(Reuters) - Second-half goals from Joao Pedro and Nahitan Nandez gave Cagliari a 2-0 win over 10-man Sampdoria who had a player sent off before halftime in Serie A on Saturday.
The game swung Cagliari's way in the 38th minute when Nandez intercepted a poor back pass and appeared to have a clear run on goal.
He was brought down by Tommaso Augello, who was initially given a yellow card which was changed to a red after a VAR review.
Cagliari went ahead three minutes after halftime when Joao Pedro ran into Lorenzo Tonelli and the referee awarded a penalty which the Brazilian converted himself for his fifth goal of the season.
Jakub Jankto fired wide for Sampdoria before Giovanni Simeone sent Nandez clear to score Cagliari's second in the 69th minute.
The Sardinians thought they had added a third when Riccardo Sottil had the ball in the net but it was disallowed for offside following a long VAR review. The result left both sides with 10 points from seven games.
"I am not convinced by the penalty," said Sampdoria coach Claudio Ranieri. "I can accept the red card, as he was the last man so I expected the referee to change that from a yellow to red. It’s certainly Augello’s fault."
Elsewhere, two goals from M'Bala Nzola helped Spezia to a 3-0 win at Benevento in a battle between two of the clubs promoted from Serie B.
"I've dreamed of scoring a goal in Serie A and today I scored twice," said the delighted Frenchman who helped Spezia win promotion last season.
Tommaso Pobega volleyed Spezia in front after 29 minutes before Nzola scored from Emmanuel Gyasi's cross in the 65th minute and headed the third from a corner five minutes later.
Parma and Fiorentina continued their indifferent starts to the season with a 0-0 draw which left both sides stuck in the bottom half of the table.
(Writing by Brian Homewood; Editing by Christian Radnedge and Pritha Sarkar)