The boot of Mirco Bergamasco proved to be the difference as Zebre defeated Newport Gwent Dragons 23-17 in Italy.
Zebre took the lead at half-time with two penalties for Bergamasco and a try for Jacopo Sarto. Newport were not far behind with two tries courtesy of Thomas Rhys Thomas and Jack Dixon but they were still trailing 13-10 at half time.
The home side went on to win the game with a try for Matteo Pratichetti and another penalty for Bergamasco in the second half. The Dragons also scored a try courtesy of Nic Cudd in the final 40 but it was not enough and they went down 23-17.
The home side took the first points of the game with a successful penalty for Bergamasco on seven minutes. However, Newport took the lead 10 minutes later with a try for the captain Thomas.
A series of excellent passes out wide then found Dixon and he crossed the line to give his side a seven point lead. Zebre started to apply some pressure to their visitor's line and Sarto eventually found a gap in the defence to crash over in the corner. Newport were reduced to 14 men on 38 minutes when Geraint Rhys Jones was sent to the sin bin for tackling a player in the air.
Bergamasco kicked the resulting penalty to give his side a 13-10 lead at half-time.
The second half got off to a bad start for Zebre when Augustin Cavalier was shown a yellow card after just a minute for a dangerous tackle.
Newport took advantage of the extra man when Cudd dived over the line to score after the penalty kick to the corner. Zebre however were quick to reply when Pratichetti found some space and crossed the line to put his team back in the lead.
Tom Prydie missed two penalty attempts on 68 and 74 minutes and the chance to bring the scores equal. Bergamasco kicked another penalty on 79 minutes to give his team the 23-17 victory.
Tries: Sarto, Pratichetti
Cons: Mi Bergamasco 2
Pen: Mi Bergamasco 3
Yellow Card: Cavalieri
Tries: TR Thomas, Dixon, Cudd
Yellow Card: R Jones
Zebre: 15 Hendrik Daniller, 14 Dion Berryman, 13 Mirco Bergamasco, 12 Matteo Pratichetti, 11 Giulio Toniolatti, 10 Edoardo Padovani, 9 Brendon Leonard, 8 Maxime Mbandà, 7 Mauro Bergamasco (c), 6 Jacopo Sarto, 5 Augustin Cavalieri, 4 Andrei Mahu, 3 Lorenzo Romano, 2 Oliviero Fabiani, 1 Andrea Lovotti.
Replacements: 16 Lorenzo Giovanchelli, 17 Andrea De Marchi, 18 Luca Redolfini, 19 Giacomo Bernini, 20 Ruben Riccioli, 21 Alberto Chillon, 22 Federico Ruzza, 23 David Odiete.
Dragons: 15 Geraint Rhys Jones, 14 Tom Prydie, 13 Jack Dixon, 12 Ashley Smith, 11 Hallam Amos, 10 Dorian Jones, 9 Jonathan Evans, 8 Nick Crosswell, 7 Nic Cudd, 6 James Thomas, 5 Cory Hill, 4 Ian Gough, 3 Brok Harris, 2 T. Rhys Thomas, 1 Boris Stankovich.
Replacements: Rhys Buckley, Lloyd Fairbrother, Dan Way, Matthew Screech, James Benjamin, Luc Jones, Matthew Pewtner, Ashton Hewitt.
Referee: Gary Conway (Ireland)
Assistant Referees: Elia Rizzo (Italy), Stefano Penne (Italy)
TMO: Stefano Roscini (Italy)