Ekdal earns point for Cagliari
Last Updated: 02/09/12 11:40pm
Cagliari celebrate Albin Ekdal's goal
Albin Ekdal's last-minute equaliser prevented 10-man Atalanta from wiping away their pre-season points deduction as a crazy contest against Cagliari ended 1-1 on Sunday.
Atalanta had Federico Peluso sent off before half-time and saw their hosts miss two penalties before they somehow went ahead through German Denis nine minutes from the end.
At that stage Atalanta's two-point sanction for their alleged involvement in match-fixing looked set to be erased only for substitute Ekdal to deflect in a corner at the death.
The match was played behind closed doors at the Stadio Is Arenas, following the late decision to move it back to Sardinia from the north-eastern city of Trieste, and the fans missed a memorable 90 minutes.
Cagliari controlled the first half although they only had two missed penalties to show for their work against 10 men.
After Atalanta goalkeeper Andrea Consigli twice made routine catches from Viktor Ibarbo's speculative efforts the hosts won the first of their spot-kicks on 27 minutes.
Thomas Manfredini felled Joaquim Larrivey who stepped up to take the penalty only for Consigli to make a fantastic stop.
Atalanta's joy was short-lived as Peluso was sent off for a foul on Ibarbo in the area a minute later which saw him given his marching orders.
But again Cagliari failed to take their chance as Consigli this time kept out Daniele Conti to go into the break level.
Atalanta then started threaten after the interval with Denis' 30-yard free-kick forcing Michael Agazzi into action.
Cagliari substitute Andrea Cossu blazed over before Larrivey headed narrowly over.
Maximiliano Moralez gave Cagliari a warning of his set-piece threat when he fizzed a free-kick over on 75 minutes and moments later it was his delivery that opened the home defence.
Moralez fizzed in a dangerous free-kick that left Denis with the simple task of scoring from close range.
But Atalanta were denied victory in the first minute of injury time when Ekdal deflected Conti's corner in as both sides had to settle for their first point of the campaign.
Italian Serie A