Cagliari ended their run of five consecutive away defeats with a dominant 3-0 performance against 10-man Chievo, their first ever Serie A victory at the Bentegodi.
The Flying Donkeys were still rooted to the foot of the table and with one win all season, doomed to the drop. The Sardinians couldn’t feel too comfortable, only six points clear of the relegation zone and without an away victory since September 2. Ezequiel Schelotto and Nenad Tomovic were out injured for the hosts, but Cagliari hitman Leonardo Pavoletti was suspended with Lucas Castro and Ragnar Klavan side-lined, so Cyril Thereau and Fabrizio Cacciatore faced their old club.
Cagliari had never won away to Chievo in Serie A, earning six draws from 12 previous visits, but did get a 2-1 victory here in the Coppa Italia back in December 2018.
The hosts had a huge chance after just six minutes, Riccardo Meggiorini letting it bounce to hit a ferocious half-volley that Alessio Cragno fingertipped out from under the bar.
Chievo continued to pour forward, but it was Cagliari who took the lead with their first chance of the game. A corner was taken short and Luca Pellegrini whipped in a cross for Fabio Pisacane’s bullet header in off the underside of the crossbar.
Perparim Hetemaj’s shot from distance was smothered and Marco Andreolli cut out another dangerous Pellegrini cross from the left.
Cagliari doubled their lead with Joao Pedro’s smart finish beneath Stefano Sorrentino, but much of the credit goes to Nicolò Barella, who started the run from inside his own half and cut the defence open with a slide-rule pass.
Luck was certainly not on Chievo’s side, as Cragno turned Meggiorini’s attempt away for a corner, from which Mariusz Stepinski’s header bounced off the inside of the far post.
Once again, a chance wasted is a chance conceded, as Cacciatore’s cross found Artur Ionita for a textbook diving header from eight yards to make it 3-0 just before half-time.
Barella almost got a fourth within 50 seconds of the restart, but curled just wide after surging forward. It got even worse for Chievo, as Fabio Depaoli was already on a yellow card when going studs-up on Luca Cigarini’s ankle.
Cragno still had to make more saves than his opposite number, as 10-man Chievo stung his gloves with a powerful Mehdi Leris strike from 11 yards and another attempt from a tight angle.
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Sent off: Depaoli 52 (Ch)