Sassuolo largely dominated this match, yet needed a Medhi Bourabia free kick to scrape a point after Giovanni Simeone’s Cagliari header.
Eusebio Di Francesco made his debut on the Sardinian bench against the club where he first made his name and had new signings in the starting XI, Razvan Marin and 20-year-old Fabrizio Caligara, moving Nahitan Nandez into the trident. Federico Peluso was suspended for Sassuolo, with Jeremie Boga, Francesco Magnanelli and Filippo Romagna injured, but Domenico Berardi recovered from a calf issue.
It was a ferocious start from the hosts, with a series of shots including Berardi’s volley inches wide and Lukas Haraslin free kick deflected off target, but the domination was above all in terms of possession.
Once the initial tempo dropped, Cagliari got into the game more, even creating a scoring opportunity with Giovanni Simeone’s header on to the roof of the net from a short corner.
Haraslin tested Alessio Cragno with his header on a floated Berardi cross to the back post, while Nandez stung Andrea Consigli’s gloves with a powerful strike.
Pedro Obiang’s attempt was powerful, but too central, and Ciccio Caputo turned over, then Berardi’s curler skimmed the bar, so eventually Sassuolo were made to pay for their failure to finish off chances.
Cagliari broke the deadlock when Zappa won back the ball in midfield and Joao Pedro floated in a cross for Simeone’s diving header, peeling away from defenders at the back post.
Moments later, Sassuolo almost equalised, but Cragno made himself big to come tearing out when Caputo was sent clear.
Simeone had the ball in the net again, but was offside on the Nandez pass this time.
Sassuolo got a deserved equaliser with a magnificent free kick from substitute Bourabia, who curled it up and over the wall, dipping into the near top corner.
Suddenly, the momentum was back with the Neroverdi and Berardi’s rocket was charged down by Fabio Pisacane and Cagliari were back where they started the game, under siege.
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