Sassuolo edged past Bologna to take home a 2-1 victory at the Stadio Citta del Tricolore on Sunday afternoon in Serie A action.
A Domenico Berardi penalty and a deflected effort from Antonio Floro Flores saw the Neroverdi take a two goal lead, while Alessandro Diamanti’s penalty for the Rossoblu proved no more than a consolation goal.
The first incident of note in the match was a yellow card for Sassuolo captain Paolo Bianco for a hand ball on the edge of his own penalty area with Diamanti firing the resulting free-kick over the bar.
Neither side were doing a particularly good job of keeping possession in the opening exchanges but Bologna looked the more threatening.
However after 12 minutes a strong run into the box by Sassuolo’s Berardi resulted in a foul by Andrea Mantovani and a penalty was awarded. Berardi himself converted the penalty to give Eusebio Di Francesco’s men the 1-0 lead.
Bologna almost hit back immediately with Diamanti finding himself free in the penalty area but he fired a left footed shot over the bar.
Sassuolo extended their lead on 17 minutes when Floro Flores ran unopposed through the centre of the field before striking a shot from 25 yards which took a deflection to deceive Gianluca Curci in the Bologna goal.
Most of the Rossoblu’s attacking play went through Diamanti and this was evident when he controlled a long ball superbly before unleashing a low shot which forced Gianluca Pegolo into a good save.
Diamanti again forced a corner with another well struck shot from outside the area and as the ball was delivered, referee Antonio Damato awarded a penalty for a foul in front of the goal. The Rossoblu captain dispatched the spot-kick to bring his side back into the game.
An equaliser almost came after 40 minutes when Jonathan Cristaldo weaved a path into the box from the left and fired a shot across goal which was just kept out by Pegolo. Two minutes later another chance was wasted when Cesare Natali headed wide from a Diamanti free-kick while unmarked.
Stefano Pioli’s side started the second half as they finished the first when Panagiotis Kone cut inside at the back post but curled a left-footed shot just wide.
Although Bologna were beginning to control proceedings in terms of possession, Sassuolo came close to restoring their two goal advantage twice in quick succession when Karim Laribi and then Floro Flores got through on goal but both shots were easily dealt with by Curci.
Playing conditions began to deteriorate mid-way through the second half as heavy rain added a large amount of surface water to the pitch.
With 73 minutes gone Marek Cech found himself free at the back post but his low effort was cleared off the line by a retreating Sassuolo defender after beating Pegolo. Apart from this, Bologna found it difficult to create chances despite winning several corners.
As the game moved into the final ten minutes the ball was noticeably holding up on the water-logged pitch making any sort of fluid play difficult for both sides. Late efforts from Cristaldo and substitute Rolando Bianchi were off target as Sassuolo held on to move off the bottom of the Serie A table.