Eugenio Corini made the ideal comeback on to the Brescia bench, as Mario Balotelli scored the winner – and Jesse Joronen saved a penalty – in this six-pointer at SPAL.
This was a very special relegation showdown, because Eugenio Corini returned to the Rondinelle bench a month after his dismissal. Replacement Fabio Grosso was axed thanks to his tally of three consecutive defeats without scoring a single goal. Including Corini’s previous tenure, Brescia had lost six on the bounce.
Mario Balotelli and Jesse Joronen were able to start despite knocks, but Daniele Dessena missed out. As for the hosts, they lost Gabriel Strefezza, Federico Di Francesco, Arkadiusz Reca, Jacopo Sala, Mohamed Fares and Marco D’Alessandro.
These two clubs had not crossed paths in Serie A since the 1960s.
Balotelli made an immediate impact, his angled drive stinging Etrit Berisha’s gloves at the near post, while Igor couldn’t keep his shot down at the other end.
SPAL had the ball in the net on 32 minutes when a free kick was knocked on by Thiago Cionek and volleyed in from close range by Jasmin Kurtic, but he was offside.
Brescia came out fighting for the second half and really should’ve taken the lead when Berisha pushed a Dimitri Bisoli low ball off the feet of Balotelli and Emanuele Ndoj somehow blasted over from close range.
They did score moments later. Berisha did all he possibly could, getting his hand to a Romulo pull-back, then parrying at Ndoj’s feet, but could do nothing on the Balotelli tap-in at the third attempt.
SPAL kept pushing and made an inspired substitution, as Alberto Paloschi came off the bench and within three minutes had won a penalty. His first touch was excellent to control a long ball and Gian Giacomo Magnani clipped his heels. Petagna stepped up and it was not a bad spot-kick, but Jesse Joronen made a fantastic reaction save to keep Brescia in front.
Joronen was in the thick of the action again after a nasty clash of heads, but fortunately was able to continue after treatment for a cut to his chin.
SPAL had the chance to equalise at the 97th minute, as Cionek rolled across from the right for Gabriele Moncini, who incredibly turned over under pressure from close range.
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Saved penalty: Petagna 73 (S)