Last season’s Serie B winners have picked up four wins, two draws and 11 defeats at the Stadio Città del Tricolore in their first ever top flight campaign, a return which currently constitutes the division’s weakest home record.
After beginning the campaign with heavy humblings at the hands of Livorno (1-4) and Inter (0-7), Eusebio Di Francesco’s men steadied the ship with September’s 2-2 draw against Lazio before earning their first home win at the fourth time of asking against Bologna.
What appeared to mark a potential turning point instead proved a false dawn as Sassuolo continued to struggle in front of their home crowd, with defeats to Udinese, Chievo, Fiorentina and Torino following in the subsequent six games.
These disappointments were, however, alleviated by some more positive moments: November’s 2-0 win over Atalanta and January’s Domenico Berardi-inspired 4-3 thriller against Milan.
Their last success in Emilia-Romagna came in mid-March, when strikes from Simone Zaza, Simone Missiroli and Nicola Sansone saw them leapfrog relegation rivals Catania and climb off the foot of the table.
Since then, Sassuolo have gone on to lose twice and draw once in front of their own fans, but they will be hoping to draw confidence from a three-game unbeaten run when taking on Antonio Conte’s league leaders on Monday night.
Last home game: Sassuolo 1-1 Cagliari, 12 April.
While the result undoubtedly enabled the Neroverdi to pick up another important point in their battle to beat the drop, they will ultimately have rued an opportunity missed after seeing Zaza’s opener cancelled just minutes after the restart.
The hosts’ building momentum throughout the first half enabled them to take the lead eight minutes ahead of the break, Zaza rifling a left-footed shot home after being picked out by Sansone.
But Luca Antei’s mistimed challenge on Victor Ibarbo handed the visitors a lifeline from the penalty spot on 47 minutes. This opportunity was gleefully accepted by Agim Ibraimi, who smashed past Gianluca Pegolo to celebrate Rossoblu coach Ivo Pulga’s return to the dugout with a well-earned point.