(Reuters) - Verona scored twice in the first half hour but had to hang on for a 2-1 win over Cagliari on Saturday as Serie A produced a VAR controversy on its first day of action since the coronavirus stoppage.
The hosts appeared to be cruising to a win thanks to a brace from Samuel Di Carmine until forward Fabio Borini was sent off in the 35th minute for a late challenge on Marko Rog following a long VAR review, infuriating the home team.
Giovanni Simeone quickly pulled one back but the visitors could not find an equaliser.
Former Italy goalkeeper Walter Zenga, who replaced Rolando Maran as Cagliari coach days before Serie A was suspended for three months in early March, finally made his debut in charge of the struggling Sardinians but could not prevent them extending their winless run to 12 matches in the league.
Promoted Verona, who have performed far above expectations this season, climbed to seventh with 38 points. Earlier, Torino and Parma drew 1-1 in the first match of the restarted season.
Verona quickly brushed off the cobwebs as they dominated the opening 30 minutes.
Di Carmine got in front of his marker to head in from Darko Lazovic's cross after 14 minutes and then curled in a 25-metre shot from another Lazovic assist. Lazovic himself smashed a shot against the crossbar in between.
But the game changed completely after Borini was given a straight red card. Although he crashed into Rog with his foot raised, it looked unintentional as Borini did not seem to be aware of the Croat's presence.
Cagliari quickly replied when Luca Pellegrini headed a cross down and Giovanni Simeone lashed the ball home.
The Sardinians had more possession after halftime but failed to create many openings and were also reduced to 10 men when Luca Cigarini was sent off for a second bookable with 20 minutes left.
(Writing by Brian Homewood; Editing by Toby Davis and Pritha Sarkar)