Roma vs Sassuolo 2-1 – Late El Shaarawy Strike Rescues the Romans

Jose Mourinho’s dream Serie A return continued on Sunday, as Roma beat Sassuolo 2-1 at the Stadio Olimpico.

The Roma squad was poor defensively throughout the night and looked incredibly susceptible to the speed of Sassuolo’s forwards, nearly conceding on breakaways numerous times. The hosts missed several golden opportunities of their own, relying on a brilliant strike in added time by Stephan El Shaarawy to rescue the win.

Mourinho ran out his familiar 4-2-3-1. Playmakers Tammy Abraham and Henrikh Mkhitaryan led Roma’s attack, while Roger Ibanez and Gianluca Mancini formed the core of the defense.

Sassuolo also deployed a 4-2-3-1, with 21-year-old Giacomo Raspadori earning the start at striker. As the visitors lost both Ciccio Caputo and Manuel Locatelli during the transfer window, the Neroverdi attack needed to run through its young forward and Domenico Berardi.

Jordan Veretout nearly opened the scoring in the 10th minute after Sassuolo turned the ball over in the defensive third. The Frenchman received the ball at the top of the box unmarked, but his shot went far above the crossbar.

Sassuolo countered minutes later when Raspadori played a back-pass to Berardi in the box. The winger had a look on-goal, but Rui Patricio easily saved the weak shot.

The match continued to be an open, end-to-end affair. Sassuolo nearly scored again when Berardi intercepted a misfired pass from Ibanez, but Filip Duricic’s close-range shot flew just wide of the net.

Alessio Dionisi’s side continued to create quality attacks, testing Roma’s centre-backs and defensive midfield. The Giallorossi found their own space in the attacking half, but struggled to connect with Abraham in the final third.

The English striker finally got his first chance after a low pass from Lorenzo Pellegrini. Abraham, clear of defenders, took a curling one-touch shot, but the ball bounced just right of the post.

Later, a fantastic set piece opened the scoring for Roma. After a foul in the attacking third, Pellegrini, rather than crossing to the back post, placed a strong pass into the box. It caught Sassuolo completely by surprise, and Bryan Cristante easily fired a shot past Andrea Consigli.


Dionisi began the second half by replacing Raspadori with Gianluca Scamacca. The substitute made an immediate impact and looked far more dangerous than his counterpart.

Sassuolo’s young forwards continued to threaten. Roma’s defense allowed their opponents too much space in the midfield, resulting in numerous through-balls that resulted in high-danger chances for the opposition.

A wonderful ball from Scamacca brought the visitors level. The forward found Berardi, who, after a skillful turn, played in Duricic at point-blank range. The midfielder gave Rui Patricio no chance to save his bouncing shot, silencing the home crowd.

The goal against seemed to wake Roma’s forwards from their slumber. The home side began a sudden barrage of chances, nearly scoring three times in the minutes just after the concession.

Sassuolo almost went in front after another opportunity for Berardi. Released by a through-ball from Jeremie Boga, the forward took a seemingly unmissable shot, but Rui Patricio’s trailing foot just deflected it over the goal.

A frantic final ten minutes saw both sides continue to attack, with Roma dramatically breaking the deadlock in added time. Substitute Stephan El Shaarawy took a ferocious strike from the edge of the box, just curling the ball past Consigli.

Bizarrely, the referee allowed play to continue well past the allotted three minutes of extra time, nearly creating controversy when Scamacca fired a shot into the net. However, the young striker was judged to be offside, and Roma escaped with the three points.