Joao Pedro Reluctant to Concede Defeat in Relegation Race

Cagliari are on the verge of being relegated from Serie A for the first time since 2014/15 after Inter conquered Sardegna Arena on Sunday night. The title-battling Nerazzurri cruised to a 3-1 win at Sardinia as Lautaro Martinez bagged another brace to put the Islanders in an awkward spot ahead of the final weekend. 

With Inter’s hopes of defending the Serie A title on the line, Simone Inzaghi’s men went all out at Cagliari and ultimately took home all three points. Matteo Darmian’s first-half opener, coupled with Martinez’s second-half double, rendered Charalampos Lykogiannis’ long-range stunner meaningless, leaving Alessandro Agostini’s side in an almost impossible situation going into Matchday 38. 

Inter’s routine victory at Sardegna Arena has taken the Islanders’ winless league streak to four matches (D1, L3), allowing 17th-placed Salernitana to move two points clear ahead of the final week of the campaign. Escaping relegation is no longer in Cagliari’s hands as they have to win at already-relegated Venezia and hope Salernitana slip up at home to Udinese to beat the drop.

Cagliari fought tooth and nail to avoid relegation last season. Although they had eventually pulled that off in 2020/21, this year’s situation is not even remotly alike. Agostini’s team need nothing short of miraculous to extend their five-year Serie A stay, based on Salernitana’s recent performances.

And while the Granata are unbeaten in their last seven league matches (W4, D3) and will face an out-of-sorts Udinese in the final round, Cagliari are having a rotten patch and will meet a Venezia side that have nothing to lose anymore. Well aware of his club’s current situation, long-serving captain Joao Pedro sent a message to Cagliari’s devastated fans. 

I thank these people. In the eight years that I am at Cagliari, I find it difficult to remember a stadium as packed as in these weeks. They gave everything to us. Unfortunately, we have not been able to give them the joy they deserve. I’m so sorry,” he said in the post-Inter conference, as relayed by TUTTOmercatoWEB.

However, Pedro is unwilling to give up on his side’s hopes of assuring top-flight survival and insists Cagliari will fight until the end.

We must believe in miracles. Now it’s even more complicated but we won’t give up, anything can happen in football.