Livorno earned their first ever victory in Cagliari despite ending with nine men, as Emerson’s screamer proved decisive.
This was a relegation dogfight with both teams trying to recover from defeats. Livorno’s record in Sardinia in Serie A was of four draws and one loss, while they were without Luca Siligardi and Cristian Piccini. The hosts had Victor Ibarbo back on the bench after emergency surgery to remove his appendix, but Davide Astori missed out.
Alfred Duncan’s long-range strike was just over the bar, while Vlada Avramov beat away a powerful Ibrahima Mbaye header from a corner.
Cagliari were struggling early on and Del Fabro almost scored an own goal, his clearance inches past the near post when trying to stop Paulinho reaching an Mbaye cross.
Del Fabro was also fortunate Innocent Emeghara and Paulinho didn’t make more of the counter after he gave away possession in the final third.
There was bad news for Livorno, who saw captain Andrea Luci stretchered off with what appeared to be a serious knee injury. He landed awkwardly and the left knee simply buckled, so that could be his season over with.
The Amaranto dominated the first half and finally got the goal in absolutely stunning fashion. Emerson is not new to long-range strikes, but this one from all of 35 metres swerved viciously in the air to wrong-foot the goalkeeper, flying into the far top corner.
Avramov mistimed his challenge on Paulinho and the referee pointed to the spot. Paulinho took the penalty and Avramov got a hand to it at the base of the near post, but couldn’t keep it out.
Victor Ibarbo made his comeback two weeks after emergency surgery to remove his appendix. His introduction seemed to fire up the Sardinians and they got one back with a Nene’ solo effort. He gathered the ball in midfield and curled into the far top corner from the outside edge of the area.
Cagliari went down to 10 men, as captain Daniele Conti was penalised for swearing at the referee.
Ishak Belfodil should’ve put the game beyond doubt for Livorno, but horribly ballooned into the stands from a Paulinho knock-down.
The visitors ended the match with nine men, as Ceccherini received a second yellow card, then Marco Benassi got himself a straight red for going through the back of Mauricio Pinilla.
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Sent off: Conti 71 (C), Ceccherini 85 (L), Benassi 91 (L)