Mbanda on the mark as Zebre double up against Benetton
Antonio Rizzi’s two penalties in the last eight minutes helped Zebre to a 22-18 Guinness PRO14 win over Benetton, whose second-half fightback at the Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi was in vain in the Italian derby.
Benetton led 6-3, thanks to Paolo Garbisi’s two penalties, but were unable to exact revenge for their 24-15 defeat to the same opponents a week ago.
Michelangelo Biondelli crossed the whitewash shortly before the interval to put Zebre out in front and although the conversion was missed, Carlo Canna’s second penalty of the game plus Maxime Mbanda’s 52nd-minute try gave the hosts a 16-6 lead.
Benetton roared back just after the hour mark to set up a thrilling finale. Gianmarco Lucchesi and Michele Lamaro touched down within three minutes of each other and Garbisi’s conversion of the latter effort meant Benetton held an 18-16 lead with a quarter of an hour to go.
But former Benetton fly-half Rizzi held his nerve to split the posts to hand Zebre the slimmest of advantages before giving them some breathing room, and ultimately ensuring victory, by booting another penalty three minutes from time.
A thrilling see-saw second half saw @ZebreRugby hold off a Benetton fightback ?
— PRO14 RUGBY (@PRO14Official) January 9, 2021
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