Hellas Verona 2-0 Sassuolo: Martinho helps Mastini to key win
Raphael Martinho opened the scoring after 12 minutes and Romulo doubled the lead at the end in a tight match between newly promoted sides, though the Neroverdi will be disappointed to leave with nothing after dominating the second half.
Verona started brightly and Daniele Cacia should have scored from a free header in the second minute after Martinho crossed from the left wing but the striker could only glance the ball across the face of goal.
After 10 minutes Sassuolo enjoyed their first real sight of goal after Ezequiel Schelotto put a diving header wide.
Martinho made his early promise count in the 12th minute after Juanito dispossessed Francesco Magnanelli outside the Neroverdi’s area before Emil Hallfredsson sent Martinho through and the Brazilian finished well with a left footed strike.
Sassuolo began to enjoy good spells of possession as the Mastini struggled to keep hold of the ball but the away side failed to create clear cut chances despite their neat midfield play.
The Neroverdi won a series set pieces as the first half turned scrappy but the Verona defence dealt with them comfortably, only a Jasmin Kurtic shot from a 30 yard free-kick in the 33rd minute came close to troubling Rafael but the Slovenian’s effort went just wide.
Sassuolo appeared to be through in the 42 minute but a poor touch from Simone Zaza allowed Vangelis Moras to get across and clear the danger.
The first half ended with Sassuolo appealing for a penalty after a Zaza shot was deflected over the bar by Moras’s arm inside the Verona box but referee Massimiliano Irrati said no and the sent the sides into the dressing rooms with the Scaligeri holding a 1-0 lead.
Sassuolo took the initiative at the start of the second half and Zaza had a chance from a corner but put his header just over the bar.
The Neroverdi had the ball in the net but Kurtic’s goal was disallowed after Schelotto was adjudged offside before he squared the ball into the area.
A curling Juanito effort forced a save from Alberto Pomini in the 55th minute but with an hour gone Sassuolo continued to improve as Verona appeared happy to sit on their lead.
Schelotto stung the palms of Rafael with a powerful long rang strike in the 62nd minute before Marcello Gazzola missed a golden opportunity seconds later but the right back completely missed his kick from a metre out.
Cacia broke through the Sassuolo defence on 73 minutes but could only smash his shot way over.
With 15 minutes left Sassuolo began to lay siege to the Verona goal but the Gialloblu’s desperate defending just kept them out with Rafael saving magnificently from an Antonio Floro-Flores header before Francesco Acerbi put the rebound centimetres wide.
Verona hardly managed to get out of their own half in the last 10 minutes but Romulo managed to put a gloss on the score with a goal in the 92nd minute after Jorginho set him up.