Jose Mourinho Gives His Assessment of Roma’s Nerve-Shredding Win over Sassuolo

Roma edged past Sassuolo 2-1 in a breathtaking match at the Stadio Olimpico on Sunday night to maintain a perfect start to the new Serie A season. Late second-half substitute Stephan El Shaarawy slotted home a screamer in the stoppage time to give his side all three in a tense, eagerly-contested showdown in the capital.

For the first time in his trophy-laden managerial career, Jose Mourinho has managed to win all five opening games at a new club, courtesy of El Shaarawy’s potential goal of the weekend. Roma drew first blood eight minutes before the break through Bryan Cristante, who smashed the ball past Andrea Consigli after an audacious free-kick from Henrikh Mkhitaryan.

Actually, it was Sassuolo to open the scoring midway through the first half. However, the VAR interrupted the visitors’ short-lived celebration as Giacomo Raspadori was just a fraction offside. The Neroverdi refused to give up their hopes of upsetting the capital, with Serbia international Filip Djuricic pouncing on Domenico Berardi’s low cross to settle the score just before the hour mark.

Sassuolo were better of the two sides in a frenetic second half that produced an intense end-to-end action. Rui Patricio came up big on two occasions to deny the likes of Berardi and Jeremy Boga, while Hamed Junior Traore saw his well-driven low effort rattled off the post. 

As it’s often been the case in football, Alessio Dionisi’s men were brutally punished for wasted opportunities in the dying moments of the match. El Shaarawy struck the ball first time with power and precision as it bounced off the post into the net in the 91st minute. It wasn’t the end of the drama.

Second-half substitute Gianluca Scammaca brought down an inch-perfect long-ball and unleashed a rocket into the top-right corner. Like in the first half, the VAR came to Roma’s rescue, finding the young Italian striker slightly behind the hosts’ backline.

During the post-game interview, Mourinho admitted it meant a lot to mark his 1000th managerial match with a victory.

During the week I was a liar even with myself, I wanted to convince myself that it was not a special match, but instead it is special. 1,000 games is a lot and I didn’t want a defeat, I was afraid of losing,” he said, as cited by TUTTOmercatoWEB.

It was an incredible feeling, it could have finished even 6-6 or they could have won if not for the parades of Rui Patricio. We missed a few sitters with the goal practically empty, for those who are neutral it was an extraordinary game.

Today I was not 58 years old but 12, it was a child’s race. I have already apologized to Dionisi, I congratulate them. It was a fantastic match.”