Pro14: Zebre 26-24 Cardiff Blues
|Guinness Pro14: Zebre v Cardiff Blues|
|Zebre (7) 26|
|Tries: Canna, Meyer, Brummer, Fabiani Cons: Canna 3|
|Cardiff Blues (21) 24|
|Tries: Robinson, Dacey, Anscombe Cons: Anscombe 3 Pens: Anscombe|
Cardiff Blues were forced to suffer another agonising defeat after losing to Zebre at Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi.
Three tries in the opening 11 minutes gave the Welsh region a sizeable lead, Olly Robinson, Kristian Dacey and Gareth Anscombe all crossing early.
However, a string of tries late in the second half gave the hosts victory, Oliviero Fabiani adding the final blow in the 80th minute.
The Blues remain without a win this season after three defeats in three.
An explosive start from the Welsh region was rewarded with a try after just two minutes after captain Robinson crossed following a mistake from Zebre's Mattia Bellini; Anscombe converting.
Just two minutes later and the Blues were over again, this time Dacey powering through the Italian defence for his second try in as many matches.
Anscombe converted before getting in on the try-scoring action himself. On 11 minutes the 27-year-old, making his first start at fly-half this season, crossed for the Blues' third try of the evening.
The exhilarating start continued but it was Zebre's turn next to cross. Italian fly-half Carlo Canna's nice wrap-around opened up the Blues defence for him to score a try which he converted himself.
The game finally calmed down after Canna's try and neither team could find another breakthrough in the first half as the Blues took a 21-7 lead into the break.
Anscombe extended the Blues' lead with a penalty early in the second half but it was all Zebre from that point on.
Number eight Johan Meyer scored Zebre's first second-half try after bulldozing his way through Blues defenders.
Substitute Francois Brummer was next over for the Italian side as the Blues' started to fear a repeat of last week's last-minute defeat to Benetton.
And their fears soon became reality as fellow substitute Oliviero Fabiani crossed with 79 minutes on the clock, sparking jubilant celebrations from the Zebre players, coaches and fans.
Zebre also earned a try-bonus point to make Fabiani's winning-try that much more enjoyable.
Zebre: Edoardo Padovani; Mattia Bellini, Giulio Bisegni, Tommaso Boni, Giovanbattista Venditti; Carlo Canna, Marcello Violi; Andrea Lovotti, Massimo Ceciliani, Dario Chistolini, David Sisi, George Biagi (capt), Jimmy Tuivaiti, Renato Giammarioli, Johan Meyer
Replacements: Oliviero Fabiani, Daniele Rimpelli, Giosué Zilocchi, Apisai Tauyavuca, Giovanni Licata, Guglielmo Palazzani, Francois Brummer, Tommaso Castello
Cardiff Blues: Matthew Morgan; Jason Harries, Garyn Smith, Rey Lee-Lo, Owen Lane; Gareth Anscombe, Tomos Williams; Brad Thyer, Kristian Dacey, Dillon Lewis, George Earle, Rory Thornton, Josh Turnbull, Olly Robinson (capt), Josh Navidi
Replacements:Kirby Myhill, Rhys Carre, Dmitri Arhip, Macauley Cook, Nick Williams, Lloyd Williams, Jarrod Evans, Harri Millard.
Referee: George Clancy (IRFU)
Assistant referees: Johnny Erskine (IRFU); Matteo Liperini (FIR)
TMO: Stefano Roscini (FIR)