Serie A - Mutu sees red in goalless draw
Cesena and Fiorentina battled to a 0-0 draw on Sunday afternoon, with ex-Viola striker Adrian Mutu sent off against his former club.
The home side hit the crossbar once in each half as they sought to capitalise on their opponents’ poor form on the road and notch their first Serie A win of 2011/12.
But they had to hang on at the end after Mutu received a straight red card for lashing out at Mattia Cassani, who attempted to pull back the Romanian.
Last-ditch defending from Steve von Bergen and some great saves from Francesco Antonoli preserved a point for the Cavalucci Marini, but the pressure on manager Marco Giampaolo will continue with his side still in the relegation zone.
Both sides went into this fixture missing key players, most notably Cesena captain Giuseppe Colucci and Fiorentina’s Alberto Gilardino, but it didn’t stop them going all out in search of a much-needed win.
A goalless but lively first half was open and energetic, with a few close calls for each team and the first real opportunity coming on seventeen minutes.
Cesare Natali headed a corner towards his defensive comrade Alessandro Gamberini at the far post, and the skipper will be wondering how he managed to get under the ball and put it over from just a few yards.
Defenders again outshone their attacking counterparts moments before the half hour mark after Roberto Guana had rattled the crossbar on 20 minutes from 25 yards.
Right-back Luca Ceccarelli capped a good run down the flank with a give-and-go with Eder before forcing a good parry from Artur Boruc as the home side continued to hunt for only their third league goal this season.
Santiago Silva, working hard all game to make a good impression for his new club, impressively kept a wayward pass from going out for a goal kick on the left-hand side of the box minutes later.
His cutback was met by Alessio Cerci, showing every bit as much endeavour to sprint onto the ball before having his strike smothered by goalkeeper Antonoli, who at 42 today became the second oldest player in Serie A history.
Though the tempo of the opening 45 minutes had quelled after the interval, Cesena were again denied by the woodwork ten minutes into the second half.
As legs tired in the final half hour, referee Carmaine Russo was forced to dish out the cards on more than one occasion, but the biggest incident of all came with little over quarter of an hour to play.
Mutu embarked on a dangerous run down the left and was clearly pulled back by Cassani, but the striker reacted by swinging a fist behind him which left Russo with no choice but to dismiss him against his old club.
Cassani was also booked for his role in the foul, but it was a price worth paying for Sinisa Mihajiovic’s men as they proceeded to dominate the closing stages.
But though the lively duo of Cerci and Stevan Jovetic created plenty of chances and left-back Manuel Pasqual tested Antonoli with a rasping late drive, Cesena held on for a deserved draw, both of their points this season now coming from goalless stalemates.