A full slate of Monday Serie B action saw American forward Andrija Novakovich perfectly play the role of super-sub to help Frosinone take all three points.
Frosinone Calcio 2 – 1 FC Crotone
Andrija Novakovich made the most of his approximately half-hour on the field for Frosinone on Monday night, nearly firing them to a late lead before finally assisting on the dramatic late winner over visiting Crotone.
After putting in a relatively ineffectual shift in Frosinone’s last outing, a 1-1 draw at Alessandria four days earlier, the American was dropped back to the bench by head coach Fabio Grosso, to be saved if needed for a substitute role.
The decision by the former World Cup winner turned out to be a good one, as the Wisconsin-born forward teamed up with fellow second-half substitute Emanuele Cicerelli to provide the 93rd-minute winner.
Frosinone dominated in long stretches of the first half, with French striker Gabriel Charpentier threatening the Crotone goal on several occasions.
Nevertheless, the visitors successfully fought against the tide and took the lead just before the half after Frosinone defender Tiago Casasola errantly deflected the ball with his right elbow while diving recklessly to make a clearance in front of goal, giving Mirko Maric the opportunity to strike from the spot.
Their lead didn’t even hold until the half, with Charpentier equalizing after using teammate Luigi Canotto as a foil on the right side of the area, allowing the Frenchman to slip free on the left for an opportunistic sliding strike on the return pass.
With the game still deadlocked at one apiece well past the hour mark, Grosso rolled the dice and brought both Novakovich and fellow striker Cicerelli onto the field in an attack-minded triple-switch.
Almost immediately, the American picked up his second yellow card of the season, but quickly came into the game and nearly won it for Frosinone in the 77th minute with a towering header that klanged off the crossbar.
As the game slipped into injury time, the hosts were the more motivated of the two sides to search for a winner, and saw their perseverance pay off.
In the 93rd minute, Frosinone keeper Federico Ravaglia rocketed a long kick into the area that Novakovich chested down to his feet amidst a crowd of Crotone defenders. After fighting for control the ball, he slipped it back to the edge of the area where Cicerelli could step up and fire a right-footed rocket into the left corner for the winner.
The victory extends Frosinone’s unbeaten run to four games, and brings them to sixth in the Serie B standings, well within the six-team promotion playoff places. They have a five-day break before visiting fourth-place Benevento on Saturday.
Giuseppe Barone wasn’t not in Ascoli’s squad on Monday evening, as a 1-1 draw at leaders Pisa dropped the team to 13th place.