Clarke double downs Blades
Fri, 01 Feb 2013 22:53:00
Cagliari romped to a convincing 4-3 victory in Friday evening's grudge Serie A encounter with Roma at the Stadio Olimpico, increasing the pressure on home coach Zdenek Zeman.
Francesco Totti got the Giallorossi back on level terms 10 minutes before half-time when he cancelled out Radja Nainggolan's early opener, but it was one-way traffic after the interval as a comical Mauro Goicoechea own goal and further strikes from Marco Sau and Francesco Pisano secured an emphatic away win before substitute Marquinho's late consolation.
The result was particularly sweet for the Rossoblu after the Eternal City club were awarded a 3-0 win without a ball being kicked in anger during September's ill-fated reverse fixture.
Cagliari took only three minutes to get their noses in front, Nainggolan diverting Sau's right-wing cross into the bottom-right corner after a swift counter-attack.
The Sardinians nearly went two up soon after but Goicoechea got down well at the feet of Thiago Ribeiro to thwart the Brazilian.
Totti's influence on the game began to grow as the half wore on, the former Italy playmaker setting up Erik Lamela - who headed over the bar - before seeing a low cross cleared.
Sau then lashed just wide from close range as the hosts continued to push for the equaliser, and they did not have to wait too long.
Alessandro Florenzi teed up Totti, who slotted his shot coolly into the bottom-left corner.
Totti could have put his side in front before the break but fired over following good work by Lamela.
That miss proved costly soon after the restart, when Cagliari were gifted the lead thanks to an incredible mistake by Goicoechea. The Roma goalkeeper attempted to catch Danilo Avelar's cross but allowed the ball to slip from his hands and into the net.
Goicoechea tried to make amends with a decent save from Sau six minutes later, but he was beaten again in the 53rd minute when Sau headed Victor Ibarbo's right-wing cross into the top-right corner.
Totti continued to look Roma's best hope of getting back into the game, his shot just before the hour looking destined for the top corner before Cagliari goalkeeper Michael Agazzi's timely intervention.
But Cagliari too were still pressing and served warning they were not done yet when Ribeiro drilled a 25-yard shot against the post following another neat counter-attack.
They made it 4-1 19 minutes from time when Pisano pounced on the rebound after Sau had cut inside Marquinho and fired a shot against the post.
Ivan Piris, Pablo Osvaldo and Dodo all had chances to get Roma back into the game in the closing stages, but they could not find a way past Agazzi for a second time until the 93rd minute. Lamela set up Marquinho, whose effort from the edge of the box found the bottom-right corner, but it was too little too late for the hosts.
Clarke gave the visitors a 14th-minute lead and struck again three minutes from time to give the visitors all three points after Dave Kitson had equalised in the 72nd minute.
Coventry's Carl Baker wasted a great early chance, firing off-target from a good position after Stephen Elliott's ball found him unmarked at the far post.
Elliott was the provider again when Clarke scored with a shot from around the six-yard box.
As Coventry continued to dominate, Baker had a shot charged down and Clarke fired in a low shot which was deflected wide.
Jonathan Forte, who has rejoined the Blades on loan from Southampton, shot straight at keeper Joe Murphy soon after coming on as a substitute early in the second half.
Kitson found the net with a header from Barry Robson's corner but Clarke struck the winner, seizing on the loose ball after George Long parried Franck Moussa's low drive.