It was the story of a former player out to prove a point today. Nicola Sansone gave Parma the run around this afternoon with an outstanding performace. It was only 14 months ago Sansone was wearing the colours of Parma, but with opportunities limited Sansone was allowed to leave for Sassuolo where he is now one of Serie A’s hottest young prospects.
The Boys 1977 travelled in force today to support their troubled club, and the started the game well, with Ishak Belfodil continuing his good form causing some early problems. It was Belfodil who earned the away side a dangerous freekick on the edge of the box on the five minute mark, but Jose Mauri sent the ball sailing over the bar.
The home side settled and they would take the lead on the 23rd minute, with Parma failing to deal with a cross from the right Sansone was found ghosting in to tap home from close range, on second viewing there may have been suspicions of offside but the goal stood. The lead would only last three minutes though as Parma new boy Andi Lila cut in side to let fly from some 20 yards, his effort taking a huge deflection taking it past the helpless Andrea Consigli in the Sassuolo goal.
Parma were level for just ten minutes, As Nicola Sansone put his team back in front and in spectacular fashion, Sansone receiving the ball some 30 yards out hit an incredible thunderbolt which had Antonio Mirante desperately diving to his left, but Sansone had beaten him all ends up, it was a truly special strike from a special young player. Robert Donadoni’s side just couldn’t deal with their former colleague, and as half time drew near Sansone was at it again dancing round the Parma defence setting up Domenico Berardi who fired high and wide.
Eusabio Di Francesco’s side should have been out of sight 10 minutes into the second half as Simone Zaza left Mattia Cassani for dead with his blistering pace forcing a good stop out of Mirante. Donadoni threw on Massimo Coda as Parma chased an equaliser. Sassuolo would be out of site however as on the hour mark Antonio Mirante was alleged to have clipped Sansone’s heals as he bared down on goal, Mirante would see red and Domenico Berardi would step up to make it 3-1 sending Alessandro Iacobucci the wrong way. Things went from bad to worse for the visitors as Sansone set up Simone Missiroli to make it 4-1 with an impressive 20 yard strike, the ball kissing the inside of the post as it flew past the helpless Iacobucci.
Roberto Donadoni looked a broken man as he sat their slumped in his seat for the 90 minutes, it’s the first time this season it looks like Parma’s troubles have finally taken their toll on the manager. Parma would finally see the back of Sansone as Di Francesco replaced him with 20 minutes to go. Credit to Parma though as they could easily have let the heads go down and give up, they kept plugging away and were unlucky when Massimo Coda’s header was ruled out for an offside on Alessandro Lucarelli, Coda came close again moments later with a header from a Nocerino freekick but Consigli was equal to it.
4-1 was how it finished, today belonged to Sassuolo and in particular Nicola Sansone who ran the show against his former employers with an outstanding man of the match display.
Sassuolo: Consigli, Gazzola, Acerbi, Peluso, Longhi, Taider, Magnanelli, Missiroli (Biondini, 69), Berardi (Floro Flores, 69), Zaza, Sansone (Floccari, 73)
Parma: Mirante, Santacroce (Cassani, 46), Mendes, Lucarelli, Gobbi, Jose Mauri, Gallopa, Varela, (Iacobucci, 60) Lila (Costa, 58), Nocerino, Belfodil
By Giovanni Dougall