Bologna rarely lose to Cagliari at the Stadio Renato Dall’Ara and their unbeaten run at home against the Sardinians extended to seven games as they picked up a much-needed three points with a 2-0 win in Sunday’s lunch match.
Erick Pulgar got the game’s opening goal from the penalty spot and Roberto Soriano added a second to secure what was a thoroughly deserved win for the relegation-threatened Rossoblu, sending them to within one point of safety.
Sinisa Mihajlovic’s men started much the brighter of the two sides and Federico Santander came closest to opening the scoring first. Mitchell Dijks whipped a cross to the near post that the Paraguayan did well to reach and divert goalwards but Alessio Cragno was equal to it.
Bologna kept pressing and Rodrigo Palacio passed up two half-chances, first a tame volley after being picked out at the back post by Nicola Sansone, then wildly slicing at another ball that never went near the goal.
Cragno was forced into action again after a quarter of an hour had been played. Sansone fed Santander through and the young goalkeeper rushed off his line and excellently knicked the ball out from under the No.9’s feet, sending him tumbling. Sansone pounced on the follow-up and looked to punish Cragno while out of position but the 24-year-old did well to turn away his rebound. The Dall’Ara called for a penalty, and then a free-kick, but Massimiliano Irrati correctly said no to both.
The hosts did have a penalty after 30 minutes though as Filip Bradaric handled a cross. Erick Pulgar assumed the responsibility and made no mistake to give them the lead.
Leonardo Pavoletti is already in double figures this season and he almost added to his tally with a thunderous header that crashed off Lukasz Skorupski’s crossbar.
Palacio and Pulgar caught Cagliari sleeping at the start of the second half. A quick free-kick slipped the Argentine through on the right and he put the ball towards goal but thankfully for the Sardinians, Cragno was equal to it.
Skorupski’s goal was threatened by another Pavoletti header, though this time he went low but the Pole was agile enough to get down fast and get a strong fist behind the ball to steer it away from goal, allowing his defence to then clear the danger.
Riccardo Orsolini should have doubled the hosts’ lead midway through the second half after Blerim Dzemaili found him clear on goal but the winger’s effort from close range was tame and Cragno was able to save when he should have had no chance.
The game was put beyond doubt with a little over ten minutes to play as Roberto Soriano was played through and he made no mistake in firing past Cragno.
Bologna have a chance
They looked dead and buried under Filippo Inzaghi, but Sinisa Mihajlovic’s arrival has proved the Rossoblu with some hope of survival.
Sunday’s three points were desperately needed and they showed a sense of fight that has been missing at times this season.
Nicola Sansone and Roberto Soriano have added that bit of ability to an otherwise solid side and without Inzaghi, they seem more capable of causing problems for their opponents.
Federico Santander’s early loss could have been a disheartening blow, but with Rodrigo Palacio occupying the role of striker, their attack looked more mobile and fluid.
Sansone offers a lot
His arrival in Emilia-Romagna was something of a surprise in the winter window, but Nicola Sansone will be an important player if Bologna are to avoid the drop this season.
Starting from the left, the N0.10 is the main creative spark for the side and every time they attack they look for the forward.
If there is a criticism of him it’s that he too often comes inside and into crowded areas, but he showed enough on Sunday to suggest he will be key for their run-in.