Bari Boost As Former Manchester City Man Commits Future

SSC Bari have had a double boost this week as they seek to push up the Serie B table.

I Biancorossi have been looking over their shoulder recently, but with a new manager in place, they eased relegation fears with a win against Lecco. The result never looked in doubt, with former Manchester City youth Ahmad Benali opening the scoring early. George Puscas and Guiseppe Sibilli added goals before the visitors grabbed a late consolation.

The result leaves Giuseppe Iachini’s side eight points clear of the bottom five in Serie B, and just three points outside the promotion play-offs preliminary round. It was the play-offs that caused the side heartache last season, losing out on a coveted place in Serie A thanks to an injury-time goal against Cagliari.

They have received a further boost courtesy of Benali. The former Manchester City youngster, capped by England at Under 17 level, has committed another year to the club. His contract was due to expire this summer, but the Libyan international will now remain at the Stadia San Nicola until summer 2025.

Confirming the deal on their official website, Bari mentioned how the player had settled into the squad. “Benali this year has perfectly stepped into the role of midfielder in front of the defense, highlighting great skills as an interdictor as well as vision of the game and above-average technical skills, qualities enhanced on Saturday against Lecco on the occasion of his first, beautiful, goal in the red and white shirt.”

The Manchester-born 32-year-old came through the ranks of his hometown club, but his only senior experience in England was a short loan spell with Rochdale. He opted to move to Italy upon the conclusion of his contract, signing for Serie B side Brescia. Since then, he’s spent his entire career in Italy, helping Crotone and Pescara to promotion. His departure from Crotone was shrouded in controversy after sacked head coach Francesco Modesto blamed him for the team’s poor attitude on the field.

He will now be a key general for Iachini as he attempts to salvage what has been a turbulent season for Bari, and perhaps even place them back in the play-offs for a second year in succession.

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Bari know what they’re getting with Benali. Whilst he’s been with the club for 13 months at present, he’s really kicked on since October, and the new deal underlines the new coach’s belief in his midfield general. Iachini has also worked with the player before, during a turbulent spell at Palermo.

There are few clubs in Serie B with the expectations of Bari upon their shoulders. More than a decade in the doldrums looked to be coming to an end last season, only for that cruel, cruel finish. They’ll be hoping that their win this weekend, coupled with the confirmation that Benali is staying, can be  catalyst to push back up the table, and maybe be the dark horse coming into the season’s final straight.




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