Hellas Verona plunged Bologna further into crisis with a 4-1 victory at the Dall’Ara and kick-off was delayed by crowd trouble.
The pressure was piling on Stefano Pioli after managing just three draws in the opening six rounds, conceding a whopping 16 goals. The 4-0 hammering by leaders Roma last week was a further blow to confidence. Cesare Natali was still suspended for insulting the referee, joined by the injured Michele Pazienza, Niccolo Cherubin and Henry Gimenez, who fractured his nose in training. Verona had a strong start to the season and a sparkling front three in Luca Toni, Juanito Gomez and Juan Iturbe. Vangelis Moras was the only absentee.
Verona’s last victory in Bologna was in March 1978, followed by four draws and 10 defeats, including four in a row. Meanwhile, the Rossoblu were without a home win in seven months.
The kick-off was postponed by 20 minutes due to problems outside the stadium, as police attempts to keep the fans apart also delayed the arrival of the Verona team bus.
When the game did finally start, Francesco Della Rocca stung Rafael’s gloves with a left-foot curler from the edge of the box after just three minutes.
The Dall’Ara was in uproar amid protests for a Massimo Donati handling offence. It was a strange one, as Alessandro Diamanti’s backheel flick ricocheted off a teammate on to Donati’s hand from close range.
Diamanti’s free kick flashed all the way across the face of goal, but everyone failed to get a final touch to it from five yards.
Verona also had reason to complain to the referee on 11 minutes, as Panagiotis Kone risked a second yellow for bringing down Juan Iturbe as he ran towards the goal.
The visitors took the lead with a Fabrizio Cacciatore solo effort, as he cut in from the right to smash his finish across the goalkeeper from the outside edge of the box.
Argentina Under-20 talent Juan Iturbe made it 2-0 with a sensational solo effort, as he burst forward from midfield and skipped past three opponents before blasting across Gianluca Curci. It was his second goal in three games.
Iturbe threatened another moments later, dribbling past Frederik Sorensen to skim the upright with a left-foot finish.
The anonymous Rolando Bianchi made way for Davide Moscardelli before half-time and Diego Laxalt came on after the break.
Gonzalez tripped Moscardelli in a clumsy tackle and Diamanti powerfully converted the resulting penalty to get Bologna back in the game.
However, Hellas Verona restored their two-goal cushion with a well-worked move. Iturbe combined with teammates and dribbled into the box before rolling across for Luca Toni’s easy finish.
Juanito Gomez almost made it 4-1 moments later, but his angled drive flashed across the face of goal to skim the far post.
Rafael got down to palm a Laxalt daisy-cutter round the base of the post, while Roberto Acquafresca’s header was also well saved.
Deep into stoppages, as the Bologna fans had already started to walk out, Jorginho made it 4-1 with an angled drive.