Alberto Grassi’s bullet strike proved decisive for SPAL in a feisty affair, but 10-man Bologna failed to equalise thanks to the miss of the season.
This was a local derby and a relegation tussle, as the Spallini were in the bottom three, only one point adrift of Crotone, but had Pasquale Schiattarella suspended and Marco Borriello injured. The Rossoblu had won two on the bounce and welcomed Simone Verdi back after a month out with a thigh strain, but Rodrigo Palacio was still sidelined.
The home fans had spectacular choreography before kick-off, showing a knight upon a white horse slaying a red-and-blue dragon.
SPAL had a very bright start, Sebastien De Maio deflecting a Federico Mattiello cross beyond everyone in the six-yard box, but Andrea Poli picked up an injury within five minutes.
The news kept getting worse for Bologna, as on 10 minutes Mirco Antenucci controlled a long ball and was shoved in the back by Giancarlo Gonzalez on the very edge of the box. The defender saw red for interrupting a clear goal-scoring opportunity. Federico Viviani drilled the resulting free kick under the wall as it jumped, but the finish flashed inches wide.
The tension escalated with a scuffle between Blerim Dzemaili and Manuel Lazzari, then Alberto Grassi’s snapshot from the D clipped the near post.
Antenucci’s curler went just wide of the far top corner and Bologna were fortunate not to go down to nine men by the half-hour mark, as substitute Godfred Donsah only received a yellow for his dangerous sliding tackle on Jasmin Kurtic.
Lazzari somehow blasted over from six yards when unmarked, but the deadlock was finally broken straight after the restart. A corner was cleared to the edge of the box, where Grassi let it come down before smashing a right-foot volley through a crowd of players.
Bologna did not give in, even down to 10 men, and a Federico Di Francesco cross was deflected past De Maio from eight yards.
Mattiello got himself sent off for a second bookable offence and Bologna seemed destined to equalise deep into stoppages when a free kick was knocked on for Riccardo Orsolini, who put the perfect ball across the six-yard box and Destro somehow turned it over from a yard. It was the miss of the season, possibly the decade. It was practically a goal-line clearance.
See the latest Serie A predictions and betting tips with Eurotips.co.uk
Sent off: Gonzalez 10 (B), Mattiello 91 (S)