Cagliari are in the top half of the Serie A table following their 2-1 victory over Palermo on Saturday, and they're now just one point behind their Saturday opponents. Fabrizio Miccoli, who has been in stunning form and integral to Palermo's last two results, was unable to play for the Rosanero and was sorely missed. With him out and Abel Hernandez on the bench, they lacked pace and struggled to break down the Cagliari defense.
The first half was relatively uneventful, with Cagliari perhaps the better side but slightly cautious. They got more ambitious in the second half and eventually created a fantastic goal in the 56th minute. Victor Ibarbo drifted wide to the right flank and put in a beautiful ball across the box, which Mauricio Pinilla got to and finished at the back post to give his side the lead.
Daniele Dessena would add a second goal in the 81st mintue, following a scramble on a set piece and some poor goalkeeping by Emiliano Viviano. Cagliari's Gabriele Perico committed a handball in the box shortly afterwards, giving Palermo a way back into the game. Hernandez, who had come on as a substitute, converted the penalty but Palermo would not find a second goal. They pushed bodies forward in the final 10 minutes and got plenty of balls into the box, but never forced a big save out of Michael Agazzi. Andrea Mantovani had the best chance, but missed an absolute sitter in stoppage time after Josep Ilicic played him in with a great pass.
It was by no means a pretty game and was extremely physical, as Rossoblu midfield star Radja Nainggolan imposed himself on the match. Cagliari were able to play their style from start to finish, and Miccoli's absence was felt throughout.