Benevento were heartbroken to see a last-gasp equaliser ruled offside using VAR, as Godfred Donsah’s solo effort gave Bologna victory.
Le Streghe were unlucky to lose their first ever top flight match last week, taking the lead away to Sampdoria before falling 2-1, and the fans could not be more fired up for this home debut at the Stadio Ciro Vigorito. They hosted a Bologna side frankly fortunate to avoid defeat with Torino, as a late goal was incorrectly disallowed. Cesar Falletti, Da Costa and Erick Pulgar didn’t make the trip.
Federico Di Francesco flicked the ball up between two defenders to force a desperate interception and at the other end Fabio Lucioni’s looping header from a free kick skimmed the bar.
Bologna lost Domenico Maietta to injury and Fabio Ceravolo cracked the upright from distance, but only after the offside flag had been raised.
There was a catalogue of errors on the half-hour mark, as first Andrea Costa gifted the ball to send Mattia Destro clear on goal, then the striker drilled wide with only the goalkeeper to beat.
Vid Belec palmed a Simone Verdi free kick out from under the crossbar and Sebastien De Maio failed to nod in the resulting corner.
Ceravolo turned brilliantly between two defenders to force a low save from Antonio Mirante at the base of the near post.
There was more bad news for Bologna, who also lost Vasilis Torosidis to injury on the stroke of half-time. However, it was the visitors who took the lead with a fantastic solo effort from Godfred Donsah. He gathered inside his own half and sprinted forward, shrugging off a couple of tackles to smash home from 12 yards.
Verdi stung Belec’s gloves with a snapshot, who just about managed to get there before it crossed the line. Bologna kept blasting from distance with Di Francesco’s attempt also palmed over the bar.
Coda skimmed the woodwork, then Mirante got down for a crucial one-handed save on Marco D’Alessandro’s angled drive, desperate defending preventing George Puscas from tapping in the rebound.
In a curious situation, referee Giampaolo Calvarese pulled up with an Achilles tendon injury and had to be replaced by fourth official Daniele Chiffi for the final nine minutes.
Benevento went so close to an equaliser, Lucioni’s diving header over the bar from an Amato Ciciretti cross.
Moments later, Le Streghe did have the ball in the net and the Stadio Vigorito crowd went wild, as Coda’s spectacular volley was beaten away by Mirante, turned in by Lucioni practically on the line with the aid of a Saphir Taider deflection. However, after a couple of minutes the referee viewed the VAR and ruled – correctly – that Lucioni was offside. It put a huge dampener on the atmosphere in this historic home Serie A debut.