Spirited basement club Cremonese were denied their first Serie A (SA) away victory in exactly 27 years, as a quickfire exchange of goals beyond the hour mark saw the points shared at a packed Brianteo Stadium.
In this clash of two clubs experiencing contrasting rookie top-flight seasons, it was Monza who unsurprisingly began on the front foot. The best of their early chances came via Andrea Petagna’s through-ball to Armando Izzo, whose low shot was halted dramatically by the quick thinking of visiting goalkeeper Marco Carnesecchi.
The one-way traffic only continued from there, and Petagna was again frustrated when a clever flick from the left teed him up to fire home, but his shot on the angle deflected wide off Johan Vásquez.
With that opportunity being Cremonese’s cue to focus on defence up to HT, the first-half’s remaining quarter-hour was quieter in comparison to the early minutes, though it still seemed just a matter of time before Monza scored.
However, Cremonese looked more organised early in the second half, after a double switch for the visitors saw Davide Ballardini deploy Michele Castagnetti and Daniel Ciofani.
The subsequent change in momentum saw David Okereke allowed time and space to fire in a shot from the edge of the area, but the Nigerian could only find the grateful arms of Michele Di Gregorio with Cremonese’s first shot on target.
Cremonese then finally struck gold shortly after the hour mark though, and it was the HT substitutes who combined to deadly effect, when a sloppy pass out of the Monza backline allowed Castagnetti to cut back for Ciofani to side-foot into the net past a stranded Di Gregorio.
The away fans erupted with all due joy, but even with Cremonese’s improvement, a first SA victory on the road this century always felt like a phenomena that was too good to be true.
And so it proved just seven minutes later, after Patrick Ciurria did the hard yards, searing down the right flank and deceiving Vásquez on the turn to square across goal. Nobody connected with the loose ball until Carlos Augusto took it at the far post, and fired past a sea of white shirts to level the clash and set up an intriguing endgame.
Monza ended the battle on top, but Cremonese’s determination not to leave empty-handed prevented much in the way of genuine danger. Despite being unable to make any significant inroads towards Juventus in seventh place, Monza remain beaten just once at home since November, while also extending their impressive unbeaten run in early-afternoon kick-offs to seven games.
As for Cremonese, they surely have nothing left but time now amongst the elite, with March 1996 still marking the club’s most recent top-flight win on hostile turf.
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