Alessandro Diamanti’s fierce strike earned a victory over Genoa and may well have saved Stefano Pioli’s Bologna job.
This was likely to be Stefano Pioli’s final match in charge of Bologna, regardless of the result, as Roberto Baggio and Gianfranco Zola were among the candidates to take over. The Rossoblu had just three draws from the last six rounds and won only one of their last 13 home games. Frederik Sorensen and Niccolo Cherubin missed out, while the visitors were without Francesco Lodi, Daniele Portanova and Juraj Kucka. Alberto Gilardino returned to face his former club.
Aware of the management situation, Bologna had a group huddle around Coach Pioli before kick-off.
Cesare Natali went extremely close to giving Bologna the lead after four minutes when his free header from an Alessandro Diamanti free kick whistled inches wide, leaving Mattia Perin rooted to the spot.
Perin was more alert when needing to flap a dangerous cross off the head of Davide Moscardelli, then did well to smother a Panagiotis Kone volley.
Manfredini crucially got in front of Kone to charge down a header from point-blank range on Diamanti’s swerving cross.
Just before the break, Perin was very alert to intercept a Kone cross towards Moscardelli after fine work by Cristaldo.
Genoa finally created a decent chance after the restart, but Manfredini’s header was over from a chipped Sime Vrsaljko cross.
However, Bologna at last took a deserved lead with a moment of magic from captain Diamanti. He gathered 20 metres from goal and smashed a low drive into the near bottom corner past Perin’s outstretched fingertips. It was his first goal from open play in 23 games.
Perin performed a fantastic save, at full stretch to fingertip the ball out from under the crossbar when Moscardelli hit his volley into the ground to bounce up.
Genoa lost Gilardino to a shoulder injury following a charge from Diego Perez. Diamanti was booked and will be suspended for Bologna’s first game of 2014, a relegation dogfight with Catania.
See the latest Serie A predictions and betting tips with Eurotips.co.uk