Bologna snatched a last-gasp victory in the Emilia-Romagna Derby with Orji Okwonwko after Sassuolo captain Francesco Magnanelli saw red.
The Neroverdi ended their negative streak with a surprise midweek win away to Cagliari and welcomed Domenico Berardi back from injury to partner Alessandro Matri. Bologna were unlucky to only draw 1-1 with Inter on Tuesday, but Roberto Donadoni changed tactics amid an injury crisis, missing Antonio Mirante, Ladislav Krejci, Cheick Keita, Cesar Falletti and not 100 per cent fit Federico Di Francesco.
Bologna had won both their last two trips to the Mapei Stadium with clean sheets since a 2-1 loss here in October 2013.
Simone Missiroli’s early header was into the arms of Angelo Da Costa, then the goalkeeper stuck out a foot to deny Alessandro Matri in a one-on-one situation after Claud Adjapong’s powerful run.
Alfred Duncan blasted over from distance, but Sassuolo struggled to turn their greater possession into genuine scoring opportunities.
Bologna came out fighting for the second half, as within 60 seconds Donsah has burst down the left and rolled across for Palacio, who sliding in turned inches wide at the back post.
Moments later, Donsah unleashed a rocket that Andrea Consigli palmed out from under the bar. Timo Letschert needed a crucial last-ditch tackle to stop Simone Verdi scoring from an Erick Pulgar through ball.
Berardi had a wonderful opportunity on 62 minutes, as he anticipated Da Costa and turned to chip it from practically the corner flag, but the goalkeeper scrambled back enough to flap it away from the empty net.
At the other end, Pulgar’s free kick dipped at the last moment, pushed round the post by Consigli. Sassuolo had to finish the game with 10 men, as captain Francesco Magnanelli was sent off for two bookable offences in the space of six minutes.
Bologna kept pushing and found a way through in the final minute of normal time. Bruno Petkovic’s through ball released Palacio and the veteran fired straight at Consigli, but Orji Okwonwko was ready to tap in the rebound from seven yards. It was his first Serie A goal on his ninth appearance.
It was almost 1-1 at the 93rd, as Adjapong chested and controlled to smash the half-volley inches past the far post.
Bologna threatened another with the last kick of the game, Okwonwko allowing Palacio to spring the offside trap, but the lob was cleared off the line by Letschert.
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Sent off: Magnanelli 80 (S)