Cagliari had an extraordinarily unlucky start, but fought back from a Fabio Quagliarella brace to snatch a 2-2 draw with Sampdoria.
The Sardinians had Niccolò Barella suspended and lost Rafael during the warm-up, so Alessio Cragno went in goal. Samp were without Karol Linetty and opted to start former Cagliari full-back Nicola Murru.
Not only did Rafael pull out, but the hosts also saw Luca Ceppitelli stretchered off just three minutes in to make way for Fabio Pisacane.
Joao Pedro drilled wide from the edge of the box, but Sampdoria took the lead with a strange goal, as everyone missed the dinked Gaston Ramirez assist over the top except Fabio Quagliarella, who at full stretch grazed his studs to the ball.
The pair combined again for the second, as Ramirez’s back-heel flick released Quagliarella to steer a precise finish into the far bottom corner from 12 yards.
It should’ve been 3-0 by 24 minutes after Lucas Torreira’s give-and-go with Dennis Praet, but Cragno got down for a desperate one-handed save.
Incredibly unlucky, Cagliari lost Paolo Faragò to a muscular problem too and he was replaced by Gregory van der Wiel, then Daniele Dessena crumpled to the ground. The Sardinians lost four players before half-time, including Rafael in the warm-up.
Leonardo Pavoletti nodded over, although he had also strayed offside, but Cragno flew to fingertip a magnificent Ramirez curler out of the far top corner.
Artur Ionita’s diving header skimmed the bar in first-half stoppages and Pavoletti had a similar outcome after the restart.
Cagliari needed a stroke of luck after all those injuries and they got it, because Emiliano Viviano’s terrible clearance ricocheted off the back of Diego Farias and into the net, without the striker seeming to know much about it.
That sparked a sudden revival from the Sardinians, as Viviano got down to palm a downward Pavoletti header off the line, then Ionita had a goal ruled offside.
Moments later, the comeback was complete and Pavoletti’s towering header converted a Ionita cross from the right. That was the ex-Genoa forward’s fourth goal against Samp in the last four meetings.
Cagliari looked like a different team and Farias flashed an angled drive across the face of goal to skim the upright, while Cragno had his gloves stung by Gianluca Caprari twice in the final minutes, also turning away the Quagliarella follow-up.