Sassuolo-Udinese and Cagliari-Verona are tied, salvation remains a puzzle


By John

Sassuolo-Udinese 1-1
NETWORKS: 41' pt Defrel, 44' pt Thauvin.
SASSUOLO (4-2-3-1): Tips 6; Toljan 6, Tressoldi 6, Ferrari 6, Doig 6; Racic 5.5 (27' Boloca 6.5), Henrique 6.5 (34' st Castillejo sv); Defrel 7 (34' st Bajrami sv), Thorstvedt 5.5, Laurienté 6.5 (46' st Volpato sv); Pinamonti 5.5. On the bench: Pegolo, Cragno, Kumbulla, Viti, Missori, Lipani, Obiang, Ceide. Coach: Ballardini 6.
UDINESE (3-5-2): Okoye 6; Ferreira 5.5, Bijol 6.5, Perez 5.5; Pereyra 6.5, Lovric 5.5 (32' st Zarraga 6), Walace 6, Samardzic 5, Kamara 6.5; Thauvin 7 (45' st Ehizibue sv), Lucca 6 (44' st Success sv). On the bench: Padelli, Silvestri, Kabasele, Giannetti, Ebosele, Kristensen, Tikvic, Zemura, Payero. Coach: Cioffi 6.
REFEREE: Blacksmiths of Ravenna 6.
NOTE: clear day; playing field in good condition. Booked: Lucca, Bijol, Doig. Corners: 10-1 for Sassuolo. Recovery: 1'; 4'.

Reggio Emilia – Sassuolo and Udinese drew 1-1 in one of the survival clashes of the thirtieth matchday of Serie A. At the Mapei Stadium the goals all came in the first half: Thauvin responded to Defrel's momentary lead. From what we saw on the pitch, the draw was fairer; the match is fought and without a real master. The first half is rather balanced. The two teams light up only thanks to the flames of the individuals: Pinamonti on one side, Lucca and Lovric on the other, are the only ones causing problems for the opposing goalkeepers. At the end of the half the game heated up and both teams scored. In the 41st minute Sassuolo scored first, thanks to Defrel, launched into space by a great ball from Matheus Henrique. The home team's joy, however, did not last long and, three minutes later, Udinese equalized through Thauvin, author of an easy touch in front of goal after Pereyra's assist.

In the second half Udinese were superior in terms of maneuvering, even if, like Sassuolo, the Friulians proved imprecise in the final metres. In the 69th minute the Bianconeri came close to taking the lead with Lovric's powerful shot which, however, hit the crossbar. The neroverdi were pardoned again in the 81st minute by the second woodwork of the day: Samardzic took a free kick from long range, on which no one intervened and the ball hit the post. In the final, the Neroverdi also tried, but the only real danger produced was Pinamonti's header in the 82nd minute. The draw is more useful to Udinese than to Sassuolo: the Friulians rise to 28 points in the standings, while the Emilians remain second to last but are one point away from “salvation”.

Cagliari-Verona 1-1
NETWORKS: 30'pt Bonazzoli; 29'st Sulemana.
CAGLIARI (4-3-1-2): Scuffet 6.5; Zappa 5, Dossena 5.5, Mina 6, Augello 6 (39'st Azzi sv); Nandez 6 (28'st Sulemana 7), Makoumbou 5 (28'st Oristanio 6), Deiola 5 (28'st Prati 6); Luvumbo 6.5; Shomurodov 5 (1'st Viola 6), Lapadula 6. On the bench: Radunovic, Aresti, Hatzidiakos, Jankto, Wieteska, Obert, Kingstone, Gaetano, Di Pardo. Coach: Ranieri 6.5.
VERONA (4-2-3-1): Montipò 6.5; Tchatchoua 6, Dawidowicz 6, Magnani 6, Cabal 6; Serdar 6.5, Duda 6.5; Mitrovic 6.5 (1'st Lazovic 6.5), Folorunsho 6.5, Noslin 6 (40'st Swiderski sv); Bonazzoli 6.5 (21'st Suslov 6). On the bench: Chiesa, Perilli, Henry, Centonze, Vinagre, Dani Silva, Charlys, Coppola, Cisse. Coach: Baroni (disqualified, Del Rosso on the bench) 6.5.
REFEREE: Duties of Aprilia 6.
NOTE: approximately 16,000 spectators. Booked: Duda, Magnani. Corners: 7-2 for Cagliari. Recovery: 2'; 7'.

Cagliari – Almost 77 minutes of nothing for the rossoblù then Claudio Ranieri changes three men in Cagliari's midfield and risks winning a match that seemed largely lost. Rossoblù in total doll. Zero shots on goal, zero game construction. In a match like this where life was at stake, the Sardinians lost their way for a long time, handing themselves over to a Verona team who only made a mistake in not sinking the shot. In the final, with a fresh midfield, it was Cagliari who went forward and came close to taking the lead but in the end the play-off ended at 1-1. Very tense first phases then, in the 15th minute, Shomurodov, assisted by Nandez, skidded close to the post. Few ideas, many long throws, the importance of what is at stake is fully felt. After half an hour, Zappa's mistake, Mitrovic changes play for Noslin who takes advantage of a distraction from Dossena and scores Scuffet: 0-1. Verona could double their lead in the 40th minute with a counterattack by Folonrusho but Scuffet did very well to counter the yellow-blue midfielder's conclusion. In the second half Viola comes on for Shomurodov but it is VAR that keeps Cagliari up when Zappa makes another mistake and Lazovic scores. A replay is needed to highlight an offside which cancels out Veronese's second goal. Cagliari relies on Luvumbo, Zappa misses the hook on Viola's cross in front of Montipò then Scuffet saves again on Lazovic (16'). Verona slows down the pace, Ranieri changes almost the entire midfield and the results prove him right. Luvumbo breaks through to the left, crosses, the Scaliger defense rejects, Sulemana shoots at the net, making the Sardinian Arena explode. In the final the match remains very uncertain. The stadium supports the rossoblù until the end, the pathos increases as the minutes pass, Luvumbo, in the 45th minute, exalts Montipò again, Verona closes in and saves itself.