Cagliari fought back from 2-0 down to hold Sassuolo in this four-goal Sardinian thriller.
This was a relegation dogfight and the first ever meeting between these teams, but both had been in fairly decent form going in. The Sardinians had four points from two rounds, while Sassuolo had notched up two wins and a draw. Mauricio Pinilla was suspended for the hosts, joining Gabriele Perico and Michael Agazzi in the stands, though Radja Nainggolan returned. Luca Antei and Antonio Floro Flores sat out bans with Emanuele Terranova a long-term injury.
An early Simone Zaza snapshot was smothered, but the hosts lost Victor Ibarbo to a groin strain, so Nene came off the bench.
Matters got even worse for Cagliari, as moments later Sassuolo took the lead. Domenico Berardi curled a corner on to the head of Lino Marzorati, who powered it under the bar. It was the ex-Milan defender’s third career Serie A goal.
Zaza threatened a second, but both he and Berardi went for the same ball and they got in each others’ way.
Cagliari looked to be half-asleep and went 2-0 down on home turf. Gaetano Masucci dispossessed Davide Astori and Berardi threaded through for Zaza to score with the inside of his left foot.
The Sardinians were very poor and Nainggolan blasted over from distance in a rare foray forward. Diego Lopez must’ve shaken the walls at half-time, as Cagliari came out far more aggressive for the second period.
Nene wasted a good chance, Luca Rossettini rose to meet an Andrea Cossu corner and Gianluca Pegolo smothered the Cossu snapshot.
The pressure finally paid off when Nene rose between centre-backs to nod in a Francesco Pisano cross from the left.
Cagliari’s tails were up now and Daniele Dessena’s cross whistled past both Nene and Sau in the middle.
They completed the comeback from 2-0 down to 2-2, as Pegolo only parried a Nainggolan rocket into the path of Sau.