Cagliari held on with 10 men for an entire half in this relegation dogfight, but Crotone had a goal disallowed in stoppages amid controversy.
This was something of a relegation showdown, as the Sardinians were only two points and one position in front of their opponents going into this weekend. Both hovered perilously close to the drop zone, but Cagliari were decimated for this trip, missing suspended Leonardo Pavoletti, Niccolo Barella and Joao Pedro, plus injured Senna Miangue. Walter Zenga’s Crotone were fresh from a morale-boosting 3-0 victory over Verona, which saw January signing Federico Ricci on inspirational form.
Cagliari won the only previous top flight edition of this fixture, but lost all three Serie B visits to the Stadio Scida.
Crotone lost Adrian Stoian to a calf injury in the opening stages, while Cagliari had penalty appeals waved away and Niccolo Giannetti’s acrobatic volley was beaten away at the near post.
Paolo Faragò was penalised via VAR for a clumsy tackle on Andrea Nalini in the penalty area and Marcello Trotta rolled in the spot-kick to open the scoring.
Federico Ceccherini nearly put through his own net in an attempt to anticipate Giannetti, but was saved by the reflexes of goalkeeper Alex Cordaz.
Cagliari lost goalkeeper Alessio Cragno after an accidental clash of heads and replacement Rafael was immediately called into action with a fingertip save on Nalini.
However, in first half stoppages, Pisacane was controversially shown a straight red card for his very high tackle on Federico Ricci. It seemed perhaps harsh, as he didn’t appear to see the opponent coming.
Despite going down to 10 men, Cagliari equalised with the final move of the first half, seven minutes into stoppages. Luca Cigarini curled a perfect free kick from the edge of the area.
Crotone had a double opportunity to restore their lead, but Rafael performed crucial saves on both Ahmad Benali and the Bruno Martella follow-up.
Just as Cagliari thought they had held on for the point, in stoppages Ricci’s free kick found Federico Ceccherini for a glancing header into the far corner. They got a let-off, as after several minutes of discussion and evaluation, the goal was disallowed, but it didn’t appear to be offside.
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Sent off: Pisacane 45+2 (Ca)