Sassuolo had the ball in the net four times, yet lost 2-0, as VAR came down hard on the Neroverdi and Napoli scored with rare Elseid Hysaj and Allan goals.
The Partenopei had Arkadiusz Milik back from suspension, while Medhi Bourabia sat out a ban for the visitors, with Jeremie Boga, Gregoire Defrel, Pedro Obiang and Filippo Romagna injured. These teams were some of the most prolific following the lockdown, but also had defensive issues, so entertainment was expected.
Sassuolo had a very aggressive start with Filip Djuricic firing over, as did Lorenzo Insigne, but the deadlock was broken by an unexpected source.
Elseid Hysaj cut inside from the left on the edge of the area and hit a sudden right-foot strike into the far bottom corner, his very first goal in a Napoli jersey. He’d only previously found the net once in Serie A for Empoli.
It was a wide open game, as expected, with Insigne running on to the Piotr Zielinski through ball to dink it past on-rushing Andrea Consigli and inches wide.
Zielinski then went for goal himself, drilling past the same far post, while Sassuolo had the ball in the net on 32 minutes with Filip Djuricic’s toe-poke past David Ospina, but he was flagged offside.
Jose Callejon made his traditional run to the back post to meet an Insigne cross, but shinned it wide this time.
Sassuolo had the ball in the net for a second time on 36 minutes, as Hamed Junior Traore broke away down the left, forced a save from David Ospina and Djuricic blasted in the follow-up. However, once again, it was ruled offside, this time for Traore’s position.
Hysaj threatened to score a brace, running on to Insigne’s through ball and forcing a save at the near post.
Djuricic was the main danger for Sassuolo, another powerful strike from the D palmed round the base of the upright by Ospina.
Muldur went off with an ankle injury at the break, but straight away Zielinski’s ferocious volley was fingertipped on to the side-netting.
Sassuolo incredibly had their third goal of the game disallowed on 49 minutes, as Francesco Caputo’s strike came after Domenico Berardi had been caught out.
Kostas Manolas hobbled off with an ice-pack on his ribs in evident pain. Not as much pain as Sassuolo when they saw their fourth goal of the game ruled offside, this one for Caputo in the build-up before the Berardi finish.
Dries Mertens came off the bench and was immediately booked for a body-check on Traore, so will be suspended against Inter.
Matteo Politano nearly doubled Napoli’s lead late on, but his effort from 12 yards bounced off the base of the far post.
Napoli locked down the points in stoppages when Mertens ran on to a flicked header, spotted Allan out the corner of his eye and provided a no-look pass for the Brazilian to drill into the far bottom corner.
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