A last-gasp goal gave Chievo a shock victory away to Hellas in the Derby di Verona on Eugenio Corini’s debut.
These local rivals had only ever met twice before in Serie A, back in the 2001-02 campaign. Their fortunes couldn’t have been more different going in, as Hellas were in sixth place with a 100 per cent home record, while Chievo propped up the table and welcomed new Coach Eugenio Corini, having fired Giuseppe Sannino before the break for international duty. Sergio Pellissier was suspended with Claiton Dos Santos and Calello injured.
As both teams have yellow and blue colours, Chievo played in their all-silver away strip. There was immediately controversy in the opening five minutes, as a set play found Bostjan Cesar to fire in off the underside of the bar, but he was flagged offside. The replays clearly show it was a valid goal for Chievo.
Chievo were surprisingly the more aggressive side in the first half, but Verona had penalty appeals for a Cesar handling offence. The referee considered it to be involuntary, even though his arm was outstretched as he misjudged the flight of the ball. Marcelo Estigarribia’s strike was deflected over for a corner and Juan Iturbe’s volley flashed across the face of goal.
Andrea Mandorlini’s half-time team talk must’ve had an effect, as Verona came flying out of the blocks and pinned Chievo back. Thereau tested Rafael from distance, but the French striker really should’ve scored when he dribbled through three Verona defenders only to prod the finish wide under pressure from Fabrizio Cacciatore.
A Perparim Hetemaj snapshot was deflected to loop over and Rafael scrambled back to get a fingertip to it. Ivan Radovanovic went incredibly close, as his finish with the outside of the boot was deflected by Albertazzi to scrape a coat of paint off the near post.
Puggioni did well to intercept an Iturbe low cross, smothering at Toni’s feet in the six-yard box. Luca Rigoni then charged down an Iturbe half-volley from the edge of the area and Rafael blocked Radovanovic’s strike from a corner.
Toni’s looping header landed on the roof of the net and in the final minutes he tried to turn from 12 yards, but was crowded out. Iturbe had the ball in the net in stoppages, but the referee had already blown the whistle for a handling offence.
Just as the teams seemed settled on a point apiece, Chievo snatched the winner deep into stoppages. Hetemaj pulled back from the by-line for Dejan Lazarevic, who smashed a powerful finish past Rafael at the near post from 12 yards.