Serie A Week 26 - 8 Mar 2020 (11.30 UK)
Parma 0 - 1 Spal
Petagna pen 70 (S)
Stadio Ennio Tardini

Parma and SPAL saw their game postponed by 75 minutes, almost called off entirely, then Andrea Petagna’s penalty proved decisive at the empty Stadio Tardini.

The Ducali still had a lengthy injury list to deal with, missing Juraj Kucka, Roberto Inglese, Matteo Scozzarella, Luigi Sepe, Hernani, Vincent Laurini and Antonino Barillà, but Dejan Kulusevski and Andreas Cornelius were given time to recover by the postponement of this fixture. Bottom of the table SPAL were without suspended Gabriel Strefezza, plus Federico Di Francesco and Bryan Dabo. However, Mohamed Fares got his first start since an ACL rupture in early August.

This fixture was originally meant to be last week, but postponed due to the Coronavirus outbreak, which then prompted all games to be played behind closed doors. Incredibly, with the players in the tunnel and others already sitting on the bench, they were recalled while the Minister for Sport, FIGC and Lega Serie A decided whether or not to suspend the entire tournament. It eventually kicked off with a 75-minute delay.

It was an aggressive start from the hosts, with Riccardo Gagliolo’s chest and volley flashing just wide and Matteo Darmian testing Etrit Berisha from the by-line.

SPAL had their chance too on the counter, Gagliolo making a decisive block on Andrea Petagna from close range.

Arkadiusz Reca limped off after just 34 minutes with an ankle injury, making way for Dias Felipe, who was booked within four minutes for a foul on Dejan Kulusevski.

Gervinho had two shots charged down in the same move from 12 yards, while Mattia Valoti’s low strike fizzed on to the side-netting.

Straight after the restart, Kulusevski’s scorcher flashed just wide and an acrobatic Valoti volley was straight at the goalkeeper.

Valoti appeared to be brought down by a clumsy Simone Iacoponi challenge in the box, which would’ve been a penalty, but there was also an offside position.

Gervinho managed to get his toe to a loose Simone Missiroli ball and it clipped the crossbar from close range.

SPAL were awarded a penalty using VAR, as Bruno Alves was judged to have fouled Valoti, kicking him from the side when trying to clear and perhaps not spotting his opponent until it was too late. Andrea Petagna coolly converted to put the visitors in front.

Petagna should’ve had a second, but his angled drive only found the side-netting, while Gervinho again wasted by aiming a free header straight at Berisha.

It's a potentially massive result for SPAL, a boost in their bid to avoid relegation.

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Parma: Colombi; Darmian (Siligardi 88), Iacoponi, Bruno Alves, Gagliolo; Grassi, Brugman (Caprari 73), Kurtic; Kulusevski (Karamoh 82), Cornelius, Gervinho
Spal: Berisha; Cionek, Vicari, Bonifazi, Reca (Felipe 34); Missiroli, Valdifiori, Murgia (Tunjov 90); Valoti, Petagna, Fares (Sala 62)
Ref: Pairetto