Cagliari drew a line under 11 years in Serie A by beating Udinese 4-3 in their last game before submitting to relegation.Cagliari coach GianlucaFesta has warned Udinese his side are determined to sign off with a win at the Sant’Elia stadium on Sunday (31/5).
The Sardinians’ return to the second tier was confirmed weeks ago despite a mini revival under new head coach GianlucaFesta, who on Sunday oversaw his fourth win since replacing ZdenekZeman. Since Cagliari’s relegation was sealed earlier this month, the club has been preparing for life in Serie B while Udinese, are safe after securing top-flight football last month.
Festa replaced ZdenekZeman earlier this year but was unable to save Cagliari as their 11-year run in Serie A came to a painful end two weeks ago.Cagliari, who will end the campaign in 18th place, have won seven matches this year, including last weekend’s 1-0 triumph at Cesena, and lost 20 of their 37 games.Cagliari finished the season third from bottom to join Cesena and Parma in Italy`s second division, with Udinese seven points higher just beyond the drop zone.
“We want to go out with a win after a difficult season which has ended in relegation,”Festa said to the Italian press. “It would be nice to finish with a home victory and we will give our all for that to happen.”
The home side were in front by two goals after twenty minutes first with Marco Sau and then with a free kick hit sweetly by Joao Pedro. Udinese gave themselves a lifeline on the stroke of half time. Rolando Aguirre fired in from close range after chest controlling the ball from a Bruno Fernandes pass.
The start of the second half offered little in terms of goalmouth action as both sides struggled to break each other down.Cagliari stretched their lead thanks to Paul-Jose M`Poku`s 79th minute strike, but the Sardinians were forced to endure a tense finish when Bruno Fernandes found the target only two minutes later.
Udinese, who are two places and 10 points above Cagliari, will be looking for one final victory to make up for their dismal run of form. Udinese coach Andrea Stramaccioni will be hoping Sunday’s match will not be captain Antonio Di Natale’s last for the club. “I hope Di Natale remains,” Stramaccioni said. “He is a very important player for us and I believe he can still play at the highest level.”
Udinese will not have midfielders Guilherme and PanagiotisKone available with both players serving a one-match ban this weekend.Moreover, Udinese goalkeeper Orestis Karnezis is doubtful with a knee injury and Simone Scuffet could take his place in goal.