Hellas Verona managed to grab a 1-1 draw with Bologna despite being down to 10 men for almost the entire game, but the most important thing was Sinisa Mihajlovic’s touchline return.
The season started in strange circumstances for Bologna, as Coach Sinisa Mihajlovic was diagnosed with leukaemia and spent the last six weeks in a clinic undergoing chemotherapy. He kept in constant contact with his staff and players using video links and streaming, which he was also expected to do this evening. However, in a shock twice, the 50-year-old checked out of hospital for the first time in 40 days and sat on the Stadio Bentegodi bench.
Verona had Mattia Vitale and Di Carmine suspended, with Emmanuel Badu injured and veteran hitman Giampaolo Pazzini on the bench. There were three new players in the Bologna XI, with Riccardo Orsolini recovering in time to start too, but Rodrigo Palacio used as a False 9.
It was a fiery start to the game, because just 13 minutes in the irrepressible Orsolini was rugby-tackled by Dawidowicz in the clumsiest of tackles. He was clear on goal, so it was both a penalty – converted by Nicola Sansone – and a red card.
Bologna began to inevitably take control, Roberto Soriano and Palacio forcing saves, but 10-man Hellas Verona got an equaliser out of nowhere.
A magnificent trademark free kick from Miguel Veloso into the top corner could not be kept out by Lukasz Skorupski, even though he got his fingertips to it.
Orsolini and Federico Santander headers skimmed the crossbar, while debutant Amrabat tested the goalkeeper with a solo strike.
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Sent off: Dawidowicz 13 (V)