Bologna got back to winning ways versus Sassuolo Sunday evening. The home side started the game in a bright fashion thanks to Andrea Poli’s early goal, and should have led by more than one goal when Sassuolo equalized. The away side grew into the game after their goal, but Bologna won thanks to Erick Pulgar’s brilliant free kick.
Because of the many absentees, the coach made several alterations to his side. As expected, Vasilis Torosidis stepped in at left back for the suspended Adam Masina, whilst Emil Krafth took over for Ibrahima M’baye on the right. Mattia Destro returned to the line-up for the suspended Rodrigo Palacio, whilst the last change was César Falletti in for Riccardo Orsolini.
What we learned:
The team started the game in a strong fashion, in stark contrast to other games of late. The passing was incisive, the movement was excellent, as all players were fluid so that their team mates always had someone whom to pass the ball. Several chances came out of this dominant period, and Bologna should have scored more than the one goal before Sassuolo eventually got their equalizer. This period of the game was the best Bologna have performed for quite some time, and if they can replicate this going forward, several teams will be troubled. However, one thing is to let Sassuolo score such an easy goal, another thing is how the team responded to it. Sassuolo took over the game from that point on, and Bologna were under a lot of pressure at times. Roberto Donadoni need to make sure that his team can handle setbacks during the game, as this kind of response is unforgivable.
As a result of the many absences, several of the team’s fringe players got a chance to prove their worth to the team. In defence, Krafth and Torosidis got their chances to impress because of suspensions. Krafth struggled during the game, and was to blame for Sassuolo’s goal. Torosidis on the other hand did quite well at times, and, in particular, had one crucial intervention. However, as I discussed in the wake of the loss against Inter when Masina and M’baye both got sent off, Bologna need to strengthen their full back areas. This impression was also evident today, as neither of the deputies imposed themselves on the game. Further ahead on the pitch, Falletti got a rare opportunity to start a game in the absence of Palacio. He did well, although he did not dominate in the same manner as Palacio often does. Federico Di Francesco, however, did very well throughout the game as he made a case for himself starting matches in the future when Palacio and Simone Verdi both return. Finally, Ladislav Krejci was put on, and he won the free kick which Pulgar brilliantly slotted home to secure the three points. Donadoni therefore got many positive answers from the attacking fringe players.
The speculation around Mattia Destro’s determination was wrong. The coach has made some comments recently about the striker’s level of determination, but denied any problems between the two in his press conference before the game against Sassuolo. Destro returned to the line-up in this game, and played the full ninety minutes, something which he has rarely done this season. He didn’t get a goal, but he worked hard throughout the match, won some important headers, and fought for his team. His lack of a goal cannot be put on him, as he did not get the best of service. Despite speculation about his future, Destro put in a good performance, and hopefully he’ll build on it going forward, without any more controversies surrounding him.
Andrea Poli: The midfielder was Bologna’s best player throughout the game. He scored a goal, worked hard throughout the match, and led by example. He was aggressive, secure with the ball at his feet, and succeeded with most of his passes. He is therefore our pick for man of the match.
Bologna’s next match is on Saturday at home versus Genoa. This is a game that Bologna, on paper, should win. Bologna have got the better team, and with three first-team players returning from suspension, Donadoni can field a very strong eleven. However, Genoa have impressed lately, and most recently won 2-0 at home versus Inter. They will be full of confidence, but Bologna can beat them if they play like they did the first half hour of the game versus Sassuolo.
What did you think of the game? Tell us in the comments below!
Photo: Bologna FC