Sassuolo seemed to be in absolute control, but fumbled a 2-0 lead to draw 2-2 with Rapid Vienna in the final minutes.
The Neroverdi remained in the grip of an injury crisis ruling out Domenico Berardi, Alfred Duncan, Paolo Cannavaro, Francesco Magnanelli, Simone Missiroli, Tim Letschert and Luca Antei. They had won all three previous Europa League home fixtures 3-0, including the preliminary rounds.
When these sides met in Austria two weeks ago, Sassuolo emerged with a creditable 1-1 draw.
Alessandro Matri had the ball in the net after three minutes, but the whistle had already been blown for a debatable Gregoire Defrel push on Max Hofmann.
Rapid missed a sitter soon after, as Manuel Thurnwald’s cross found Joelinton unmarked at the back post, but the header was somehow turned wide.
Sassuolo were understandably furious on 25 minutes when Davide Biondini pulled back from the right for Defrel, who was felled from behind by Ivan Mocinic, but remarkably the referee waved away penalty appeals.
The move continued and Rapid went on the counter, Marcello Gazzola bringing down Joelinton in a cynical foul for a booking. The Austrians wanted a red, but it was in midfield and couldn’t be considered a clear scoring opportunity.
Sassuolo did break the deadlock when Biondini’s through ball sent Defrel down the left side of the box and he drilled in from a seemingly improbable angle, in off the inside of the far post.
The lead was doubled in first half stoppages after Claud Adjapong was brought down on the edge of the box. Lorenzo Pellegrini fired his free kick under the wall as it jumped and it took a deflection off teammate Antonino Ragusa, but so far the goal seems to be credited to Pellegrini.
Straight after the restart it should’ve been 3-0, but Pellegrini’s free kick was punched into the path of Adjapong at the back post to force another great point-blank save from Strebinger.
Schaub’s cross-shot stung Andrea Consigli’s gloves, but late on Rapid completed an incredible comeback from 0-2 to 2-2. On a set play, Consigli did well to stick out a hand on Traustason’s shot, but could do nothing as substitute Kvilitaia came sliding in on the rebound.
This result ruined Sassuolo’s perfect European home record.
Sassuolo 2-2 Rapid Vienna
Defrel 34 (S), Pellegrini 45 (S), Jelic 86 (R), Kvilitaia 93 (R)
Sassuolo: Consigli; Gazzola, Acerbi, Peluso; Lirola, Pellegrini, Biondini, Ragusa (Ricci 81), Adjapong; Defrel (Franchini 91), Matri (Politano 65)
Rapid Vienna: Strebinger; Thurnwald, Sonnleitner, M Hofmann, Schrammel; Mocinic (Szanto 85), Grahovac; Schaub, Murg (Jelic 61), Traustason; Joelinton (Kvilitaia 61)
Ref: Pawson (ENG)
Watch Serie A live in the UK on Premier Sports for just £11.99 per month including live LaLiga, Eredivisie, Scottish Cup Football and more. Visit: https://subscribe.premiersports.tv/