Hellas Verona managed to hold on for a 2-1 victory in their rescheduled Round 25 Serie A clash with Cagliari despite playing with 10 men for 55 minutes.
Samuel Di Carmine scored twice for the Gialloblu but Fabio Borini saw red after a foul on Marko Rog. Giovanni Simeone found the back of the net for the Isolani just before half-time and they had a sending off of their own as Luca Cigarini was given his marching orders.
It was Walter Zenga’s debut as Cagliari coach but his team were the ones under pressure from the home side in the early minutes of the match and Darko Lazovic nearly put the Mastini in front.
Verona opened the scoring in the 14th minute when Lazovic and Sofyan Amrabat exchanged passes on the left flank before the Moroccan international provided the cross and Di Carmine headed the ball into the net.
The Gialloblu nearly doubled their lead soon after but the crossbar came to Alessio Cragno’s rescue and then the Isolani goalkeeper had to make two saves in succession.
After 26 minutes, the home side doubled their lead. Cagliari lost the ball in midfield, Valerio Verre advanced into the opposition half and shrugged off a few defenders, and then he passed to Di Carmine, who beat Cragno from 25 metres with a shot that had both power and a bend on it.
VAR had to intervene after Fabio Borini made a reckless tackle on Rog and referee Gianluca Manganiello had to send the Mastini forward off after 35 minutes.
Cagliari pulled a goal back just before the break when Luca Pellegrini knocked a long-ball down with his head into the path of Simeone, who tapped the ball in.
Capitalising on that extra man advantage became the priority for the Sardinian side in the second half but they struggled to test Verona goalkeeper Marco Silvestri early on and the Gialloblu defence gave him great protection.
Emmanuel Badu thought he had been fouled in the penalty area after a Mastini counterattack but Manganiello waved play on after the challenge was considered to be fair.
Cagliari midfielder Cigarini had been given a yellow card in the 58th minute and then he was given a second one 12 minutes later for an aggressive challenge on Amrabat.
Alan Empereur had a chance to score from a freekick on the right-wing but his bending and looping effort was easily saved by Cragno.
Although the Isolani further increased the pressure in the last 10 minutes, it was to no avail and Zenga and his men returned to Sardinia empty handed.