A Felipe Caicedo penalty for Lazio just before half-time in Thursday night’s lone Serie A encounter got the weekend off to an encouraging start for Joey Saputo’s Bologna. That’s because the visitors to Rome’s Stadio Olimpico were relegation rivals, Empoli.
It was the only score of the game, and meant that even a draw, Sunday, at home to Genoa would lift the Rossoblu out of the bottom three, on goal difference.
As it turned out, with Udinese losing 0-1 later at Torino after missing a penalty and having two goals chalked off through VAR decisions, a win would actually have lifted Bologna above the Friulani as well, and into 14th.
It wasn’t to be however, with Saputo’s team having to settle for a point despite taking the lead through striker Mattia Destro’s first goal in a year.
New coach Sinisa Mihajlovic in his first home game in charge conceded his disappointment at the outcome.
“We started very well, but then unfortunately we had a little fear about winning.”
“We created a lot in the second-half and deserved to win it. The important thing however, is that the players understand the difference between that 15-20 minute period in which we were afraid, to that when we did what we had to do.”
“The road is long, if we continue with performances like today, then the chances of saving ourselves (from the drop) are there.”
For Bologna and of interest to Impact fans, Blerim Dzemaili saw action for the first time since the pre-Christmas fixture at Parma, emerging from the bench for the last 13 mins, however 21-year-old Nigerian striker and rumoured Impact target, Orji Okwonkwo, didn’t make the match-day squad for the second successive week.