Serie A Week 17 - 17 Dec 2017 (17.00 UK)
Benevento 1 - 2 Spal
Cremonesi og 59 (B), Floccari 64, 73 (S)
Stadio Ciro Vigorito

SPAL came back from a goal down to take all three points from bottom of the table Benevento thanks to Sergio Floccari’s brace.

This was a showdown between two of the teams promoted from Serie B last summer and their fortunes had not been great thus far, Le Streghe managing only one point from 16 games (a dramatic 2-2 draw with Milan) and SPAL won only twice, but were fresh from a remarkable comeback to hold Verona 2-2. Luca Antei, Pietro Iemmello, Achraf Lazaar and suspended Fabio Lucioni missed out for the hosts, while Filippo Costa didn’t make the trip.

Marco D’Alessandro blasted over, then was running on to a through ball when Vicari got a decisive touch to turn it out for a corner. Alfred Gomis also beat away a Ledian Memushaj strike.

SPAL finally created a genuine opportunity with Pasquale Schiattarella’s floated cross finding Alberto Grassi at the back post, but his free header was too weak.

Moments later, Alberto Paloschi had the ball in the net, but Schiattarella had wandered offside in the build-up.

VAR was called into action on 41 minutes, as first SPAL thought the Memushaj handling offence right on the edge of the area was inside the box, but after viewing it on the screen, the referee realised it was inside the area and that the handball was involuntary, as it bounced off his head first.

Gomis had to come tearing off his line to anticipate D’Alessandro, but SPAL had two good opportunities in quick succession. First Floccari pounced on an awful clearance to test Vid Belec and the Pasquale Schiattarella follow-up was deflected across the face of goal, then on the resulting corner Floccari’s header bounced off the crossbar.

Moments later, Ciciretti horribly volleyed off target from a Vittorio Parigini cross. Benevento did break the deadlock when Ciciretti’s free kick flashed beyond Andrea Costa and accidentally ricocheted in off SPAL defender Michele Cremonesi for an own goal.

However, SPAL hit back straight away with Schiattarella pulling across from a tight angle for Floccari to tap in from point-blank range.

Benevento almost scored an incredible goal, as Gomis rushed out to clear, allowing Gaetano Letizia to volley towards an empty net, but it bounced in front of the gaping goal and back over the bar.

Instead, SPAL turned it around completely with Federico Mattiello’s effort poorly parried by Belec into the path of Floccari for a tap-in, completing his brace. It was remarkable, as 36-year-old Floccari hadn’t scored in Serie A since April 2016.

It was almost 3-1, but Schiattarella pulled back from the by-line for Alberto Grassi to slide in, turning wide. Gomis flew to palm away both a Danilo Cataldi free kick and the Costa follow-up header.

George Puscas blasted a half-volley over the bar, but the win allows SPAL to catch Genoa in the table.

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Benevento: Belec; Letizia, Djimsiti, Costa, Di Chiara; Memushaj, Cataldi, Chibsah (Puscas 74); Ciciretti, Armenteros (Coda 79), D'Alessandro (Parigini 52)
Spal: Gomis; Salamon, Vicari, Cremonesi; Lazzari, Schiattarella (Mora 74), Viviani, Grassi, Mattiello; Paloschi (Antenucci 63), Floccari (Schiavon 84)
Ref: Pasqua