Cagliari earned a potentially very important victory away to Spal thanks to Niccolo Barella and Joao Pedro scorchers.
The Serie A new boys had to do without Alex Meret, Marios Oikonomou, Sergio Floccari and Luca Rizzo, but could count on Marco Borriello, who left Cagliari midway through the summer in very tense circumstances. The Sardinians made the trip with everyone except Gregory van der Wiel.
Joao Paolo rather confirmed the difficult rapport with Borriello by clattering him for a yellow card within 11 minutes.
Niccolo Barella put Cagliari in front, as Alfred Gomis only flapped at a Marco Sau cross-shot, setting up the Italy Under-21 international for the rebound.
Spal fought back, Filippo Costa nodding just wide from a Manuel Lazzari cross, then Alessio Cragno fingertipped another Lazzari cross-shot on to the bar.
Sau chipped up a pass for Leonardo Pavoletti’s header, forcing Gomis into a one-handed save.
Alberto Paloschi intercepted an awful Fabio Pisacane back-header in midfield and was brought down by Luca Ceppitelli. Spal wanted a straight red, but he was too far from the goal and had other defenders around him.
Cagliari doubled their advantage with a sensational solo effort, as Joao Pedro cut inside from the left past Pasquale Schiattarella and curled a right-foot finish into the far top corner from a good 20 metres out.
It was almost 3-0, as Diego Farias surged forward to sting Gomis’ gloves, but Cragno beat away a dangerous Borriello free kick.
Federico Viviani thought he had a consolation goal at the final minute, but his screamer was palmed over the bar by Cragno.