The Benevento revival was cut short in no uncertain terms at the Stadio Dall’Ara, as Blerim Dzemaili made the ideal Bologna comeback.
Le Streghe had one point from the opening 18 rounds, yet were on two consecutive victories going into the Stadio Dall’Ara. Captain Fabio Lucioni started his nine-month doping ban and Luca Antei was injured, but they had been busy in the transfer window, signing the likes of Sandro, Jean-Claude Billong, Guilherme and Achraf Lazaar. Bologna winger Simone Verdi became a fan hero overnight by rejecting a mid-season transfer to Napoli.
After just a couple of minutes, Vid Belec parried a diving Verdi header on Rodrigo Palacio’s pull-back. Benevento were also unlucky not to take the lead on eight minutes, debutant Guilherme firing on to the woodwork from close range from a Venuti assist.
Instead, Bologna broke the deadlock, as a Verdi free kick was floated in for Mattia Destro’s scuffed volley from 10 yards.
The Rossoblu threatened again just before half-time, but Belec was decisive on Ibrahima Mbaye from close range.
Sebastien De Maio had the ball in the back of the net on a Verdi free kick, but it was ruled out as Mbaye was offside and considered to be interfering with play. However, a VAR review found that Mbaye had no influence and the goal was awarded.
Antonio Mirante denied Benevento even a consolation goal, his acrobatic save keeping out Massimo Coda’s header.
Blerim Dzemaili marked his perfect comeback after a brief spell in MLS with Montreal Impact, surging forward to unleash a trademark right-foot thunderbolt.
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