Roberto Donadoni took revenge on his former club, as Parma swept Cagliari aside in this relegation battle.
This was a head-to-head relegation dogfight between two teams locked together on 38 points, just four clear of the drop zone. The Ducali sought to make home advantage count and only missed MacDonald Mariga in their midfield. The visitors had to do without Daniele Dessena, Rui Sampaio and Moustafa El Kabir, but Mauricio Pinilla returned to partner Thiago Ribeiro.
It was a special game for Parma boss Roberto Donadoni, who started pre-season training with Cagliari before he was fired in August in a dispute with fiery President Massimo Cellino.
Radja Nainggolan’s long-range strike whistled wide, but Parma went far closer when Davide Astori completely failed to deal with a Jaime Valdes pass over the top and allowed Sebastian Giovinco to turn in the box, but the Atomic Ant blasted over from nine yards.
Albin Ekdal had timid penalty appeals for a clumsy Gabriel Paletta challenge from behind and replays suggest he did not get the ball.
A smart set play tactic saw Andrea Cossu curl the free kick round the wall towards Mauricio Pinilla’s diagonal run, but the Chilean’s finish was palmed over the bar by Antonio Mirante from point-blank range.
Parma took the lead with their star player Giovinco and a bit of luck, as his trademark free kick from outside the box took a decisive deflection off Francesco Pisano’s knee to leave Michael Agazzi wrong-footed at the near post.
Cagliari fought back and another long-range Nainggolan effort stung Mirante’s palms, but Parma nearly doubled their lead on 53 minutes.
It was a chaotic move, as Sergio Floccari skipped past Michele Canini to force a flying save out of Agazzi, then the ball continued to ricochet around the six-yard box with Giovinco and Floccari again seeing their shots beaten away.
Cagliari were unlucky, as Victor Ibarbo was stopped on the edge of the box for an incorrect offside position.
The referee pointed to the spot when Jonathan was tripped by Nainggolan and Floccari stepped up to coolly convert, sending Agazzi the wrong way.
Pinilla tried to get the Sardinians back into it with an acrobatic overhead kick, but Agazzi tripped substitute Stefano Okaka when they both tried to get on the end of a smart Giovinco ball across the six-yard box.
It was another penalty and Agazzi hurt his left hand during that challenge, so required treatment before the spot-kick could be taken. Okaka took it himself and calmly and centrally beat the ailing goalkeeper to put a third goal on the scoresheet. He celebrated waving injured teammate Mariga’s shirt.