Verona ruined Alberto Malesani’s Sassuolo debut with a 2-1 victory at the Mapei Stadium.
Alberto Malesani made his debut on the Sassuolo bench and immediately threw seven January signings into the starting XI. Paolo Cannavaro, Matteo Brighi and Sergio Floccari received their Neroverdi debuts against Malesani’s former club with the ex-Napoli hero wearing the captain’s armband. Luca Antei was suspended with Alessandro Gazzola, Francesco Acerbi, Emanuele Terranova and Masucci sidelined. Verona were coming off three consecutive defeats and without the injured Domenico Maietta and Alessandro Agostini.
Emil Hallfredsson drilled just over the bar from distance, as did Reto Ziegler at the other end, while Luca Toni turned wide on the turn.
Gianluca Pegolo performed a fine one-handed save on Toni’s looping header, though he had been flagged offside anyway.
Verona broke the deadlock after the restart thanks to a gift from Tomas Manfredini. He was at full stretch trying to stop Hallfredsson’s low cross from the left reach Toni in the six-yard box, but only ended up prodding the ball into his own net.
Sassuolo captain Cannavaro rushed back to block Juan Iturbe’s shot, turning it out for a corner, and from that set play Bosko Jankovic volleyed over off the outside of his boot.
Pegolo desperately scrambled the ball off the line to prevent Ziegler scoring an own goal, as replays showed it did not cross over completely.
Verona eventually put the result beyond doubt in the final minutes when Luca Toni sprung the offside trap from a flick-on and smartly lobbed the goalkeeper from the edge of the box.
Sassuolo got a consolation goal deep into stoppages when Domenico Berardi’s free kick found an Antonio Floro Flores looping header into the far top corner.
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