Conti 8, Matri 23, 47, Acquafresca 38, Lazzari 88
De Rossi 18
Cagliari produced a superb performance on Saturday night against Roma, defeating the Giallorossi 5-1, a team many have tipped to challenge for the Scudetto this year. An even contest at 1-1 turned into a stroll in the park for the Rossoblu after Nicolas Burdisso’s ridiculous challenge not only gifted the hosts a penalty, but also put his side down to ten men. The penalty was dispatched by Alessandro Matri and gli Isolani never looked back, delighting their home fans.
Claudio Ranieri looked on in horror as his side was completely outclassed and embarrassed, on a night that clearly highlighted the problems that lie ahead for his side. At first glance all the pieces seem to be in place for a title challenge but a closer look reveals a hideously out of shape Adriano, an aging Francesco Totti and a group of highly talented individuals yet to gel as a unit. Results may take time, especially after the opening day stalemate against Cesena. However Ranieri will hope this is the wake-up call his side needs before it is too late.
Cagliari started wonderfully when Daniele Conti’s superb strike from 20 yards found the top corner. I Lupi failed to clear a corner adequately and the ball dropped to Conti who shifted the ball on to his right before driving home an unstoppable half volley leaving Júlio Sergio utterly helpless.
Despite this start, Roma were handed a way back into the match when Daniele De Rossi was left totally unmarked at a corner and proceeded to head his side level. Soon after Roma failed to clear their lines again, and as the ball dropped to Conti no more than 8 yards out, Burdisso recklessly dived in. With both feet off the ground and studs showing, nowhere near the ball, the referee had little option but to dismiss the Argentine.
Matri swept in the resulting penalty, and after only 20 minutes, Cagliari sensed a chance to finish off the vulnerable Giallorossi. The third came soon after, the returning Robert Acquafresca turned in a cross with a fine header to effectively end the contest.
A few minutes into the 2nd half, a fourth was added, again it was dreadful marking which led to the goal. Andrea Cossu put over an inswinging cross from the left and Matri, just six yards out, found half a yard of space far too easily and flicked the ball into the far corner. Even with ten men, Roma’s marking will be of concern to Ranieri.
At the Stadio Sant’Elia, the home fans were delirious as the Rossoblu turned on the style. The game from then on was no more than a training ground exercise and there were still more than 40 minutes left. Roma were chasing shadows all night and eventually the final gloss was added to a wonderful performance. Roma committed too many forward for a corner, and a lightning fast break from Gli Isolani picked off the weary Giallorossi defenders. Lazzari played a delightful one-two, sending the ball out to the left before darting to the back post and finishing into an empty net.
Roma will have to regroup but Cagliari are in dreamland. A strong bench means Coach Pierluigi Bisoli has the tools to change the game when necessary and we will watch with excitement as the Matri-Acquafresca partnership looks to blossom, the signs are good.