Lecce earned a surprise 2-1 victory away to Cagliari, as Luis Muriel was again inspirational for Serse Cosmi’s men.
Both sides had to make numerous changes in this relegation tussle. Andrea Cossu, Mauricio Pinilla, Moustafa El Kabir, Rui Sampaio and Sebastian Eriksson missed out for the Sardinians. Serse Cosmi’s Lecce had both Manuele Blasi and Christian Obodo banned, joining the injured Carlos Grossmuller and Massimo Oddo.
In the opening minutes a Davide Astori header from Thiago Ribeiro’s free kick looped across the face of goal to go wide of the far post. Andrea Dessena’s screamer was charged down by Leonardo Miglionico, while Radja Nainggolan tested goalkeeper Benassi.
David Di Michele went close to an opener for Lecce in a well-worked move, finished by the captain side-footing inches wide of the near post from nine yards.
Lecce took a surprise lead on the stroke of half-time with starlet Luis Muriel. Cagliari lost the ball in the opposite penalty area and Guillermo Giacomazzi’s long clearance sparked a counter-attack. Muriel shook off Michele Canini to place a perfect finish across the goalkeeper from the left side of the box.
Benassi flapped a Daniele Conti cross-shot away from danger. At the dawn of the second half, the referee pointed to the spot for a Miglionico handling offence in charging down the cross. It seemed quite harsh, as his arm was right next to his chest. Joaquin Larrivey took over the penalty duties for Cagliari and coolly sent Benassi the wrong way to equalise.
Cagliari almost turned the game around completely moments later, as Thiago Ribeiro’s looping free kick was fingertipped on to the far post and went back into the box, where Astori’s follow-up was cleared off the line.
At the other end, Juan Cuadrado went on the counter and set up Andrea Bertolacci for a fierce strike well saved by Michael Agazzi.
Lecce restored their advantage when Muriel and Bertolacci were allowed to control in the box and the latter hit the half-volley into the near bottom corner from nine yards.
Moments later, Larrivey had an excellent opportunity to equalise, but his header was too central and Benassi was able to palm it out from under the bar.
Di Michele should’ve put the result beyond doubt when he burst through the middle on Muriel’s pass, but incredibly fired wide, much to Serse Cosmi’s rage.
Cagliari went down to 10 men, as Canini received a second yellow card for shoulder-charging Muriel into the advertising boards.
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Sent off: Canini 84 (C)