilian derby on Saturday.
Miccoli, who was making his first appearance after three weeks out, gave Palermo the lead in the 10th minute. Josip Ilicic scored twice after the break to all but seal the match for Palermo. Ilicic's second was a stunner after the Slovenia midfielder had run over half the length of the pitch.
Francesco Lodi grabbed a consolation for Catania with a brilliant free kick. It was only Palermo's second victory in the last eight Sicilian derby matches against Catania in the top flight. It last won two years ago, by the same scoreline.
Catania has not won away from home since February. Palermo was missing the suspended Samir Ujkani, Edgar Barreto and Carlos Labrin following their red cards against Bologna last weekend, but welcomed back Miccoli.
And it was Miccoli who gave it the lead when he gathered a cross on the edge of the area and fired into the top right corner. Franco Brienza thought he had doubled its lead in the 22nd minute after he forced his way into the area with a series of dribbles past Nicolas Spolli but Catania goalkeeper Mariano Andujar did brilliantly to palm his effort onto the crossbar from close range.
Palermo counterpart Francesco Benussi did well at the other end to palm away Lodi's fierce free kick in first-half stoppage time. The home side doubled its lead four minutes after the break following some good work by Brienza on the right of the area. He was tripped but the ball rolled to Ilicic who smashed it home.
Ilicic grabbed his second of the game on the hour mark, racing downfield from inside his own half before bamboozling Lodi and beating Andujar at his near post. Lodi atoned for his error moments later, curling in a stunning free kick.
Palermo could have extended its advantage several times in the closing stages. Brienza raced into the area, drawing Andujar to him before slotting across to Michel Morganella, whose shot was cleared off the line by a lunging Spolli.
Teenager Paulo Dybala also had a late chance following a counterattack as he dribbled his way into the area, past Giovanni Marchese, but Andujar pulled off a fantastic save.