Bologna saw off local rivals Sassuolo for a much-needed win thanks to Erick Pulgar’s precise long-range free kick.
This was an Emilia-Romagna Derby and a relegation tussle with both teams on the slide. Rodrigo Palacio, Adam Masina and Ibrahima Mbaye were suspended for the hosts, with Simone Verdi injured, so Mattia Destro and Cesar Falletti got rare starts. Timo Letschert was the only Neroverdi absentee.
Bologna came out fighting from the start, threatening with Destro and Federico Di Francesco before the opening goal. Di Francesco’s cross looped past both Destro and Francesco Magnanelli, finding Andrea Poli to guide it in from close range.
Sassuolo had their first chance of the game after 19 minutes, Antonio Mirante alert after Domenico Berardi and Matteo Politano combined.
Andrea Consigli had his gloves stung by Blerim Dzemaili and Sassuolo equalised, as Emil Krafth’s attempts to clear a corner just put the ball on Babacar to tap in.
An acrobatic Destro volley with most of his back to goal was parried by Consigli, but then Sassuolo took control Babacar missed from a couple of promising situations and Krafth made a decisive block to stop Politano meeting a Pol Lirola cross at the back post.
Lirola risked an own goal at the other end to anticipate Destro, but Edoardo Goldaniga saw red in the final minutes for a second bookable offence. However, it seemed a harsh decision.
From the resulting free kick 25 metres out, Erick Pulgar directed a ground-to-air missile into the top corner to restore Bologna’s lead.
Nonetheless, 10-man Sassuolo nearly equalised deep into stoppages, as Mirante flew to parry from point-blank range on Antonino Ragusa and the rebound went over the bar.
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Sent off: Goldaniga 86 (S)