Cagliari Put More Nails in Benevento Coffin as They Get Closer to Safety

Cagliari caught a win that smells like safety on Sunday afternoon as they edged Benevento in a massive relegation six-pointer. The Sardinians took a lightning-fast lead at the Ciro Vigorito Stadium, survived the home side come back, and eventually found the back of the net twice more to record their fourth win out of the last five Serie A games.

Their sensational streak since coach Leonardo Semplici took charge is getting them closer and closer to seal their permanence in the top flight as they are now four points clear of the struggling Giallorossi with three games to go. Conversely, Benevento’s chances to maintain their Serie A status are hanging by a thread.

For the desperate six-pointer at the Ciro Vigorito, Filippo Inzaghi made two changes versus his recent loss to Milan as Pasquale Schiattarella replaced Nicolas Viola in midfield while Roberto Insigne was chosen to partner with Gianluca Caprari behind lone striker Gianluca Lapadula.

Leonardo Semplici recovered Razvan Marin after he served a one-match ban and, moreover, captain Joao Pedro – who joined Leonardo Pavoletti on the front line.

Charalampos Lykogiannis set the visitors off of to an amazing start with a devastating right-foot screamer less than one minute into the game. The Greek national volley from outside of the box flew into the top left corner of Lorenzo Montipò’s goal leaving him hapless.

The match quickly got nervous as expected. The battle between Cagliari’s Leonardo Pavoletti and defender Luca Caldirola was vicious. On the other side, Pasquale Schiattarella gave no easy time to Radja Nainggolan.

The Streghe, however, slowly put themselves back on track. Gianluca Lapadula’s 7th seasonal goal drew level for Benevento as Gianluca Caprari intercepted the ball from a poor Cagliari defensive clearance and set the Italian-Peruvian striker free to go one-on-one with Alessio Cragno and beat him.

Benevento’s two Gianlucas swapped roles on 30 minutes as the goalscorer served a nice cutting cross to his namesake, whose shot from the left edge of the box was pushed back by Cragno with his feet.

Six minutes later, it was time for Cragno to shine again as the Cagliari shot-stopper brilliantly deflected above the crossbar a close-range header from Schiattarella. Before the break, Caprari tested him again with another header to no avail.

When referee Daniele Doveri blew for half time, the two sides could not be separated despite Benevento bouncing back from a shocking start and increasing pressure.

After the break, coach Semplici sent in Gabriele Zappa for Andrea Carboni, who was not having the best of time against Benevento’s striking forces.

It proved to be a good decision as on 63 minutes the young right back served Nahitan Nandez and offered the Uruguayan international a chance for an easy cross into the middle of the box. Leonardo Pavoletti’s header connected with the ball to make it two for the visitors and put them ahead again.

Cagliari’s second mostly appeared to be a random occurrence in the middle of a cagey phase of the match but was enough to switch the momentum in the Rossoblu‘s favor.

Filippo Inzaghi immediately replied with a double change featuring Nicolas Viola and Adolfo Gaich. He soon also added Riccardo Improta, Gaetano Letizia and Giuseppe Di Serio. Leonardo Semplici, on the other hand, brought Kwadwo Asamoah’s experience into the mix, replacing goal scorer Lykogiannis.

Still, experience was exactly was Asamoah seemed to lack a few minutes later as he dangerously tackled Viola in the box. Doveri initially allowed a penalty to the home side but corrected his decision via a VAR review. 

That was the last scare for Cagliari, who eventually put the ultimate nail into Benevento’s coffin as Nandez run all along to right hand flank and served his captain Joao Pedro an easy chance to tap the ball in and set the score at 1-3.



May 9, 2021 – Serie A 2020-21 Round 35

SCORERS: 1′ Lykogiannis (C), 16′ Lapadula (B), 63′ Pavoletti (C), 93′ Joao Pedro

BENEVENTO (4-2-3-1): Montipò; Depaoli (70′ Letizia), Barba, Glik, Caldirola; Schiattarella (65′ Viola), Hetemaj (70′ Improta), Ionita; R. Insigne (65′ Gaich), Caprari (75′ Di Serio); Lapadula (Manfredini, Lucatelli, Tuia, Pastina, Tello, Dabo, Sanogo) Coach: F. Inzaghi
CAGLIARI (3-4-1-2): Cragno; Ceppitelli, Godin, Carboni (46′ Zappa); Nandez, Marin (87′ Rugani), Deiola (87′ Duncan), Lykogiannis (75′ Asamoah); Nainggolan; Joao Pedro, Pavoletti (Aresti, Vicario, Calabresi, Klavan, Tripaldelli, Walukiewicz, Cerri, Simeone) Coach: Semplici

REFEREE: Mr. Doveri from Rome
NOTES: Yellow Cards: Schiattarella, Tello, Pavoletti, Deiola; Extra Time: 1st Half 3′, 2nd Half 5′