The relegation battle and Emilia-Romagna derby at least saw Sassuolo end their losing streak on Eusebio Di Francesco’s comeback.
This was a local derby and a massive relegation dogfight between Sassuolo in last place on 17 points and Bologna fourth-from-bottom on 22. There was a sense of desperation all round and the visitors welcomed back Coach Eusebio Di Francesco after replacement Alberto Malesani lost all five games in charge.
Archimede Morleo and Jonathan Cristaldo were suspended for the Rossoblu, while Domenico Berardi and Simone Zaza sat out bans for Sassuolo. They also had lengthy injury lists with the likes of Panagiotis Kone, Gyorgy Garics, Michele Pazienza, Thomas Manfredini, Aleandro Rosi and Reto Ziegler sidelined.
When these sides met earlier this season, Sassuolo emerged with a 2-1 victory at the Mapei Stadium.
Gianluca Pegolo used his legs to keep out a Lazaros Christodoulopoulos free kick early on.
Sassuolo also threatened, as Sansone at full stretch just failed to connect with a Simone Missiroli assist, then the move continued for Sergio Floccari’s shot charged down.
Gianluca Curci made a hash of getting down to beat away a long-range Sansone snapshot, but did enough to turn it round the upright.
Sassuolo slowly took more control of the game as the first half wore on and before the break Sansone ran on to a long Magnanelli pass to smash his dipping strike against the crossbar.
Floccari spun round for a powerful but central effort into Curci’s arms, then Sansone finished off a mazy run with a finish that was too weak to trouble the goalkeeper.
Bologna lost forward Rolando Bianchi to a knee injury, as he was stretchered off following an awkward sprain.
Pegolo rushed off his line to close down at Ibson’s feet and collided with teammate Luca Antei.
On 76 minutes Bologna went close to breaking the deadlock with a splendid Christodoulopoulos free kick that skimmed the far top corner.
Bologna didn’t make the most of Sassuolo goalkeeper Pegolo dropping a corner, as Daniele Paponi tried to turn in the loose ball but was blocked by a crowd of legs in the six-yard box.