Bologna halt horrific run just in time

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September 2019 seems like a long time ago.

The word COVID had yet to enter the public consciousness, Zlatan Ibrahimović was still sunning himself in Hollywood and Bologna kept a clean sheet in Serie A.

That came in a scoreless draw against Genoa towards the end of the month and didn’t seem of any importance of the time.

But since then, they had failed to do so in every league game they played.

That covered a staggering 41 consecutive games – more than a season’s worth of matches in which they just couldn’t keep the ball out of their net.

While there have been humiliations such as heavy losses against Fiorentina and Milan, there’s been heartbreak too, like the 88th minute goal they conceded against Sampdoria last season.

Federico Bonazzoli’s strike in June would at least have stopped the rot at 23 games, in a game that the Rossoblu still held on to win 2-1 in any case.

But going into last weekend’s clash with Crotone, Sinisa Mihajlović was aware that any goal for the visitors would mean they would equal the all-time record for Europe’s top five leagues for successive games without a clean sheet.

That was set by Bordeaux in 1960 when they went 42 games in a row conceding at least one goal in each of those fixtures.

And with that awful place in infamy awaiting them, they duly did so against a Crotone outfit who seemed tailor made for them to finally bring an end to their defensive disaster.

In three of their previous four meetings in the league, the games had ended 1-0, while the Pitagorici had also failed to score in their previous two games prior to this one.

It was made easy for Mihajlović and co. in the end, who had just eight shots and one on target to deal with throughout a game which finally saw them end the torture.

And elsewhere …

Napoli paid a fitting and emotionally-charged tribute to Diego Maradona with one of their finest performances in a long time by becoming the first team to defeat Roma domestically on the field this season
Juventus, it is time to worry. Drawing 1-1 at Benevento after going ahead just isn’t good enough. They have won just one of their last nine games on the road in Serie A
Inter’s players were warned by ultras prior to their trip to high-flying Sassuolo that baseball bats awaited them if they didn’t do the business. But the Nerazzurri knocked it out of the park with a thrilling 3-0 victory

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