Sergio Pellissier celebrated his 100th Chievo goal, as Emiliano Mondonico’s debut on the Novara bench was ruined.
Attilio Tesser brought Novara into their first Serie A season for 55 years, but was sacked on Monday. His replacement Emiliano Mondonico made his comeback a year after resigning from Albinoleffe because he was diagnosed with cancer and had a 5kg tumour removed from his stomach. The Piedmont side were bottom of the table, while Chievo needed a boost after two consecutive defeats between Serie A and Coppa Italia.
It had been snowing in Novara, but the artificial pitch at the Stadio Piola held up well.
Samir Ujkani needed a tough double save after 10 minutes, as he had his palms stung first by Sergio Pellissier on the volley and then the follow-up from Luciano.
At the other end, Stefano Sorrentino dealt with an Ivan Radovanovic strike after the initial free kick had been charged down. Hetemaj risked two yellow cards in quick succession for clumsy tackles in the opening 20 minutes.
Cyril Thereau got between the centre-backs only to shin the volley over the bar from close range. Moments later, Thereau pulled back across for Alberto Paloschi, but Massimo Paci intervened and risked an own goal, his header skimming the upright. From the corner, Gennaro Sardo’s header was scrambled clear.
Chievo were beginning to pile on pressure and broke through with a very special goal indeed, as Pellissier got his 100th for the Flying Donkeys. Leandro Rinaudo hesitated and Giuseppe Gemiti slipped in the box, allowing Pellissier to burst forward and smash it past Ujkani at the near post.
Novara nearly equalised 60 seconds later, but the Marco Rigoni ball flashed across the six yard box with Giuseppe Mascara failing to connect by a matter of inches.
Thereau’s looping effort was palmed out from under the bar by Ujkani, but Novara really should’ve scored on the stroke of half-time. Rigoni’s angled drive was parried on to the head of Andrea Caracciolo, who nodded wide from six yards under pressure from Acerbi.
After the restart Novara again went close, as Paci just failed to get on the end of a Gemiti daisy-cutter cross from the left. Moments later, Sorrentino got down to beat away a splendid Gemiti solo effort and nobody was ready to tap in the loose ball.
Striker Raffaele Rubino was thrown on and Gennaro Sardo scrambled out for a corner to stop Caracciolo’s strong run.
However, Chievo took their chances when Novara did not, doubling their advantage 12 minutes from time. It was a classic counter-attack and Thereau completed his one-two with Paolo Sammarco to slot past Ujkani.
Within 60 seconds the gap had been reduced to one goal again, as Rigoni brilliantly volleyed a cross from the left for Giuseppe Mascara’s diving header to put Novara back in the game.
Michele Morganella pulled back for substitute Daniel Jensen, but Sammarco’s sliding tackle did enough to put him off.