Sassuolo dismantled Brescia 3-0 thanks to goals from Francesco Caputo and Jeremie Boga, but it could've been a lot worse for the away side.
The hosts started the game brightly and had an early chance, with Filip Djuricic shooting straight at Brescia keeper Jesse Joronen in the eighth minute.
Neither side was able to exert control on the match in the opening half an hour, with the ball going from one end to the next.
However, Domenico Berardi’s evening ended in the 26th minute, after the attacking midfielder pulled up holding his groin.
Berardi tried to battle on for several minutes, but succumbed to his injury and Gregoire Defrel replaced him on what was Berardi’s 250th appearance for the Neroverdi.
Balotelli, who had been quiet up until this point, stung the palms of Andrea Consigli in the 34th minute with a long-range shot, which the goalkeeper pushed out for a corner.
From the resulting corner, Balotelli then forced Consigli into another save, this time from 6 yards out.
The tide was turning, and persistent pressure paid off for the Neroverdi as Caputo scored just on the stroke of half time. A poorly hit shot from Defrel made its way to Caputo, who made no mistake from five yards out. It was Caputo’s 12th goal of the season.
The second half began with the home side hitting the crossbar through Gian Marco Ferrari’s header from a corner.
Manuel Locatelli forced a great save from Joronen from a free kick from all of 25 yards out.
Balotelli picked up a yellow card for a late challenge, and will therefore miss Brescia’s next game against Fiorentina.
Seconds later, Sassuolo made it 2-0, with Caputo getting his second.
The striker latched on to an over-the-top through ball from Mehdi Bourabia, and smashed a volley in off the underside of the bar.
Caputo later went close to his hat-trick, but his shot was well saved by Joronen, as the Neroverdi pressure continued to mount.
Boga and Rogerio then combined down the left hand side of the pitch before Boga’s shot cannoned back off the post.
Minutes later, Boga did indeed get his goal, after shrugging off several Rondinelle players on the left-hand side, Boga ran into the box, before cutting inside and placing a shot into the top corner of Joronen’s goal.
Sassuolo piled forward in search of a fourth, but a combination of missed chances and indecision denied the Neroverdi.
Brescia now haven't won in 11 games.
See the latest Serie A predictions and betting tips with Eurotips.co.uk