Cagliari 0-0 Catania: Isolani rue missed opportunities in scoreless draw
Catania travelled to Sardinia to take on Cagliari in hopes of continuing their momentum in Serie A after a resounding 4-0 thrashing of Lazio one week ago. The Isolani had been in excellent form under new boss Ivo Pulga, but were heavily pegged back by Fiorentina in last round, and thus looked to return to winning ways against their rivals from Sicily. Ultimately, neither side was able to grab the advantage as both were forced to settle for a point in a 0-0 draw.
Chances were at a premium early on as the two sides probed for weaknesses in a combative midfield struggle. The first chance of the match fell to Giovanni Marchese, as the 24 year-old was played into space in the left side of the penalty area, but he sliced the penultimate effort wide of the mark.
On 21 minutes, Nene headed on a Francesco Pisano cross to find Marco Sau in a dangerous shooting position, but the Italian scuffed his volleyed attempt into the thankful arms of Mariano Andujar. Soon after, Sau came free once again 16 yards from goal, but fired a tame, central effort at the keeper.
At the other end, a Catania counter attack ended with Michael Agazzi falling onto Pablo Barrientos’ cross as the match began to witness an uptick in attacking intent.
In the 29th minute, Cagliari won a free-kick from which to put in a cross, but captain Daniele Conti disappointingly delivered the set-piece only to Andujar. Less than 60 seconds later, Andrea Cossu burst down the left flank after thieving the ball in midfield and put in a lovely cross from the byline, but Sau could not get a touch from 4 yards out.
Several incidents saw the home fans roar in protest as Nicolas Spolli got away with a crunching tackle on Nene followed by a rather blatant handball, but the referee seemed content to allow play to flow considering only 6 total shots had been registered by the 43rd minute.
Daniele Dessena took a drive from distance, but failed to hit the target. Soon after, Sau came charging in on goal after beating Spolli with some fantastic skill and rounded Andujar to go for goal, but the Argentine international keeper made an incredible recovery, diving off of the ground to knock away the shot with one hand. From the resulting corner, Conti touched on for a Sau header at the far post, but Andujar was heroic once again in beating the effort away on the stroke of halftime.
After the halftime restart, Sau missed another golden opportunity, as a deflected shot fell into his path only yards from goal, but he agonizingly mistimed the volley and the chance went begging. Moments later, Davide Astori headed just wide from a corner.
Scoring chances were hard to come by as each side struggled offensively, as a wayward Izco drives from distance and a pair of off-target Astori headers were the only shots taking after the opening moments of the second half. Both Calgiari and Catania came into the match having scored well more than half of their goals in the second half, but still the deadlock persisted.
On 83 minutes, Sau almost caught up with a backpass from Nicola Legrottaglie after anticipating the former Juventus defender, but Andujar was off his line quickly to hoof the ball clear.
Soon after, Danilo Avelar blazed in a shot from long range, but failed to get solid purchase on the ball and skewed the effort wide of the upright.
Neither side was able to grab a goal late on, as the final whistle sounded with the scores still level at 0-0.