STADIO ENNIO TARDINI (Parma) – It was a tense afternoon at the Tardini on Sunday as Parma wasted a plethora of chances in a comeback that saw them draw 2-2 with Spezia after trailing by two goals.
Parma have struggled at home against newly-promoted sides since they returned to the top tier in 2018, winning just two of their six games against newcomers at the Tardini and Spezia ensured those woes worsened on Sunday.
Both sides had their chances early on and Emmanuel Gyasi was the biggest threat to Luigi Sepe’s goal, twice forcing Parma’s No.1 into saves low to his right. At the other end, meanwhile, Gervinho wasted a handful of opportunities approaching goal and Giuseppe Pezzella’s insistence on shooting saw other chances go to waste as well.
Spezia took the lead approaching the half-hour mark through Julian Chabot, scoring what would be the first of three goals in a six-minute flurry. A fine ball down the left from Gyasi set Mbala Nzola through and his shot was stopped by Sepe. The resulting corner found the centre-back rising highest though to head in the opener.
That lead doubled just three minutes later, helped by calamitous defending from Fabio Liverani’s side. The ball pinballed its way to Nzola in the area and the forward prodded to the edge of the box for Kevin Agudelo who was able to pick his spot and beat Sepe.
Parma got back to within one almost immediately though. Gaston Brugman delivered a good freekick from deep onto Jasmin Kurtic’s head and his header was parried by Ivan Provedel but only into the path of Riccardo Gagliolo, allowing the Sweden international to tap into an open goal from close range.
There was still time in the first half for Gervinho to frustrate the Tardini as he wasted two good chances to get a shot off. The first came as he was gifted the ball on the left, leaving him and Andreas Cornelius against just one Aquilotti defender but the Ivorian’s attempted cross was poor and straight into Provedel’s arms. Moments later, he found himself in the box but tried to beat one man too many and an attempted nutmeg in a tight area saw the attack break down.
Spezia came closest first in the second half through Nahuel Estevez as he hit the inside of the post before Pezzella cleared, then Parma came to life and had a spell of dominance around the visitors’ area. That all led to a free header for Gagliolo that he should have hit the target with, but the defender headed over from in front of goal. He then found himself on the end of a corner but headed off target again.
Cristiano Dell’Orco had a chance to restore Spezia’s two-goal cushion when he sent a shot over despite facing a near-open goal before Lucien Agoume crashed a shot off the post from the edge of the area. Another huge chance went begging when Paolo Bartolomei put a teasing ball across Sepe’s goal but, with Gyasi sliding in, he was just an inch or two short of getting a toe on it to stab it home.
Yann Karamoh came just as close to levelling in front of the Curva Nord as he stretched to touch a cross towards goal but Provedel made himself big enough to deny it.
Daniele Verde struck the post for Spezia again, taking their tally of woodwork hits to three for the afternoon as the Ligurians found themselves back on top entering the final quarter of an hour.
Provedel had to do well to deny another Karamoh chance as the Frenchman was put through one-on-one, with the ‘keeper staying up long enough to turn his effort wide. Kucka again put the No.10 through for another chance before Karamoh put a freekick over. The biggest chance fell for Kucka himself but, at full stretch, he sent his shot wide.
Just after four minutes had been added, Cornelius went down in the area under a foul from Claudio Terzi for a penalty. Kucka assumed the responsibility and made amends for his earlier miss by sending Provedel the wrong way to score.