Serie A Week 29 - 18 Mar 2018 (14.00 UK)
Benevento 1 - 2 Cagliari
Brignola 47 (B), Pavoletti 91 (C), Barella pen 97 (C)
Stadio Ciro Vigorito

Benevento proved why they are at the foot of the table, as they dominated for 90 minutes and still lost 2-1 to Cagliari.

This was a relegation dogfight, because while Le Streghe looked doomed, the Sardinians were hovering only two points clear of the bottom three. Lorenzo Del Pinto was suspended for the hosts, while Luca Antei, Marco D’Alessandro and Pietro Iemmello were on the treatment table, but veteran midfielder Sandro returned. Cagliari had to do without Luca Cigarini and Lykogiannis.

Curiously, both sides had players suspended after failing doping tests this season - Fabio Lucioni and Joao Pedro.

Aside from the 2-1 Benevento loss earlier this season, the only other meeting between these clubs was a 1-1 Coppa Italia draw in Sardinia in August 1982.

Benevento were unlucky early doors to rattle the frame of the goal with Enrico Brignola, whose angled drive bounced off the base of the far post after a double deflection off Leandro Castan and Alessio Cragno.

Massimo Coda just failed to get on the end of a Gaetano Letizia assist and blasted another just over the bar, as Benevento dominated the first half.

Brignola finally got the opener straight after the restart, smashing a left-foot strike into the roof of the net from the edge of the box.

Lorenzo Venuti thought he’d made it 2-0 when he surged through the dire Cagliari defence, but Cragno managed to parry from point-blank range.

Benevento lost Brignola to injury, but continued to dominate and wasted a good chance to put the win beyond doubt with Danilo Cataldi’s first touch letting him down.

However, as has happened so many times to Le Streghe this season, they collapsed in the final minutes. Senna Miangue flicked on a corner for Leonardo Pavoletti’s glancing header to draw Cagliari level.

To add further insult to injury, in stoppages a penalty was awarded for Sandro’s handling offence on a Niccolo Barella cross and the young midfielder converted the spot-kick himself for the Sardinian victory.

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Benevento: Puggioni, Sagna, Djimsiti, Tosca, Letizia; Viola, Sandro, Djuricic (Billong 75); Guilherme, Coda, Brignola (Cataldi 64)
Cagliari: Cragno; Romagna, Ceppitelli, Castan (Farias 80); Faragò, Ionita (Sau 65), Barella, Padoin, Miangue; Han (Ceter 76), Pavoletti
Ref: Manganiello