Alessandro Diamanti’s stunning free-kick earned Bologna a vital 1-0 victory over Cagliari in a Serie A relegation battle on Thursday.
Diamanti scored the only goal of the game in the 54th minute to give Bologna their first win in five games and move the club two points above Cagliari, and six away from the relegation zone.
The game took a while to get going, with nerves clearly showing in both sets of players. There would have been plenty more goals, but for several brilliant stops by both goalkeepers.
Cagliari striker Joaquin Larrivey also hit the crossbar shortly after two good chances for Andrea Cossu and Thiago Ribeiro to equalize.
The visitors were lucky not to be reduced to 10 men in the first half following a poor challenge by Michele Canini.
Cagliari’s first sight of goal came in the 18th as Cossu put in a brilliant cross to pick out Joaquin Larrivey one-on-one with Jean-Francois Gillet, but the Argentine miscontrolled the ball.
The best chance of the first half fell to Bologna, shortly after the half hour, as Diamanti rushed onto Archimede Morleo’s cross and fired through a crowd of bodies, but Agazzi parried well and then did even better when Acquafresca followed up.
Cagliari defender Canini might have been sent off five minutes from halftime when he brought down Acquafresca from behind as the Bologna striker was running clear through on goal.
Bologna felt further aggrieved four minutes after the break when Albin Ekdal pushed over Morleo as he crossed the ball. The defense cleared, but only as far as Nico Pulzetti, who forced Agazzi into another brilliant save.
Bologna coach Stefano Pioli was sent to the stands for dissent as tempers flared in the dying stages of the match.