Lorenzo Pellegrini scored against his former club, but Sassuolo earned a 1-1 draw with Roma’s late potential winner disallowed.
It was a reunion for Eusebio Di Francesco and Lorenzo Pellegrini, although fellow ex-Sassuolo man Gregoire Defrel was out injured. The Neroverdi were revitalised under new Coach Beppe Iachini, notching up three consecutive victories, including a success over Inter before Christmas. Claud Adjapong, Stefano Sensi, Davide Biondini and Timo Letschert didn’t make the trip, while Domenico Berardi wasn’t even on the bench due to an injury is yesterday’s training session.
Paolo Cannavaro was given his final run-out, as he’s retiring to join brother Fabio in the management staff of Guangzhou Evergrande.
Alessandro Florenzi celebrated his 200th appearance in a Roma jersey, but it was Alisson who was kept busy early on, getting down quickly to deny Matteo Politano’s toe-poke at the near post.
It was a very open game with the Neroverdi giving a good account of themselves, but ex-Sassuolo man Pellegrini put Roma in front.
Schick’s failed attempt at a dummy allowed Edin Dzeko to roll across for Pellegrini’s sweeping finish from 12 yards. He kept his celebrations to a minimum against his former teammates.
Sassuolo continued to impress, Alisson controlling Antonino Ragusa’s strike at the base of the near post and Kostas Manolas sliding in to block Politano’s shot.
Manolas perhaps sustained an injury during that move and was replaced at half-time by Juan Jesus, while disappointing Schick made way for Stephan El Shaarawy.
Radja Nainggolan robbed Cannavaro, surged forward and forced a low fingertip save at the near post, but at the other end Ragusa fired over the bar on another counter-attack.
Edin Dzeko had the ball in the net with a sensational rising strike from the tightest of angles, but had wandered marginally offside. The Bosnian tried again, curling just wide from the edge of the penalty area.
Sassuolo finally got the equaliser they deserved with 12 minutes to go, as Federico Peluso’s cross from the left found the head of Simone Missiroli from 12 yards.
Roma thought they had restored their lead on 85 minutes with Florenzi, who ran on to a Dzeko flicked pass to dink it over the on-rushing Andrea Consigli. However, while Florenzi was not offside, Cengiz Under was and he actively got in the way of Missiroli, preventing the Sassuolo man from running into the area.