Marcello Trotta and Simy bagged a brace each to demolish Sassuolo and pull themselves further away from the relegation zone.
The Calabrese club had just escaped the drop zone thanks to a 1-1 with Juventus and victory at Udinese, but remained only two points clear of the bottom three. Sassuolo had broken well clear with an eight-point gap and were unbeaten in eight rounds, but weren’t entirely safe yet. Ahmad Benali and Ante Budimir were still out injured, though Simy had found form at the right time with two goals in as many games. The Neroverdi missed Stefano Sensi, Edoardo Goldaniga, Pol Lirola and suspended Claud Adjapong.
Crotone had never beaten Sassuolo in the top flight, managing a draw here last season and two defeats at the Mapei Stadium.
It took all of three minutes to break the deadlock, as Marcello Trotta – who is still owned by Sassuolo – scored against his parent club with a ferocious strike from 20 metres out into the far bottom corner.
If Andrea Consigli was slow to get down to that one, he did even worse on the second goal. The ‘keeper flapped a Bruno Martella cross on to the shoulder of Simy and it ricocheted in from a yard, almost without realising it. Nonetheless, it was the Nigerian striker’s third consecutive game on target, four goals in the last five matches.
Andrea Nalini deserved most of the credit for the third, as he gathered from midfield, sprinted forward and at full stretch managed to steer it across the face of goal for Trotta to tap in.
Simy nodded a corner over, but there was a bizarre incident when Khouma Babacar was warming up on the touchline and accidentally clattered the assistant referee, leaving the official in need of treatment.
Sassuolo did get one back with a contentious penalty, decided via VAR, as it’s arguable Politano kicked Marco Capuano rather than the other way round, but Domenico Berardi buried it anyway.
It was only a false dawn, because the Neroverdi made precious little impact in the second half. Francesco Acerbi tried to redirect a wayward effort from substitute Babacar and Alfred Duncan fired well wide.
Simy nearly completed his brace with a turn and shot beaten away at the near post and he did get it in the final minute, twisting and turning to confuse Federico Peluso before scuffing the finish from 12 yards.
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