Cagliari’s survival hopes became even slimmer after suffering yet another loss as Hellas Verona ran out 2-0 winners in Serie A on Saturday afternoon at the Sardegna Arena.
The first game back after the international break saw Antonin Barak given too much space early in the second half to curl in from outside the box before Kevin Lasagna scored a very late second, leaving Cagliari in the relegation zone, one point behind Torino who have two games in hand.
Miguel Veloso whipped a lovely freekick towards the top left-hand corner for Ivan Juric’s team but Alessio Cragno was more than equal to it in the Cagliari goal, with both sets of players starting slowly on a lovely, sunny afternoon in Sardinia.
Joao Pedro had the hosts’ first chance after 19 minutes, Radja Nianggolan robbing the ball in midfield before feeding the Brazilian, who brought a great save out of Marco Silvestri.
Leonardo Semplici’s side kept plugging away and Charalampos Lykogiannis found himself at the back post, on the end of a cross that had eluded several players from both teams, but smashed his effort horribly high and wide, so much so that it flew out of the stadium.
Verona got the eventual match-winner in the 54th minute when Barak scored a wonderful, left-footed effort past Cragno from outside the box for his seventh goal of the season after being given the freedom of Sardinia by the hosts.
Substitute Giovanni Simeone hit the post in the 65th minute, stretching to get on the end of Alfred Duncan’s fantastically threaded through-ball. Casteddu came agonisingly close to a vital equaliser that just kept on eluding them.
Joao Pedro and Razvan Marin had half-chances as Cagliari gave it their all in the final 15 minutes, just as they had done in their last league outing against Spezia, but the leveller never arrived.
Eddie Salcedo almost put the cherry on the cake for Hellas but his effort was tipped onto the post by Cragno before Lasagna managed exactly that, breaking away to put his team 2-0 up in the 98th minute after the original five minutes of stoppage time was further extended due to pauses in play.