Opening day joy for Cesena
Last Updated: 31/08/14 10:56pm
Cesena won for the first time on the opening day of a Serie A season with Alejandro Rodriguez's goal clinching a 1-0 victory over Parma.
Rodriguez scored the only goal of the game in the 38th minute with Cesena then relying on the saves of goalkeeper Nicola Leali to preserve their advantage.
For Parma, defeat in an Emilia-Romagna derby was the latest low of a summer of discontent following their disqualification from the Europa League, despite finishing ahead of Torino in Serie A last season, due to financial irregularities.
That was something Parma were hoping to put behind them with the new season under way this weekend, but they were soon reminded of how big an achievement it was last season to finish sixth.
There are few easy games in Serie A and promoted Cesena provided the perfect example, forcing Parma to defend for much of the first half with the euphoria one might expect from a side still riding the crest of a wave after promotion.
Their attack-minded approach saw chances created for Franco Brienza and Giuseppe De Feudis, neither able to get the better of Antonio Mirante.
Rodriguez managed that shortly before the break, though, meeting Brienza's cross with a header which Mirante could do nothing about.
Parma improved in the second half and it was up to Leali to keep his side in front.
He first denied Raffaele Palladino before Parma coach Roberto Donadoni sent Amauri on to give some fresh legs to his side's attack.
However, it was a defender who nearly grabbed Parma a point in stoppage time, but Leali was there, as he had been all match, to deny Alessandro Lucarelli with a fine left-handed save in a one-on-one situation.
His stop was celebrated as much as Rodriguez's goal with the Stadio Manuzzi fans seeing their side get their Serie A campaign off to a winning start for the first time in their history.