Sassuolo look to continue their positive start to the season and keep themselves in the conversation for European football as they host Benevento.
Friday night football tonight in Serie A and a chance for Sassuolo to go 2nd for at least 36 hours as they host a Benevento side who have put their losing streak to a halt and are unbeaten in their last three, including an impressive 1-0 win at Fiorentina and a 1-1 draw with defending champions Juventus.
The home side finished in a respectable 8th place last season, although they were 11 points behind 7th place Napoli. This followed some mediocre mid table finishes since their one and only venture into Europe in the 2016/2017 season. After a positive start to this campaign, this is a big chance for Sassuolo to keep up the pace.
Meanwhile, it’s been an equally impressive start from Benevento, coming into this game with 11 points- a points tally it took them 30 games to reach in their disastrous 2017/2018 campaign in Serie A. They certainly have more of a steel to them this time around under Fillipo Inzaghi.
U.S Sassuolo Calcio- Consigli (GK), Kyriakopolous, Ferrari, Marlon, Toljan, Locatelli, Bourabia, Berardi (C), Djuricic, Haraslin, Lopes
Substitutes- Ayhan, Boga, Maganelli, Muldur, Obiang, Odei, Rogerio, Degolo (GK), Pelos, Raspadori, Schiappacasse, Traore
Manager- Roberto De Zerbi
Benevento Calcio- Montipo (GK), Barba, Glik, Tuia, Letizia, Improta, Schiattarella (C), Hetemaj, Carprari, Ionita, Lapadula
Substitutes- Basit, Dabo, Del Pinto, Di Serio, Falque, Foulon, Insigne, Lucatelli (GK), Manfedini (GK), Pastina, Sau, Tello
Manager- Fillipo Inzaghi
1′- Kick Off- After a minutes silence to remember legendary Italian striker Paolo Rossi, the action gets underway.
7′- PENALTY TO SASSUOLO- Lopes gets to the by line and delivers a cross into the box and Alessandro Tuia inexplicably handled it and there was no question of the decision.
8′- GOOOALLL- Domenico Berardi steps up and slots the ball home to give Sassuolo an early lead. There was concerns of this being a 0-0 but those concerns are eradicated in the opening 10 minutes.Embed from Getty Images
9′- Perparim Hetemaj is penalised for a very late challenge and receives a yellow card. Poor from an experienced player moments after a penalty is conceded.
14′- Benevento have their own penalty shout as a corner seemingly strikes the arm of Gianmarco Ferrari. Nothing given and Benevento may feel hard done by there, VAR didn’t even check it…
19′- Benevento having more of the ball than people may have anticipated. They are getting into some good areas without necessarily creating anything meaningful. Still 1-0 here at the Mapei Stadium.
24′- Yellow card awarded to the Moldovan Arthur Ionita for a stamp on Maxim Lopes.
26′- Perhaps strangely, Sassuolo are being pinned in by Benevento here, despite having some of the highest Serie A possession stats.
31′- Sassuolo beginning to take charge of possession, but are now finding themselves vulnerable to the Benevento counter attack.
35′- Crisp attacking play from Sassuolo as they work the ball from right to left and eventually shift it on to Giorgos Kyriakopolous, before the Greek left back fires a venomous shot over the bar.
37′- HUGE CHANCE FOR BENEVENTO- The corner was whipped in and flicked on well by Improta and Gianluca Lapadula agonisedly stretches and can’t divert the ball into the back of the net.
40′- Yellow card for goalscorer Berardi for a cynical foul in attempt to prevent a counter attack.
Half Time- U.S Sassuolo Calcio 1-0 Benevento Calcio- A strange half of football. Sassuolo were awarded an early penalty. It did look pretty blatant but I must admit I was surprised VAR didn’t even double check
46′- Perparim Hetemaj is withdrawn in place of Roberto Insigne in an attacking half time substitution made by Filippo Inzaghi.
48′- Yellow Card for a horrendous challenge from Haraslin who stamps on the ankle of Letizia who is writhing in pain. Dreadful challenge and I’ll be surprised if VAR don’t look at this.
49′- Indeed VAR checked it and Lukas Haraslin is correctly dismissed for a horror tackle.
53′- With Benevento having the better of the 1st half chances from open play, it will be intriguing to see how the red card affects the game and whether it turns the tide in the favour of the visitors.
57′- Triple Substitution for Sassuolo- Djuricic, Lopes and Toljan replaced by Boga, Raspadori and Ayhan.
61′- Despite being down to 10 men, Sassuolo refuse to relent from their philosophy to play out from the back.
62′- Best chance of the 2nd half for Benevento as a cross is beautifully delivered by Riccardo Improta which finds Carpari who drills in an effort on the half volley only to be denied by alert goalkeeping by Consigli.
69′- Benevento left back Federico Barba is shown a yellow for an over zealous challenge.
72′- Benevento maybe just being a little too hasty to make the man advantage count. They are evidently trying to force the issue and are often misplacing passes and lose the ball.
76′- Better play from Benevento. Cross field ball from Barba finds Letizia. Letizia then proceeds to deliver a teasing ball into the area but the resulting shot from Improta was a wildly inaccurate one.
78′- Substitution from Benevento. Federico Barba replaced by Marco Sau.
80′- Another substitution from the visitors in an attempt to take something from this contest. Gianluca Carprari is replaced by Iago Falque.
83′- Sassuolo making their fourth substitution as Kyriakopolous is replaced by Rogerio.
85′- SO CLOSE TO AN EQUALISER- the Spanish substitute Iago Falque almost makes an immediate impact as he rolls his man in the box and crashes a sensational strike against the bar.
86′- Final substitution for Sassuolo as Domenico Berardi is replaced by Turkish defender Murt Muldur. Bryan Dabo was also booked for being over-zealous in his attempts to encourage Berardi to exit proceedings quicker.Embed from Getty Images
90′- There will be 5 additional minutes for Benevento to find an equaliser. It just looks as if they are going to lack the quality to break down this resolute Sassuolo side.
92′- UNBELIEVABLE SAVE- Dabo delivers a ball into Lapadula who has a free header and for all intents and purposes it looked like a goal but Consigli somehow manages to claw the ball away and protect Sassuolo’s lead.Embed from Getty Images
94′- Improta weaves through a couple defenders and forces a good save from Consigli. The following corner was headed goal wards by Bryan Dabo but Raspadori was there on the line to head the ball away.
Full Time- U.S Sassuolo Calcio 1-0 Benevento Calcio– The home side hang on for a crucial 3 points.
All in all, it was a strange old contest, with Sassuolo scoring the only goal of the game from an early penalty. From there, it was the visitors who certainly looked the more likely. Despite Sassuolo topping Serie A in possession stats, Benevento managed to control the ball, but didn’t manage to force an opening. At the beginning of the 2nd half, a horror challenge from Lukas Haraslin led to his dismissal and the home side were reduced to 10 men. Unfortunately, Benevento did a poor job of making the extra man count and were lacklustre in attack. It was only in the dying minutes did Benevento pose any real goal threat, but credit to Sassuolo who defended resolutely.
Certainly not a Grade A performance from Sassuolo but a win nonetheless. They look to continue their form as they travel to a struggling Fiorentina side. As for Benevento, they’ll be disappointed not to get anything from this game having had a man advantage for the most part of the 2nd half. It doesn’t get any easier for them as they face Lazio in their next Serie A contest.
Thank you for reading.