Serie A Week 26 - 25 Feb 2018 (11.30 UK)
Crotone 2 - 3 Spal
Antenucci 37 (S), Budimir 49, 86 (C), Simic 51 (S), Paloschi 60 (S)
Stadio Ezio Scida

SPAL snatched a 3-2 victory away to Crotone, a potentially massive result in the relegation fight, as it closes the gap between them to one point.

This was a massive relegation battle between 17th and 18th, with only four points separating them. The hosts were fresh from a 3-2 defeat to Benevento that left them in serious trouble, with Adrian Stoian injured. SPAL had lost three on the bounce and missed Marco Borriello, Eros Schiavon and suspended Dias Felipe.

Manuel Lazzari risked an own goal after 10 minutes, Alex Meret reaching back behind him with one hand to capture the over-hit back-pass.

Mirco Antenucci attempted an audacious overhead kick and Federico Ricci scuffed the finish from just inside the area set up for him by Ahmad Benali and Ante Budimir couldn’t keep his header on target.

Meret flew to palm away an Andrea Nalini curler and Alex Cordaz did brilliantly to parry Alberto Grassi’s volley from point-blank range.

SPAL finally did break through when Lazzari pulled back from the by-line down the right, Antenucci took a touch to create space and smashed into the near top corner from 11 yards.

Crotone got back on level terms straight after the restart. Budimir laid it off at the edge of the area for Andrea Barberis, whose shot struck the base of the upright, but the striker was then in the perfect position to turn in the rebound.

The hosts had barely finished celebrating when SPAL restored the advantage, as a Pasquale Schiattarella free kick found Lorenzo Simic for a looping header into the far top corner.

Crotone shot themselves in the foot for the third, as Alberto Paloschi was kept onside by a disastrous Barberis back-pass, placing the angled drive past Cordaz.

Antenucci almost added a fourth moments later on Thiago Cionek’s counter, but Cordaz parried with his feet one-on-one.

Bruno Martella saw a couple of scorchers go just over the bar, but after several crosses going nowhere, one from Marco Davide Faraoni found the diving header of Budimir between two centre-backs to set up a tense finale.

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Crotone: Cordaz; Sampirisi (Faraoni 65), Ceccherini, Capuano, Martella; Mandragora, Barberis (Trotta 61), Benali; Ricci (Simy 76), Budimir, Nalini
Spal: Meret; Simic, Vicari, Cionek; Lazzari, Schiattarella (Salamon 82), Kurtic, Grassi, Mattiello; Paloschi (Floccari 89), Antenucci (Drame 77)
Ref: Orsato