Serie A Week 24 - 16 Feb 2019 (17.00 UK)
Cagliari 2 - 1 Parma
Kucka 40 (P), Pavoletti 65, 85 (C)
Sardegna Arena

Leonardo Pavoletti gave Cagliari their first victory of 2019 with a brace, overturning the early Juraj Kucka header for Parma.

The Sardinians were sliding towards the drop zone, as they had one point from the last five rounds and failed to score in four of them. They had to do without Ragnar Klavan, Paolo Faragò, Fabrizio Cacciatore, Cyril Thereau, Walter Birsa, Lucas Castro and Alberto Cerri. Darijo Srna and Filippo Romagna were only fit for the bench, so Fabio Pisacane was re-routed to centre-back. The Ducali missed Matteo Scozzarella, Federico Dimarco and suspended Roberto Gagliolo, so Leo Stulac and Massimo Gobbi got rare starts.

Luca Ceppitelli’s header skimmed the bar from an early corner and Alessandro Deiola’s snapshot stung the gloves of Luigi Sepe in a very aggressive Cagliari start.

The injury crisis got even worse when Luca Pellegrini got a nasty cut to his knee while going into a sliding tackle and had to be replaced by Charalampos Lykogiannis.

Cagliari’s tempo started to drop towards half-time and Parma took advantage by taking the lead. Gobbi marked his comeback after three months with a fine cross from the left, finding Juraj Kucka’s looping almost remote-controlled header in off the underside of the bar, even though Alessio Cragno got his fingertips to it. This was the January signing’s first goal for the club.

Roberto Inglese fired a Jonathan Biabiany cross just wide of the near post after getting in front of his marker, but when Kiril Despodov came off the bench, he seemed to spark some momentum in the Sardinians.

It paid off, as Ceppitelli knocked down a Luca Cigarini free kick and Pavoletti came sliding in to bundle over the line from close range, his first goal since November.

The hosts continued to push and, after Bastoni’s chest and volley was straight at Cragno, Cagliari turned it around with another Pavoletti goal. This one was more his style, a towering header after Barella won back possession to whip in the cross.

However, Cagliari went down to 10 men, as Joao Pedro was booked for a late tackle on Kucka, said something to the referee and immediately received a second yellow card.

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Cagliari: Cragno; Padoin, Ceppitelli, Pisacane, Pellegrini (Lykogiannis 32); Deiola (Despodov 56), Cigarini (Bradaric 92), Barella; Ionita; Joao Pedro, Pavoletti
Parma: Sepe; Iacoponi, Bastoni, Bruno Alves, Gobbi; Kucka, Stulac (Rigoni 64), BarillĂ  (Ceravolo 89); Gervinho, Inglese, Biabiany (Siligardi 87)
Ref: Manganiello

Sent off: Joao Pedro 90 (C)