Bologna snatched a 3-2 thriller in Verona when down to 10 men, as Chievo man Fabrizio Cacciatore went from hero to zero in a heartbeat.
These sides went into the Stadio Bentegodi level on 21 points and coming off disappointing runs of form. Lucas Castro and Riccardo Meggiorini missed out for the hosts, while the Rossoblu were without Rodrigo Palacio and Federico Di Francesco. Bologna had won this fixture only once in 14 visits between Serie A and B, 1-0 in October 2011, along with seven draws and six defeats.
Mattia Destro’s glancing header from a Simone Verdi corner was deflected wide, but from that corner the situation was repeated with the ball going into the net.
Roberto Inglese’s chest and volley wasn’t powerful enough to surprise Antonio Mirante, but Verdi tried to curl in directly from the corner flag, finding the near post.
Another fine Verdi assist found Ladislav Krejci’s header, forcing a Stefano Sorrentino save, while at the other end Alessandro Gamberini nodded over from four yards.
The equaliser did come soon after, as another Birsa corner found Inglese’s header into the far bottom corner.
Chievo almost turned the game around completely with an identical move, this time Birsa’s corner found Fabrizio Cacciatore’s header and Mirante showed cat-like reflexes to claw it out at the near post.
Bologna had the chance to restore their lead in first half stoppages when Verdi ran on to a ball over the top and pulled it back, but Nenad Tomovic got the crucial interception to stop Destro tapping in.
Verdi started and finished the move for Bologna’s next goal, as he won back possession in midfield and was ready to turn in the rebound when Sorrentino half-heartedly parried an Adam Masina strike with his legs.
Verdi almost scored an incredible strike on 66 minutes, as he drew Sorrentino out and curled it directly from the by-line, but Gamberini had to perform a desperate goal-line clearance. It would’ve been one of the goals of the season.
There was a goal-line clearance at the other end too, as Birsa’s ball over the top found Sergio Pellissier to flick over the on-rushing Mirante, but Domenico Maietta scrambled back to hoof it off the line.
Bologna went down to 10 men, as Andrea Poli received his second yellow card for a clumsy challenge on Perparim Hetemaj, even if the decision seemed a little harsh.
Moments later, Mirante flew for a one-handed save on Inglese’s header, then Chievo drew level with a stunning Cacciatore goal. He dribbled down the right and cut inside on to his left foot, curling past everyone into the far bottom corner. The celebrations were cut short, as play was halted for at least three minutes for VAR checks, as Mariusz Stepinski ducked to get out of the way and was perhaps marginally offside, but the goal was given.
No sooner had Cacciatore finished relishing that moment, he went from hero to zero, as he slipped just outside the penalty area, allowing Destro to beat Sorrentino one-on-one.
It still wasn’t over, as Chievo poured forward, with Tomovic’s header looping up to hit the crossbar, then Cacciatore turned in the rebound, but was flagged offside.
Sent off: Poli 80 (B)