Federico Ricci could not have asked for a better debut, as Crotone demolished Hellas Verona in a relegation dogfight.
This was a crucial clash between two sides both on a run of three consecutive defeats. Daniel Bessa was suspended for Hellas with Alessio Cerci and Matteo Zaccagni injured, but January buys Ryder Matos and Bruno Petkovic were thrown straight into the mix.
Crotone have never conquered the Stadio Bentegodi, drawing their first three visits (all in Serie B) and losing the last three.
It took only a few minutes for the Calabrese to break the deadlock, as Andrea Barberis curled a magnificent free kick into the near top corner.
Hellas fought back, but were denied by the woodwork when Caracciolo’s header on a corner bounced off the upright and Marcello Trotta handled as he tried to turn in the rebound.
Crotone added a second at the Stadio Bentegodi, as Federico Ricci’s inspired pass allowed Adrian Stoian to sneak up behind defenders and tap in from close range.
Moments later, Bruno Zuculini saw red for a very high sliding tackle on Ahmad Benali, and Crotone ran riot with Ricci’s truly special finish. He didn’t even take a touch, directly steering the left-foot curler into the far top corner from the edge of the box.
See the latest Serie A predictions and betting tips with Eurotips.co.uk
Sent off: B Zuculini 61 (V)