Ibarbo inspires Cagliari
Cagliari's Victor Ibarbo ran Catania ragged as the Sardinians recorded a 2-1 Serie A win over the Sicilians.
Last Updated: 19/10/13 8:13pm
Cagliari striker Victor Ibarbo ran Catania ragged as the Sardinians marked their return to the Stadio Sant'Elia with a 2-1 Serie A win over the Sicilians on Saturday.
Gonzalo Bergessio silenced the 4,000 fans permitted to see Cagliari's return home by putting the visitors ahead after just five minutes.
But Colombian Ibarbo then took charge of the situation, scoring the equaliser before earning a penalty which resulted in a red card for Nicola Legrottaglie.
Although Ibarbo was denied from the spot by Alberto Frison, in goal due to the delayed return of Mariano Andujar from international duty and staking a strong claim for a more regular role, he set up Mauricio Pinilla for an 84th-minute winner.
It was meant to be a party - Cagliari's 18-month exile from the Sant'Elia ended, albeit with a reduced capacity for a lucky few who hardly counted themselves as such when Bergessio put the winless visitors in front by heading in a corner.
Cagliari were unmoved, though, and Ibarbo started his duel with Legrottaglie by taking a tumble in the penalty area as the Catania defender tried to get to grips with him.
No penalty was awarded, so the Colombian provided his own punishment the next time they rubbed shoulders.
Using all of his imposing upper-body strength to hold Legrottaglie off, he saw a chink of light between him and the goal and, turning in a flash, sent the ball powerfully and accurately past a helpless Frison from a tight angle.
Five minutes before half-time, Ibarbo and Legrottaglie renewed acquaintances inside the penalty area again, this time the Colombian getting goal-side and in a position where only a foul would prevent him getting away his shot on goal.
Legrottaglie instinctively obliged, earning a straight red card to end his agony.
The only blot on Ibarbo's evening followed, although Frison should be given the credit for first blocking his penalty and then saving his header on the rebound.
Ibarbo carried on menacing the Catania defence, setting up Pinilla to volley over at full stretch with 10 minutes left.
The pair combined once again with Pinilla, the last man to score at the Sant'Elia before the exile began in April 2011, scoring at the second attempt after hitting the post with his first effort, before leaping into the crowd to celebrate.
Frison ensured Pinilla did not make it three with some more fine stops, but, in spite of his own valiant efforts, Catania were beaten.