Cengiz Under and Roma made the most of their chances and Cagliari did not, either by poor finishing or Alisson Becker heroics.
The Giallorossi break away in third place after Lazio’s draw with Atalanta, but also felt the strain of Wednesday’s 4-2 Champions League semi-final win over Liverpool, which was just short of enough to reach the Final. It took its toll, missing Diego Perotti, Kevin Strootman, Gregoire Defrel, Rick Karsdorp and Lorenzo Pellegrini. Kostas Manolas then pulled up with a thigh problem during the warm-up, so with Juan Jesus suspended, 22-year-old Elio Capradossi was given his Serie A debut. The Sardinians were in the bottom three and had to do without Damir Ceter, Senna Miangue, Filippo Romagna, plus suspended trio Luca Cigarini, Leandro Castan and Joao Pedro.
Roma’s last Serie A defeat in Sardinia was 4-2 in February 2012, followed by three wins (one of those awarded due to stadium issues) and a draw.
It took all of 20 seconds for Alessandro Deiola to have the first attempt, pouncing on a loose ball to blast over the bar. Capradossi was also called into action early on with a crucial block to stop a cross reaching Leonardo Pavoletti and Diego Farias curled just wide of the far post.
Roma barely emerged from their own half until the 12th minute, when Gerson rolled across for Cengiz Under, charged down from point-blank range by Lykogiannis.
It was only a warning, as the Turkey international scored soon after. Edin Dzeko controlled with his back to goal and Under placed a snooker shot in off the inside of the far post.
Luca Ceppitelli’s low cross from the right found Pavoletti for a flick, testing Alisson Becker from close range, but the Brazilian goalkeeper out-did himself with an incredible save on 36 minutes.
Artur Ionita’s cross-shot took a massive deflection off Bruno Peres and Alisson somehow managed to palm it away from point-blank range.
Deiola then skimmed the upright after twisting and turning to find a gap. Straight after the restart, Cagliari came flying out the blocks and within a minute had two big chances. First Alisson was caught off his line and needed Capradossi to block the Farias attempt towards an open goal, then Federico Fazio charged down a shot with his shoulder.
Farias really should’ve equalised when sent clear on goal, but he was so focused on out-sprinting the defenders that he took a very heavy second touch and knocked it straight out of play.
Bruno Peres also went off with a thigh problem, but there was huge controversy on 73 minutes when Farias was clear on goal and a desperate Kolarov tackle from behind put it out for a corner. Even on replays it wasn’t entirely clear if he got the ball or the man, but strangely the referee didn’t opt to view it on VAR and instead went to the touchline to send off a member of the Cagliari staff for dissent.
Marco Sau was accidentally sent clear on goal by an Aleksandar Kolarov error, but again Alisson rushed off his line and made himself big to parry with his chest.
Roma were pinned back during six minutes of stoppages, Nicolò Barella’s curler charged down by a group of bodies crammed in the box. Pavoletti also had penalty appeals deep into stoppages for a Gerson nudge.
Cagliari are now in real trouble, as they are in the bottom three and their final two games are against Fiorentina and Atalanta.
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