Gianluca Busio and Venezia had a rough outing in a road loss at Sassuolo, while Weston McKennie earned the start for Juventus in their come-from-behind draw in the Derby d’Italia at Inter Milan.
Sassuolo 3 – 1 Venezia FC
Gianluca Busio could only manage a half of action in Venezia’s visit to Sassuolo on Saturday, coming off following the break after suffering a hard knock in the team’s difficult loss.
Tanner Tessmann made his first competitive appearance for the Winged Lions since September, playing the final 22 minutes of regulation in place of Ethan Ampadu.
Already in the third minute, Busio was in agony on the turf, after he went in for a hard challenge on Gianluca Scamacca that appeared to have done more damage to the American than to his target.
While he was able to eventually continue playing for the remainder of the first half, this likely was the trigger for his eventual replacement after the break, as he was helped off the field at the half apparently in considerable pain.
Nevertheless, Venezia did take an early advantage in the 32nd minute, after an apparent moment of confusion between Thomas Henry and David Okereke on a counter eventually ended up with the Nigerian attacker floating a strike from the left side of the area inside the far post.
Sassuolo were quick to strike back, with Domenico Berardi making fools out of the defense to create the space and perfect angle for an 18-yard shot to pull the score even in the 37th minute.
Despite appearing up to the task for the first 45, the visitors collapsed after the break with Henry gifting their hosts the advantage in the 50th minute when he headed a corner into his own net, and the defense caught napping as Davide Frattesi streaked through to put away a through-ball from Giacomo Raspadori for 3-1.
Tessmann entered the fray in the 68th minute and appeared to contribute to a deficit-cutting goal in the 79th minute by Francesco Forte, but the potential lifeline was correctly called back for offside.
In the end, Sassuolo held on for the victory, dropping Venezia down to 16th place. They have a short turnaround, returning to action on Tuesday evening with a home game against Salernitana.
Inter Milan 1 – 1 Juventus
Weston McKennie earned a second straight start for Juventus, as they kept it tight against Inter Milan and eventually fought back for a draw on a controversial penalty on Sunday night.
After putting in a good shift in Juve’s midweek Champions League victory, McKennie was once again in Massimiliano Allegri’s starting eleven, manning the central midfield alongside Manuel Locatelli.
While he was pulled shortly before the late equalizing goal, the American performed well in his 83 minutes on the field, completing close to 90% of his passes, making three interceptions and keeping pressure on the Inter midfield.
Inter took the lead after 17 minutes in dramatic and unexpected fashion; Hakan Calhanoglu unleashed a thunderous 25-yard blast from out of nowhere that bounced off of the right upright. With Juve keeper Wojciech Szczesny having been taken by surprise and fully committed to an attempted save, he was woefully unprepared for the ball to bounce directly in front of goal for Eden Dzeko slap over the line for 1-0.
Juve kept the game close and were finally rewarded for their tenacity when they received a controversial 89th-minute VAR decision that gave them the chance to pull even from the spot. Inter midfielder Denzel Dumfries made incidental contact with Alex Sandro just inside the edge of the penalty area, and after a lengthy VAR review, referee Maurizio Mariani felt as though he had no choice but to point to the spot.
Paolo Dybala stepped up and buried the ensuing spot kick to the left side of goal, securing the point for the visitors.
The result brings Juventus to the cusp of the top four, just behind fifth-place Atalanta by goal differential. They will next suit up on Wednesday evening when they host Sassuolo.
Frosinone 2 – 1 Ascoli
Andrija Novakovich played the final half-hour for Frosinone, as they continued their climb in the Serie B table with a win over Ascoli.
Giuseppe Barone did not suit up for the visitors.
Frosinone took the lead two minutes past the half-hour when Federico Gatti headed in a free kick, and looked to have made it 2-0 shortly after, but Gabriel Charpentier’s short toe-tap was called back for offside.
They did succeed in doubling their lead in the 48th minute with Matto Ricci slamming home from the edge of the six-yard box. While Soufiane Bidaoui’s emphatic strike did cut the lead to a single goal with 25 minutes remaining, the hosts held on for the victory.
Frosinone climb to seventh place with the win, and will return to the field on Thursday with a visit to Alessandria. Ascoli drop to ninth, and will next host SPAL Ferrara on Thursday.
Bryan Reynolds was not in uniform for Roma on Sunday evening, as the team continued their poor run of form with a stale scoreless draw at home against Napoli. Expressing dissatisfaction with his bench options following the midweek 6-1 loss in Norway, Roma head coach Jose Mourinho threw a tantrum by filling his bench with inexperienced youth-team players, who were all unused substitutes in the end, and getting ejected from the field by the referee late in the game for complaining to the referee.