Novara came from behind to win only their second Serie A match of the season by beating Parma 2-1.
An own goal from Matteo Centurioni in the 29th minute gave Parma the advantage in the first half, but Raffaele Rubino and Marco Rigoni turned the game around to lift the Piedmontese side out of the bottom three.
They were reduced to 10 men in the 87th minute when Giuseppe Gemiti was sent off, but Attilio Tesser’s men held on for a crucial win.
Parma had their sights on a place in the top five and their opening reflected this ambition.
In the 12th minute, a cross from Francesco Valiani, who was sent wide by a neat backheel from Sebastian Giovinco, was met by Stefano Morrone at the near post, but he shot wide.
A minute later, Graziano Pelle commenced his personal duel with Alberto Fontana with a shot on the turn which the Novara goalkeeper managed to deflect wide with his leg.
Fifteen minutes later, Fontana again denied Pelle with a good save low down to his right, getting one hand to the Parma striker’s shot to push the ball wide for a corner.
Fontana was not going to be beaten, at least not by a Parma player; it was his own defender Centurioni who put Parma in front when he deflected Jonathan Biabiany’s cross into his own goal in the 29th minute.
Novara finally reacted and a header from Rubino and shot from Andrea Mazzarani showed some signs of life before Rubino had a diving header saved instinctively by Antonio Mirante before Gabriel Paletta threw himself in front of Mazzarani’s shot on the rebound.
Novara were clearly up for the fight and they finally got their reward in the 70th minute.
Rigoni’s cross was headed in from seven yards by Rubino, the club captain who ensured he has now scored a goal in the top four divisions of Italian football, all for Novara.
Just like against Inter Milan earlier this season, Rigoni was decisive as he headed in a cross from Mazzarani from level with the penalty spot to give Novara the lead.
There was a scare for the home side when Giovinco’s free-kick hit the post with 10 minutes remaining, but they resisted Parma’s late assault to hold on to only their second win of the season, even after losing Gemiti to a straight red card for a dangerous foul on Biabiany in the 87th minute.