The Sardegna Arena was opened with a slender 1-0 victory over Crotone, as Marco Sau got the decisive goal for Cagliari.
This was an historic occasion, the first played at the new Sardegna Arena, which was built in only 127 days and will be Cagliari’s home for the next four years. The hosts missed Gregory van der Wiel and Federico Melchiorri, but gave ex-Napoli striker Leonardo Pavoletti his first start. Crotone had to do without Mariano Izco, Andrea Nalini and Aleksandar Tonev.
Crotone had never beaten Cagliari in Serie A, losing 2-1 both home and away last season.
Pavoletti thought he had scored on 24 minutes with a wonderful downward header on Simone Padoin’s cross, but Alex Cordaz reacted quickly to palm it off the line and Federico Ceccherini prevented Marco Sau from getting the rebound.
Cabrera risked an own goal with his interception on the Nicolo Barella cross-shot, but Cagliari did break through when Marco Sau sprung the offside trap on a smart chipped Joao Pedro pass and kept his cool to sweep past the on-rushing Cordaz.
Cagliari thought they had a second, but Joao Pedro was offside when he ran on to the Luca Cigarini assist.
Ceccherini’s header wasn’t quite steered into the far top corner on an Adrian Stoian cross, while Joao Pedro’s strike skimmed the woodwork, as did a last-gasp Barberis free kick.