It was always going to be a historic day for Spezia when they lined up against Sassuolo in Serie A’s early Sunday kick off, but the away side ruined the party by winning 4-1.
After bankruptcy 12 years ago, Spezia their debut in Serie A at the Stadio Alberto Picco, and started well though went behind to a Filip Djuricic strike.
Andrej Galabinov got the Aquilotti level with the club’s first ever Serie A goal, but a second half penalty from Domenico Berardi plus goals from Gregoire Defrel and Francesco Caputo ensured Sassuolo left Liguria with all three points.
Berardi goals also means he is the only Sassuolo player to have scored in all eight of the Neroverdi’s seasons in Serie A.
Spezia were straight out of the blocks creating the first chance of the game with a header from Galabinov but was too central to cause any problems for Andrea Consigli.
After the initial warning sign from Spezia, Sassuolo took the lead in the middle of a scrappy period of the game when neither team was taking control through Djuricic. He received the ball in behind the Spezia backline, went past Jacopo Sala with a great piece of skill through the legs of the defender and smartly placed the ball into the far corner.
Shortly after Sassuolo began to dictate possession and thought they had doubled their lead through their leading goalscorer last campaign Caputo but it was chalked off by VAR due to the striker being marginally offside.
Spezia managed to equalise in probably their toughest period of the first half after good play from Matteo Ricci on the right hand side ending in a cross for Galabinov who directed a thumping header into the top right hand corner of the net.
In the dying minutes of a fairly even first half despite Sassuolo edging the possession as expected, Manuel Locatelli crashed a fantastic freekick against the crossbar after Sala resorted to fouling the illusive Djuricic to try and contain him.
The second half started in a highly contested manner but without much penetration from either team until a sweeping move from Sassuolo involving all of their front line ending in the Spezia defence making a last ditch goal line clearance.
The away team started to be more effective with their play as the second half progressed, increasing the pressure on the Spezia back line leading to Caputo being taken down by the Spezia goalkeeper in the penalty area, subsequently converted by Captain Domenico Berardi.
Roberto De Zerbi’s team scored a third when the lively Caputo broke down the right and lifted a ball to Defrel who elegantly volleyed in to the net. Sassuolo really took to the open spaces and gaps in the defence when Caputo was again on the wrong end of a VAR decision which disallowed another goal for the striker.
Caputo finally got his goal to make it four when a corner was nodded down by Gian Marco Ferrari and the striker shot on the turn into the roof of the net leaving the keeper no chance.
Sassuolo cruised home in the final minutes with Spezia still battling away and creating the odd chance but overall it was a fairly comfortable afternoon for De Zerbi and his team.