Cagliari Celebrate Victory On Return To Home Town

by
Reuters
Cagliari's Mauricio Pinilla charged into the stands to celebrate with the fans at the Sant'Elia stadium after tucking home the winner in their 2-1 victory over Catania in Serie A on Saturday.

Cagliari Celebrate Victory On Return To Home Town

Cagliari's Mauricio Pinilla charged into the stands to celebrate with the fans at the Sant'Elia stadium after tucking home the winner in their 2-1 victory over Catania in Serie A on Saturday.

He was not only sharing the joy of a second league win of the season but welcoming them home after 18 months away.

The Sardinian side had not played at their home ground since a row with the local authorities over safety concerns forced them out in April last year.

The long-winded stadium saga saw them banned from playing at the ill-fated Is Arenas while the club's president Massimo Cellino was arrested for false representation.

However, a ruling on Friday from the Serie A authorities gave the club permission to host games in their home city at least until the end of the season.

Saturday's victory was particularly special for Pinilla, who was on the scoresheet the last time Cagliari played at the Sant'Elia, a 2-0 success against Atalanta.

"This win is for the fans. They welcomed me here with open arms," said Pinilla, who was booked for his wild celebrations among the 4,800 fans packed into the north end of the stadium due to a restricted capacity.

He had raced behind the goal and, taking advantage of the fact there was no barrier separating the hardcore "ultras" and the pitch, shoved past stewards to be mobbed by supporters.

"When you score a goal you don't think about the booking, you only want to celebrate in front of the fans," he said.

The supporters were hit hard by the affair, having to travel to Trieste, a city about 1,000 km from the Sardinian capital near the Slovenian border, if they wanted to see a home game.

Now Cagliari are back in the ground they have called home since 1970, at least for the time being, it is hoped the fans can finally concentrate on the football.

"Our season begins now at the Sant'Elia," manager Diego Lopez had said on Friday. "I don't care that we're only playing in front of 5,000 people. I'd have played there behind closed doors rather than carry on playing away every week."