Mauricio Pinilla’s dreadful penalty miss proved decisive, as Cagliari were held to a 0-0 draw at Chievo.
This was the first Serie A match of 2014 and also a relegation tussle, as the Flying Donkeys had lost two on the trot while the Sardinians gave ex-Real Madrid goalkeeper Adan Garrido his debut with Nene suspended. Radja Nainggolan made probably one of his last starts in a Rossoblu jersey.
Although Cagliari were unbeaten in six, they had never won a top flight game away to Chievo. Mauricio Pinilla tested Christian Puggioni from a well-worked free kick after just three minutes.
It was another set play that almost gave Chievo the lead, as Dario Dainelli failed to get the final touch when diving in at the back post on Cyril Thereau’s free kick.
Daniele Conti was booked for his ninth yellow card in just 16 Serie A games this season. With two counter-attacking teams, neither wanted to take the initiative and this led to an uninspired first half.
Thereau had a great scoring opportunity on 58 minutes when Perparim Hetemaj knocked back a pass from the by-line and his first-time shot scraped a coat of paint off the base of the near post.
However, Cagliari were awarded a penalty when Bostjan Cesar mistimed his tackle on Pinilla after a poor Boukary Drame’ clearance. Pinilla stepped up to take the spot-kick himself, but the Chile international blasted it over the bar in a terrible finish. Bizarrely, the Sardinians have only been awarded two penalties this season and missed both of them.
Alberto Paloschi came off the bench on his 24th birthday and had a great opportunity denied by Adan’s outstretched foot, but was flagged offside anyway.
Paloschi had another good chance when Thereau pulled the ball across the six-yard box, but he was just unable to get the final touch between the centre-backs.
Missed penalty: Pinilla 66 (Ca)