Bari vs Cagliari 0-1: Ranieri Returns to Serie A with Unbelievable Late Goal

A spectacular 95th-minute goal allowed Claudio Ranieri and Cagliari to return to the Serie A in a 1-0 victory over Bari.

Needing only a draw to win promotion, Bari ran out a 4-4-2. Star forward Walid Cheddira headed the formation, and his chief support came from striking partner Sebastiano Esposito, an Inter loanee who had managed four goals and two assists in just 603 minutes for the club.

Ranieri’s side countered with its own 4-4-2, matching the hosts like-for-like. Cagliari’s top scorer and Serie A veteran Gianluca Lapadula led from the front, and Alessandro Deiola, another former top-flight man, captained the side in the central midfield.

The First Half

Just eight minutes into the match, Cagliari managed the first big chance. On the rebound of a free kick, Deiola drove the ball between the goalkeeper’s legs and across the face of the goal, but no one was there to convert the tap-in.

During the early stages of the opening half, Cagliari dominated possession of the ball. It was a notable distinction from the previous leg, when Bari dominated time on the ball and frequently advanced into their opponents’ defensive third.

Later, Zito Luvumbo managed the next chance for Cagliari. The forward created space with a well-controlled touch and put a powerful shot on target. The attempt forced Caprile into a diving save, but the goalkeeper managed to keep the visitors out.

As the first half drew to a close, Luvumbo again created a chance with a wonderful cross to midfielder Alessandro Di Pardo. The winger headed the ball toward the side netting, but Caprile made another huge save, keeping it out of the net with his fingertips. By the time the half came to an end, Cagliari was dominating the match and had outshot Bari 11 to 3.

The Second Half

After halftime, Bari manager Michele Mignani removed Antonio Mazzotta, replacing him with the speedier Giacomo Ricci. Just two minutes into the half, the substitute managed the best chance of the match, a one-on-one foray against Boris Radunovic. However, the defender had a poor angle to shoot, and he was unable to slot the ball in at the near post.

Some 20 minutes into the second half, the level of play had seemingly equalized. Mignani continued to make tactical changes, removing the young star Esposito in favor of the more experienced and highly physical Damir Ceter. At forward, the new introduction was better suited to handling Cagliari’s aggressive backline.

Meanwhile, Ranieri also made significant tactical changes. The legendary Italian manager took off both of his wingers, replacing them with a midfielder and a third forward. After switching to the impromptu 3-4-3, the Rossoblu managed to improve its attacking fortunes, but the outstanding Caprile still kept his opponents out.

With six minutes of added time, Cagliari threw everything it had at Bari. Just when it seemed the match was out of reach, Gabriele Zappa sent in a wicked cross, and Leonardo Pavoletti lost his man and volleyed the ball home. After just one season in Serie B, Cagliari is back.