This may have been José Mourinho's 1,000th match in charge as a professional manager, but for the first time in his illustrious career, he finally knows what it's like to lead a team as dramatic as Roma. Thanks to the international break sapping some of his key players of their usual vigor, Roma was plagued by some heavy legs this evening as they hosted Sassuolo at the Stadio Olimpico, resulting in some...shall we say...uneven football from the Giallorossi throughout the evening.
While both sides were pretty evenly matched through the opening 15 to 20 minutes, Sassuolo seemed to grab the early initiative when Domenico Berardi beat Rui Patricio low and away in the 26th minute. And just for a moment, it looked like the visitors would rain on Roma's parade but the goal was disallowed thanks to an excruciatingly close offside call.
But that close call definitely had Roma, Mourinho, and all of us at home on edge. However, after shaking off that initial rust, Roma grabbed a lead late in the first half thanks to one of the most ingenious setpieces you'll ever see. With Lorenzo Pellegrini using the pre-free-kick histrionics to mask what was essentially a through ball into the box for Bryan Cristante, he caught the Sassuolo defense off-guard. With the Neroverdi setting up to defend your standard, lofted free-kick into the area, they were completely unprepared to defend Pellegrini's clever ball into the box, which caught Cristante in stride for a one-timed goal.
The winds would shift shortly thereafter, with Sassuolo finding a bit more time and space once the second half began. While Filip Djuricic would notch a 57th-minute equalizer, Mourinho's 1,000th match as professional manager ended with a classic Roma finish—an edge of your set, blink-and-you'll-miss-it match-winner from Stephan El Shaarawy.
If you weren't fortunate enough to catch all 95ish minutes this evening, we've got you covered!
Extended highlights are also available here.