Sassuolo-Roma was the highest scoring match of the week alongside Sampdoria-Napoli and had a very weird development, as the Neroverdi manhandled La Lupa in the first half, but then Edin Dzeko and company tried to mount a furious comeback after intermission, only to be railroaded by red card to Lorenzo Pellegrini and a stunner by Jeremie Boga. It all made for a very entertaining bout.
The home team had picked up four points in the previous two fixtures against Sassuolo and Torino, while Roma had done the same following two losses, versus Genoa and Lazio. Roberto De Zerbi recovered Gianmarco Ferrari in the back and picked Pedro Obiang and Filip Djuricic over Francesco Magnanelli and Hamed Traore in the midfield. Paulo Fonseca again chose Leonardo Spinazzola and Davide Santon over Aleksandar Kolarov, then trotted out his usual XI.
The guests’ defence, and Gianluca Mancini in particular, and a horrid start of the game. After just six minutes, Francesco Caputo slipped past the back-line, duped the ex-Atalanta man with a predictable dummy and easily knocked it on goal from close range.
Five minutes later, the ball ricocheted toward an unguarded Ferrari on a corner kick, but he did not find a way to coordinate to punch it in. At the 16th minute, Sassuolo put together a blazing fast-break down the led by Manuel Locatelli and Domenico Berardi and finalized with a Jeremy Toljan square ball for Caputo, who burned Pau Lopez for the second time.
Few minutes, Boga launched himself past a sleep-walking defence on a set piece, but the goalie stabbed his arm out at the right moment to parry away his strike. The third goal arrived at the 25th minute as a Mancini’s poor long-ball was recycled quickly in the final third, Domenico Berardi slid it to Djuricic as the back-line was out of whack and the Serbian attacker bagged another easy goal.
The Giallorossi finally joined the fray after the break, with a little contribution by Bruno Peres that subbed in for Santon. Andrea Consigli saved the first attempt from Dzeko, then the striker hit the post from point-blank range after a flick-on on a corner kick. Pellegrini recovered the ball on the base line and lofted it for Dzeko, who bagged with an easy header for his 100th goal with the club.
At the 58th minute, on another corner kick, Bryan Cristante tried to smash it home but Consigli got in the way and Locatelli just beat Dzeko to punch before a tap-in. Caputo failed to ice the game on another Toljan’s deep scamper, but Pellegrini picked up his second yellow card, leaving his side one man short.
Despite that, La Lupa further cut into the lead at the 70th minute as a Justin Kluivert cross was intercepted by a handball and Jordan Veretout drilled the penalty. However, it took just two minutes to Sassuolo to re-establish a two-goal cushion with a gem by Boga, who charged down the left flank, turned Mancini around and blasted it on the top corner, killing the opponents’ residual hopes.
The Neroverdi keep it going with the second win in the last three contests, while Roma have prevailed just once in the last five and are tied with Atalanta in fourth position in the standings.
Few contributors on each side took home some fantasy points: Caputo amassed eight, Djuricic six, Boga four, Berardi two and Georgios Kyriakopoulos and Toljan one for the home team, as the two defenders set up teammates but gave up multiple goals, while for Roma the scores Dzeko and Veretout earned four points.
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