Mauricio Pinilla struck to sink his former teammates, as Cagliari won the Derby delle Isole 2-1 against Palermo.
Chilean hitman Pinilla faced the club he only left a couple of weeks ago, while Fabrizio Miccoli and Armin Bacinovic didn’t make the trip due to injury. Francesco Pisano was originally named in the Cagliari starting XI, but pulled out during the warm-up to make way for Gabriele Perico.
Nicolas Bertolo had a shot charged down in the opening 15 seconds, but Cagliari lost another player to injury after just five minutes, as Andrea Cossu suffered a muscular problem.
Pinilla almost scored against his former teammates, but the bullet header was brilliantly batted off the line by an extraordinary Emiliano Viviano reaction save.
Pinilla then flashed another snapshot just wide of the near post, while Michael Agazzi got down well to palm a Josip Ilicic angled drive round the upright.
Viviano managed to flap a Victor Ibarbo header off the line from point-blank range, then Agazzi flew to push Eran Zahavi’s free kick out from the near top corner.
In first half stoppages a cross flashed in from the left by Alessandro Agostini, but Daniele Dessena came sliding in and just failed to make contact from six yards.
After the restart Federico Balzaretti did well to block Victor Ibarbo’s shot in the penalty area, but Cagliari started the second half very strong and took the lead after 10 minutes.
Thiago Ribeiro sent Ibarbo down the right to draw out the goalkeeper at the near post, rolling across for the on-rushing Pinilla to slide into an empty net against his former teammates. All three members of the trident were involved in the build-up of this goal.
Davide Astori accidentally clattered into teammate Conti, the midfielder getting a shoulder in the side of the head. He was naturally left dizzy by this clash, so Conti was stretchered off to make way for Albin Ekdal.
Ibarbo should’ve made it 2-0 when in acres of space, but completely shinned his half-volley to almost strike the corner flag. Dessena’s screamer from 25 metres flashed over the bar, possibly with the aid of Viviano’s fingertips.
Abel Hernandez was a substitute for Palermo and had a fantastic chance to equalise, as he sprung the offside trap and the free header was well parried by Agazzi from seven yards.
However, Cagliari did double their lead soon after. Pinilla’s missile of a free kick was only beaten away by Viviano into the path of Dessena for the follow-up. The Chilean’s set play burst through the wall and was simply too powerful to catch.
Less than a minute later the referee awarded a penalty to Palermo, as Perico charged down a Hernandez snapshot with his arm. Uruguayan Hernandez stepped up and buried the spot-kick with Agazzi rooted to the spot.
It got the Sicilians back into the game late on, as Franco Vazquez nodded over and Cagliari clung to their lead with some chaotic defending from corners. Agazzi mistimed his run on to an Ilicic free kick and was fortunate to see Eros Pisano’s header land on the roof of the net. Deep into stoppages a cross was allowed to bounce through and Andrea Mantovani only got a shin to it at full stretch at the back post. There was a corner in the last 10 seconds and Viviano also came forward to jump, but it was too late for Palermo.