A Joao Pedro brace rescued a hard-fought 2-2 draw for hosts Cagliari against Spezia in Serie A on Sunday evening, as fans witnessed yet another highly entertaining game in the opening round of Italy’s top flight.
Thiago Motta’s first game in charge of the Ligurian outfit looked to be going exactly to plan until Europe’s top scoring Brazilian for the last two seasons hit a landmark for Casteddu, bagging his 74th and 75th goals for the club in reply to strikes from Emmanuel Gyasi and Simone Bastoni.
Spezia opened their account for the season after just seven minutes with Gyasi finding the bottom, left corner from 25 yards after playing a one-two with Daniele Verde. The Ghanaian striker’s shot left Alessio Cragno with no chance in the Cagliari goal.
Sebastian Walukiewicz had the chance to level just before the scheduled 25th-minute cooling break, but somehow managed to sky his effort over the stand from two yards out.
Alessandro Deiola then saw his shot hooked away from the goal line by Petko Hristov, following a Razvan Marin corner, as Casteddu rallied for a way through in the intense summer sun.
Leonardo Pavoletti was presented with a huge opportunity to equalise immediately after the restart but scuffed wide after some great work down the right flank by Nahitan Nandez.
Motta’s team doubled their lead on the 58th minute against the run of play thanks to Bastoni’s nice finish following some smart play between Verde, Gyasi and Kelvin Amian.
Cagliari talisman Joao Pedro got a well-deserved goal back for Leonardo Semplici’s men on the 62nd minute, his firmly struck shot from outside the area finding the bottom corner.
The Casteddu idol got his second – a landmark 75th Cagliari goal – from the spot just three minutes later after Jeroen Zoet had upended Pavoletti clumsily, much to the delight of those in attendance at the newly named Unipol Domus.
Spezia had the ball in the net for a third time on the 77th minute, however, any joy was short lived as the offside flag cut the celebrations short, and the game drew to an end.