Roberto Inglese bagged a brace, both set up by veteran Sergio Pellissier, to turn SPAL over after Stefano Sorrentino heroics in goal.
The Flying Donkeys were coming off two prestigious draws to Torino and Napoli, but had Lucas Castro injured and Ivan Radovanovic suspended. SPAL had the trio of Marco Borriello, Federico Viviani and Marios Oikonomou sitting out bans, plus Mirco Antenucci, Filippo Costa and Bartosz Salamon injured. This meant Alberto Paloschi faced his former club with Serie A debutant striker Federico Bonazzoli.
The deadlock was broken in bizarre fashion, as Manuel Lazzari burst down the right and pulled back from the by-line, where a clumsy attempted Bostjan Cesar clearance just knocked it into his own net.
Lazzari drilled just past the near post, but Stefano Sorrentino came to the rescue with an extraordinary triple save on a single move. He first denied Bonazzoli one-on-one, then parried Luca Rizzo’s follow-up at the near stick and eventually palmed the Alberto Grassi strike round the far post.
Chievo’s first real chance came from a poor Dias Felipe clearance and Alfred Gomis bravely rushed off his line to smother at Roberto Inglese’s feet.
Lazzari again flew down the right, Bonazzoli turning wide from his pull-back. When Chievo thought they had equalised through Inglese’s half-volley, the offside flag went up on 53 minutes.
Nenad Tomovic should’ve made it 1-1, but somehow turned a free header wide from Valter Birsa’s cross.
Sorrentino came to the rescue again, fingertipping a Rizzo solo effort round the base of the near post, but Chievo did draw level just past the hour mark.
Substitute Sergio Pellissier’s diving header on a Massimo Gobbi cross was deflected into the path of Inglese to tap in from six yards.
Suddenly the momentum turned at the Bentegodi and Birsa blasted over, then his cross-shot almost took Gomis by surprise.
It was only a warning, as Gomis did let an Inglese angled drive slip through his fingers after Pellissier’s knock-down from a Birsa through ball. Chievo turned the game around completely with 10 minutes left on the clock.
Rolando Maran also gave ex-Bayern Munich talent Gianluca Gaudino his Serie A debut for the final stages.