Bologna win to ease drop fears

Hosts survive late Cagliari pressure

Alessandro Diamanti: Curled home a free-kick to win the game for Bologna

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Alessandro Diamanti's free-kick helped Bologna to a 1-0 win over Cagliari on Thursday night and end any lingering fears of relegation.

Bologna went into the home fixture with just a solitary win in their previous six games played and facing the prospect of being dragged into the battle against the drop.

But this win moves Stefano Pioli's side above their Sardinian opponents into mid-table, six points clear of the relegation zone with just six games of the season remaining.

Cagliari searched in vain for an equaliser and must now fear for their own future with just four points separating them from in-form Lecce in 18th.

The two sides played out an even first-half in which both teams appeared to be missing the influence of their key strikers - Cagliari's Mauricio Pinilla through suspension and Bologna's Gaston Ramirez, who was restricted to the bench.

But former West Ham man Diamanti found the breakthrough in the second-half when he whipped a direct free-kick over the wall and just beyond goalkeeper Michael Agazzi's reach in the top right-hand corner.

The Sardinians responded only for Andrea Cossu to see his volley tipped over and Thiago Ribeiro put the ball wide when well-placed after a defensive error.

The tension soon got too much for Pioli, who was ordered from his bench with his side struggling to contain the visitors.

But despite Joaquin Larrivey heading against the crossbar late on, Bologna held on for all three points.