Bologna fought back from an Andrea Petagna penalty to win the Emilia-Romagna derby with a flurry of second half goals, including new buy Musa Barrow.
This was an Emilia-Romagna derby with two teams not doing as well as they’d hoped midway through the season. SPAL clambered off the bottom spot with a surprise victory at Atalanta and continued to miss only long-term absentees Mohamed Fares and Marco D’Alessandro. Bologna were forced into changes with Mattia Bani and Nicola Sansone suspended, plus Gary Medel, Mitchell Dijks, Stefano Denswil and Ladislav Krejci injured.
Federico Santander almost scored after 90 seconds, only grazing his header wide on a Riccardo Orsolini free kick.
At the other end, Simone Missiroli surged forward to see his scorcher deflected just past the far top corner from distance.
VAR was used when Nehuen Paz naively hauled back Federico Di Francesco in the box before a cross was put in, so SPAL received a penalty. Andrea Petagna has not had the best record from the spot, and it was not a great effort this time after, but still managed to send Lukasz Skorupski the wrong way.
The lead lasted under 60 seconds, as immediately Bologna went forward, Roberto Soriano’s angled drive was accidentally toe-poked under Etrit Berisha by Francesco Vicari for an own goal.
Moments after that, Bologna were awarded a penalty, only for VAR to intervene again to change the referee’s decision. Although Berisha did crash into Federico Santander when he pounced on a poor back-pass, the Bologna striker had already taken the shot and Berisha got his foot to it. This means he made the save and the ball was out of play by the time they did connect.
Petagna and Mattia Valoti were both booked for fouls in midfield and will be suspended when SPAL visit Lazio.
Arkadiusz Reca thought he’d scored his first Serie A goal when springing the offside trap and beating the on-rushing Berisha, but Takeshi Tomiyasu got back for a sensational goal-line clearance.
Thiago Cionek was at risk of a second yellow, so made way for Kevin Bonifazi, just hours after completing his transfer from Torino.
Bonifazi immediately threatened to gift Bologna a goal with his error, but Berisha stood his ground to fingertip the ball off Soriano’s feet, then the Orsolini follow-up from a tight angle was cleared. On the resulting corner, Paz saw his header skim the far post.
Musa Barrow came off the bench and promptly scored to give Bologna the lead within 60 seconds. It was cleared only as far as the ex-Atalanta striker, who from 12 yards took a tough and hammered it into the far top corner.
Moments later, Bologna extended their lead to 3-1. It was a well-worked team move down the right, Soriano rolled across the six-yard box for Andrea Poli to come sliding in.
Skorupski palmed away a curling Di Francesco free kick, while Strefezza’s screamer swerved just wide of the upright. Berisha kept the scoreline down with a double save on Mattias Svanberg’s long-range strike and the Skov Olsen follow-up.
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