There was not any large victory in the last round: while Napoli would have been a more than qualified candidate for the shout-out thanks to their two-nothing win over Sampdoria on the road, but Cagliari get it this time for their colossal result against Fiorentina. Prior to the trip to Artemio Franchi, the Sardinian had won just once in their last eight fixtures and therefore freefell in the standings. They looked doomed as they dropped to third-to-last and had a tough schedule down the stretch. However, as it often happens, desperate teams manage to pull out surprise wins in uphill matches.
Diego Lopez confirmed last week’s tactical switch to 4-3-1-2, with Artur Ionita in the hole, Alessandro Deiola completing the midfield and Fabio Pisacane and Marco Andreolli in the back in place of the injured Leandro Castan and the banged-up Filippo Romagna. Diego Farias was chosen as Leonardo Pavoletti’s partner.
The game, as one would imagine, was not that eventful and a single goal was enough to solve it: Pavoletti again came through for the Rossoblù and scored his 11th in the season, the ninth header, off a sharp lefty cross by Charalampos Lykogiannis from the right flank. Fiorentina had just a pair of chances on the nil-nil, with some wide shots, but Cagliari did a much better job defensively compared to their previous outings, where their defence had often let them down.
Joao Pedro returned after two-month suspension for doping-related charges: the trial is ongoing, he was available because the precautionary measurement expired. The FIGC prosecutor asked for a four-year ban and the process will likely be sorted out in the summer.
The three points allowed Cagliari to leapfrog both Crotone and Spal: they will host Atalanta in the final game and the Orobici are still battling for positioning with Milan. Crotone will face Napoli on the road, Spal will take on Sampdoria at home. The Sardinians have an edge on both in the head-to-head games.
A decent haul in the fantasy game: Andrea Cragno garnered seven points for the rare clean sheet, Marco Andreolli and Fabio Pisacane five, Luca Ceppitelli, who came in late, four because he was booked. Lykogiannis got seven thanks to the assist, Pavoletti three for the score (and a yellow card). All the midfielders but Nicolò Barella racked up two.
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