The Emilian Derby was quite riveting in terms of action and was drama-filled until the very end, so it easily takes home the shout-out in this round despite its modest magnitude in the grand schemes of the League.
Bologna were coming off three straight losses, against Cagliari, Inter and Sassuolo and have won just once in the previous ten rounds. Parma instead dropped only one of the last four matches and gathered four points in the two most recent ones versus Fiorentina and Roma.
Both sides were undermanned due to suspension and injuries: the Felsinei could not rely on Danilo, Mattia Bani, Roberto Soriano, Mitchell Dijks, Federico Santander and Mattia Destro, while the Ducani did not have Gervinho, Hernani, Roberto Inglese, Andreas Cornelius and Yann Karamoh at their disposal. The home team used the returning Takehiro Tomiyasu as centre-back, Blerin Dzemaili over Andrea Poli in the midfield and Matthias Svanberg in the hole, while Roberto D’Aversa deployed Juraj Kucka in a very offensive position and arrayed a sort 3-4-3 with a bunch of defenders in the lineup.
The Crociati drew first blood after 17 minutes with Dejan Kulusevski finding the back of the net with an impressive first-touch lefty curled shot from just outside the box, putting it just past the outstretched arm of the goalie. They almost doubled it up moments later, but a defender thwarted a clear-cut shot by Mattia Sprocati at the end of a furious counter.
The Rossoblù finally entered the game about 20 minutes in, as a crafty shot by Riccardo Orsolini was cleared by a sliding Kastriot Dermaku before it could threaten Luigi Sepe. On the ensuing corner kick, Ibrahima Mbaye tried to punch it home from close range after a flick-on, but the goalie was there to stop him. Sepe also palmed away a long-range attempt by Dzemaili that was destined for the top corner. Bologna deservedly tied the game at the 40th minute, as Rodrigo Palacio knocked it on goal by just grazing the ball with his head on a sharp corner kick.
Parma resumed attacking in the second half and, after a menacing header by Juraj Kucka went over the bar, Kulusevski rattled the woodwork with a shot very similar to the one that hit the net at the beginning of the contest. Orsolini just missed the target with a flying attempt on the other end.
The always opportunistic Gialloblù returned on top at the 71st minute, as Kucka conducted a quick fast-break through the middle after recovering the ball and slipped it to Simone Iacoponi, who had surprisingly charged forward, and the defender made no mistake on the one-on-one with Lukas Skorupski for his first Serie A goal.
The goalkeeper intercepted another potent effort by Kulusevski at the 90th minute, keeping Bologna in the game and they did manage to equalize at the very last moment. On a corner kick, Nehuen Paz flicked it on towards Dzemaili and the midfielder rifled it under the bar with a bullet volley.
Bologna get a morale-boosting result but their position in the standing remain quite disappointing, as they are 13th with a four-point edge over the relegation zone. Parma are instead tranquil as they sit at the eighth spot and so far they have almost matched last year’s tremendous start.
As far as the fantasy game was concerned, the scorers Dzemaili, Palacio and Orsolini all collected four bonus points, Iacoponi three because he was booked, Orsolini and Kucka two for providing an assist, Paz one because he got also a yellow card.
Do you have what it takes to challenge the best Serie A Fantasy Managers? If you’re up for it play www.fantasyseriea.com now!