Cagliari took full advantage of Catania goalkeeper Pietro Terracciano’s error and the pace of Victor Ibarbo to secure a 3-0 victory.
The Sardinians again played their home game in Trieste due to a dispute over reconstruction work at the Stadio Sant’Elia. Oddly, both teams had to do without their first choice goalkeepers, as both Michael Agazzi and Juan Pablo Carrizo were suspended. Nicola Legrottaglie also sat out a ban.
There was a dangerous early chance when Giovanni Marchese burst down the left and crossed for Gonzalo Bergessio, who steered a free header wide of the target despite Davide Astori’s slip.
Cagliari took the lead with their first real scoring opportunity and a howler from goalkeeper Terracciano, who was making only his second Serie A appearance. At the end of a long probing move, Thiago Ribeiro hit an angled drive that surprised Pietro Terracciano at the base of the near post. The 22-year-old got a hand to the shot, but seemed very late when getting down.
Daniele Conti drilled just wide of the same upright and a promising Catania move broke down when Francesco Lodi misplaced the final pass.
Alejandro ‘Papu’ Gomez had tried to whip in a cross just before half-time, but it ended up swerving past Vlada Avramov and thumping the top of the bar instead.
Astori rose to meet an Andrea Cossu corner and his looping header was ready to beat Terracciano, but Lodi was back there to clear off the line and save Catania. Thiago Ribeiro tried to repeat his earlier goal, but this time it whistled wide.
After the restart Lodi’s free kick was plucked out of the air, but Conti went so close to a second goal on 52 minutes. He combined with Mauricio Pinilla and his finish was deflected off Marco Motta’s ankle to thump the base of the near upright.
Conti and Thiago Ribeiro’s follow-up caused problems for the Catania defence, while Avramov blocked a Cristian Llama daisy-cutter.
The visitors somehow failed to equalise on 67 minutes. Bergessio sprung the offside trap thanks to a lucky ricochet and was totally clear on goal, but hesitated and fired straight at the ‘keeper, then his backheel flick to Gomez was too weak.
Davide Lanzafame just failed to get his head on the end of a Lodi free kick to the back stick, but Terracciano risked giving away another goal. He flapped at an Astori header and the follow-up from Michele Canini.
Cagliari did go 2-0 up moments later. Victor Ibarbo turned on the turbo to sprint from the centre-circle to the by-line and pulled back for Pinilla’s easiest of tap-ins from six yards.
It was so nearly 3-0, but Canini’s header struck the outside of the left upright from a Cagliari corner.
Ibarbo made a huge difference after coming on and got the third goal with the final kick of the game. He again tore the Catania defence to shreds with his pace and set up Joaquin Larrivey, who hesitated and saw his shot charged down, so Ibarbo finished it off with a powerful shot under the bar on the follow-up.