AAP Soccer

Cagliari salvage draw at Sassuolo

By AAP Newswire

Cagliari rallied from two down to draw 2-2 at Sassuolo on Sunday and hold on to fourth place in Italy's Serie A.

A 90th-minute drive from substitute Daniele Ragatzu helped the Sardinians snatch a point after home captain Domenico Berardi slammed a penalty against the bar.

Berardi opened the scoring with a shot deflected by a defender and saw his team-mate Filip Djuricic volley in the second, with Cagliari striker Joao Pedro pulling one back on 51 minutes before Berardi's mistake.

Surprise package Cagliari, with 29 points from 15 games, are ahead of Roma on goal difference, while Sassuolo are now on 15 points with a game in hand against struggling Brescia.

In Turin, Simone Zaza and Cristian Ansaldi sealed Torino's 2-1 defeat of Fiorentina (16), who with Bologna have a five-point buffer to the drop zone, while Torino are ninth on 20.

AC Milan trail Il Toro on goal difference after winning 3-2 away to the Bolognese side.

Promoted Brescia are second-last after leapfrogging SPAL through a 1-0 win from a Mario Balotelli tap-in. The Ferrara hosts failed to equalise when Andrea Petagna had a penalty saved.

"Scoring is always emotional, but I handle it with calm," said Balotelli after tallying his 50th Serie A goal to end the underdogs' run of six straight defeats as they welcomed back coach Eugenio Corini after a three-game stint under Fabio Grosso.

"We have suffered a lot. It was about time," Balotelli added. "We always tried to win, also in tougher games than this, but we had no luck."

The striker, who with 14 goals is La Nazionale's best active scorer, has not appeared for Italy since September 2018, missing the entire successful qualification campaign for Euro 2020.

"Everyone wants to play Euro 2020," he said. "For me it is important to save Brescia, this is what I'm focused on."

Newcomers Lecce (15) also bounced back from a double deficit in a 2-2 home draw against nine-man strugglers Genoa, who are third-last in the three-team drop zone.

A long-range lob from Goran Pandev, who was then dismissed, and Domenico Criscito's penalty put the Genoese ahead in the first half, but Filippo Falco and Andrea Tabanelli came on to level after the break.

Kevin Agudelo was dismissed before Lecce levelled and Pandev also received a second booking with 13 minutes left.

Sampdoria are fourth-last, one point above city rivals Genoa, after losing 1-0 against visiting Parma as veteran home captain Fabio Quagliarella failed to level from the spot.

Serie A champions Juventus lost 3-1 at third-place Lazio on Saturday and sit second, two points behind Inter Milan (38), who opened the match day on Friday with a 0-0 home draw against Roma.

Also on Saturday, Atalanta beat Verona 3-2 and are fifth, one point behind Roma, while struggling giants Napoli drew 1-1 at Udinese and sit seventh, ahead of Parma on goal difference.