Tale of Two Halves Between Verona and Cagliari Ends in Draw

Verona and Cagliari shared the spoils in Serie A Round 10’s lunch match, probably the right result in a game that had an intense pace and multiple chances despite the incessant downpour. The Gialloblu had the upper hand in the first half, but the Sardinians reacted appropriately after the break.

Both sides were navigating through absences, the guests more than the home one. Ivan Juric immediately re-introduced Darko Lazovic on the left flank after his COVID-related absence and opted to use Federico Dimarco as center-back as Matteo Lovato and Giangiacomo Magnani were coming off thigh injuries and Koray Gunter is out.

Miguel Veloso, who appeared in the past game, made his return to the XI after a while, replacing Ivan Ilic, while Samuel Di Carmine filled in  for the injured Nikola Kalinic up front. The rest of the XI was the standard one, with Mattia Zaccagni and Antonin Barak supporting the striker, Marco Davide Faraoni on the right flank and Federico Ceccherini and Pawel Dawidowicz rounding out the back-line.

Eusebio Di Francesco was down several attackers because of COVID, plus Fabio Pisacane and Ragnar Klavan were out with gastroenteritis and muscle fatigue respectively. Therefore, he elected to advance Gabriele Zappa and insert Paolo Faragò as fullback, paired Sebastian Walukiewicz with Andrea Carboni in the back and picked Alessandro Tripaldelli over Charalampos Lykogiannis, who was just returning from a calf problem.

Joao Pedro passed a late fitness test for a sore knee and joined Riccardo Sottili and Leonardo Pavoletti in front-line, as Giovanni Simeone and Adam Ounas were absent. Marko Rog and Razvan Marin formed the usual duo of pivots.

The Rossoblù quickly proved that they came to play despite the depleted formation, but it was Hellas that struck first. Samuel Di Carmine had a goal waived off in the early going as he had managed to nudge it him after both him and Pawel Dawidowicz hit the woodwork on a corner kick, but it was quickly ruled an offside by a VAR review.

After a good start, the Scaligeri got the lead in the 21st minute thanks to a quick counter-attack down the right flank as Antonin Barak sprung Davide Faraoni loose behind the defense and the wing-back perfectly set up Mattia Zaccagni in the middle of the box with a low-driven cross that the teammate just needed to nudge home with a slide.

Cagliari quickly responded with a threatening overhead kick by Pavoletti that was blocked by a defender, then Marin started to take aim, challenging Marco Silvestri with a daisy-cutter in the 30th minute, which was easily cradled, and then sending another effort from just outside the box wide.

The road team came out of the locker room with more conviction and Marin equalized three minutes into the second half with a great central blitz as he shielded himself from few defenders on a flick-on by Leonardo Pavoletti and put the ball outside of Marco Silvestri’s reach with a lefty shot in the one-on-one.

Cagliari continued to push and Pavoletti had two major chances as he put it wide from excellent position on a quality cross by Zappa and then was denied by a superb save by the goalie on a point-blank attempt in the span of five minutes.

Juric tried to wake his team up with some substitutions and ultimately managed as Eddie Salcedo and Ebrima Colley brought some juice off the bench and the Mastini had the more interesting scoring opportunities down the stretch. In the 77th minute, Alessio Cragno whiffed on a delivery from the left wing, but Colley could not punch it with a header. Three minutes late Andrea Favilli skied it from ten meters out after dancing through defenders.

The Scaligeri came close again in the final ten minutes, but could not find the game-winner. With five minutes to go, Dimarco teed up his attackers with a sharp lefty cross, but neither Favilli nor Salcedo could latch onto the ball for a successful deflection. Ceccherini had the final chance attacking the far post on a corner kick, but he too could not find the target and that was all she wrote.

Cagliari came away with a positive result given their difficult situation and the solidity of the opponents, while Verona likely left something on the table considering the late chances.




December 6, 2020 – Serie A 2020-21 Round 10

SCORERS: 21′ Zaccagni (V), 48′ Marin (C)

VERONA (3-4-2-1): Silvestri; Ceccherini, Dawidowicz, Dimarco; Faraoni, Tameze (54′ Salcedo), Ilic, Lazovic (54′ Lovato); Barak, Zaccagni (67′ Colley); Di Carmine (67′ Favilli) (Pandur, Berardi, Amione, Magnani, Ruegg, Danzi, Ilic, Bertini) Coach: Juric
CAGLIARI (4-2-3-1): Cragno; Faragò, Walukiewicz, Carboni, Tripaldelli (83′ Lykogiannis); Rog (83′ Oliva), Marin; Zappa, Pedro, Sottil (91′ Tramoni); Pavoletti (76′ Cerri) (Aresti, Vicario, Pinna, Ceppitelli, Caligara, Contini) Coach: Di Francesco
REFEREE: Mr. Manganiello from Pinerolo
NOTES: Yellow Cards: Ceccherini, Salcedo (V); Extra Time: First Half 0′, Second Half 3′