Serie A showdown goes into superstition meltdown

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You get the feeling as the days tick down to the Sunday showdown that the league title will not be won on the pitch but by delving deepest into the world of the dark arts. 

We have already had Luis Figo and the incident with the black cat and now down in Rome males of all ages are touching their nether regions whenever a nun appears.

In the past, and not a too distant past, catching a glimpse of a female member of the Catholic church was considered a recipe for disaster, nixed only by a quick grab of the privates.


A nun! Quick... head for the nether regions

Reason then not to shake hands with a Roma player and especially chief wizard Francesco Totti who continues his mantra of “Inter will win it” to ward off any bad luck or scaramanzia as it’s known.

He has been chanting the phrase for the last two weeks and on each occasion Inter have failed to reach the holy grail.

In fact, superstition is becoming the 12th man with the Roma captain claiming: “It’s our only extra weapon now.”

Not wanting to be left out, Parma decided that Hector Cuper’s previous connection to Inter and the fact that he was in charge when the Nerazzurri blew the title on the last day in 2002 meant that the Argentine was nothing more than a Jonah and burnt him at the stake, I mean sacked him, on Monday evening.

Club president Tomasso Ghirardi apparently had been hearing voices – well rumours – that Cuper would see Inter winning the title as a form of redemption for his own failure.

The players will now be left to work a miracle all by themselves with the help of youth team coach Andrea Manzo to conjurer up the three points needed to give them any chance of staying up.

Cuper: Given the chop in case he gifts Inter the title, apparently 

Meanwhile down in Sicily, it’s all getting too much for Walter Zenga ahead of the arrival of the Romans.

With Catania just two points above the drop zone the coach has not only taken up smoking again after quitting two years ago but is seriously thinking of having a personal medical team on the bench with him just in case the old ticker can’t take it.

Fingers crossed Walt will remain in fine fettle and the only heart-stopping stuff is on the pitch.

Totti is not the only one who believes in scaramanzia.

Adrian Mutu wears his underwear inside out to protect himself against the evil eye, Giovanni Trapattoni sprinkles holy water on the side of the pitch and Milan refused to wear their home kit in last seasony’s Champions League final, opting instead for the lucky white strip in which they had won five of their six European titles.