It was a bad day for Fiorentina, as Mauricio Pinilla earned Cagliari a late point, David Pizarro saw red, while Juan Cuadrado and Mario Gomez were injured.
The Viola needed a victory to maintain their 100 per cent record. Manuel Pasqual was able to start despite needing 50 stitches to a head wound while playing for Italy on Tuesday, but Massimo Ambrosini stepped in for David Pizarro due to back pain. Cagliari had Andrea Cossu back from injury in the trequartista role.
The Sardinians had not conquered the Stadio Franchi since 1972, followed by four draws and 22 defeats.
As always, Fiorentina saw plenty of the ball early doors and Alberto Aquilani scuffed a shot wide when set up by Giuseppe Rossi’s back heel flick.
Juan Cuadrado was down for several minutes after falling awkwardly on to his shoulder and eventually had to make way for Joaquin. Rossi sparked a move, but both Borja Valero and Mario Gomez saw their shots charged down in quick succession inside the penalty area. Pepito Rossi also blasted over from a poorly-cleared corner and Luca Rossettini’s crucial block stopped him after dribbling past two players.
Pasqual went for goal from a Borja Valero back heel, but he should’ve rolled it in for the splendid run of Gomez. Gabriele Perico’s shot was deflected over and Cagliari incredibly failed to score from that corner. Daniele Conti flicked it on for Davide Astori’s free header, but he nodded over from six yards. The Italy defender took out his frustration by kicking the upright.
At the dawn of the second half Gomez was sent clear by a through ball, but Michael Agazzi did just enough to send him wide and the finish was over. They both collided in the aftermath and the former Bayern Munich striker came off worse, twisting his right knee, and had to make way for Oleksander Iakovenko.
Marco Sau’s first touch let him down when clear on goal in a two-against-one counter-attack. Fiorentina seemed shaken after losing two of their top players to injury and the Sardinians fired up, but Ibarbo’s cross-shot was neither one nor the other.
Agazzi had to scramble across to fingertip a scuffed Rossi free kick round the base of the near post and from that corner Gonzalo Rodriguez’s header was off target.
Another Rossi snapshot was charged down, but Cagliari went so close on the hour mark when a corner was put back in for Radja Nainggolan’s volley with the outside of the foot that spun inches past the upright.
Sau again got his first touch wrong during a very dangerous Sardinian counter-attack, but Fiorentina went extremely close on 68 minutes. Pasqual’s low cross was heading for Rossi, so Rossettini dived in to intercept and deflected it on to his own crossbar.
Vincenzo Montella surprised many by replacing substitute Joaquin to make way for the not 100 per cent fit Pizarro.
It seemed to work, as the Viola broke the deadlock moments later. Aquilani crossed for a Rossi header that was deflected up into the air and Borja Valero was there to nod in from point-blank range.
Fiorentina were settling into their 1-0 lead when Cagliari snatched an equaliser in the final minute. Ibarbo swept in a cross from the right and Mauricio Pinilla’s header bounced off the ground to go in off the inside of the far post.
Rossi went down under a Nicola Murru challenge in stoppages, but the referee waved play on. Pizarro was so livid at the decision that he said something to the referee and was shown a straight red card.
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Sent off: Pizarro 92 (F)