Sassuolo gave Spezia a rude awakening to life in Serie A with a clinical 4-1 away victory in Sunday's early kick-off.
Spezia made history with their first-ever Serie A goal to cancel out Filip Djuricic’s sensational solo finish, but Sassuolo killed the game off with three goals in 12 second-half minutes, while VAR denied Ciccio Caputo a hat-trick.
The new boys handed debuts to Jeroen Zoet, Jacopo Sala, Cristian Dell’Orco, Tommaso Pobega and Kevin Agudelo on their maiden Serie A voyage against the Neroverdi trident of Domenico Berardi, Gregoire Defrel and Caputo.
Marlon was absent from Sassuolo’s squad, presumably as he closes in on a move to Premier League side Fulham, while wing wizard Jeremie Boga was also absent, having been struck down by COVID-19.
Despite Boga’s absence, Djuricic was in the mood to cause damage and he broke the deadlock, nutmegging his opponent before coolly finishing across Zoet.
Ciccio Caputo thought he had doubled Sassuolo’s lead, when he netted from close range after a header dropped to him in the box, but a five-minute VAR review ended with no goal being given.
Spezia promptly drew level through striker Andriy Galabinov, who peeled off Vlad Chiriches and nodded in Matteo Ricci’s cross for their first-ever Serie A goal.
Sassuolo almost regained their advantage just before the break, but Manuel Locatelli’s free kick deflected on to the woodwork.
They flew out the traps in the second half, but Defrel’s cross-shot to finish off a lovely one-touch move was cleared off the line.
It was proving a frustrating afternoon in particular for Caputo, who had two more expert finishes chalked off for offside.
Nonetheless, the difference lay with Domenico Berardi after he sent a penalty, won by Ciccio, straight down the middle of Zoet’s goal.
Caputo did get his goal with 15 minutes left, effortlessly hooking a volley home from a few yards out.
Spezia were outclassed but certainly weren’t outfought as Galabinov hit the crossbar with a header and substitute Luca Mora forced Andrea Consigli into a save from close range.
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