Serie A - Chievo victorious at Novara
Chievo moved into the top half of the Serie A table with a 2-1 victory over bottom side Novara at the Stadio Silvio Piola.
Sergio Pellissier fired the away side in front in the first half with his 100th goal for the Mussi Volanti, before countryman Cyril Thereau appeared to wrap up the contest twelve minutes from time at the end of a stylish team move.
Within a minute of going two behind, the Biancoazzuri finally breached the Chievo defence through Giuseppe Mascara’s close range strike, but despite a tense finale the visitors were able to hold on for a rare away win.
The defeat for Novara, their fifth in a row and a first for new manager Emiliano Mondonico following the sacking of Attillio Tesser on Monday, leaves the Serie A new boys four points adrift at the foot of the table and seven from safety.
The fixture was only given the all-clear to go ahead a couple of hours prior to kick-off following blisteringly cold weather, but things heated up after a slow start with home goalkeeper Samir Ujkani forced into a great double stop in the 10th minute from Pellissier and then Siqeuira Luciano.
Ujkani’s opposite number Stefano Sorrentino was called into action six minutes later when Ivan Radovanvic’s low driven free-kick made it past the wall at the second attempt and was heading for the bottom corner but for the keeper’s timely intervention.
Gennaro Sardo’s header from a Michael Bradley corner shortly before the half hour was stopped by his own team-mate Alberto Paloschi, who was in the wrong place at the wrong time, but the visitors would finally get the ball over the Novara line soon after.
A wonderful cross by Luciano from the left flank left the Novara defenders crowding the penalty area static, unlike the Chievo skipper who reacted well to bring the centre down before poking the opening goal beyond Ujkani from close range.
The hosts almost equalised inside two minutes of the restart when Marco Rigoni’s dangerous driven cross missed the outstretched toes of Mascara by a matter of mere inches, while Andrea Caracciolo inexplicably headed a rebound wide after Sorrentino was forced to parry another dangerous Rigoni ball from the left on the stroke of half-time.
Novara began the second half brightly, knowing the importance of picking up as many points as possible if they’re to avoid an immediate drop back to Serie B, and close calls within the first ten minutes came from the unlikely sources of defenders Giuseppe Gemiti and Massimo Paci.
But the amount of chances coming the strugglers’ way gradually waned, and when substitute Paolo Sammarco selflessly squared for Thereau to double the advantage in the 78th minute, capping an impressive move into the Novara danger zone, it looked as if the game was over.
However, Chievo immediately ceded that advantage as the home side sparked into life, attacking straight from the restart and finding a lifeline when Mascara tucked away one of Rigoni’s now-trademark balls from the left flank.
Despite ensuring a tight finale, the bottom side were unable to find any further serious opportunities for a dramatic equaliser, and Chievo held on to leapfrog Cagliari and Fiorentina in the Serie A standings.