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2014/2015 Italian Serie A
  • Gregoire Defrel (15')
  • Franco Brienza (29')
  • Simone Zaza (48')
  • Saphir Taïder (51')
  • Simone Missiroli (69')

Cesena 2-3 Sassuolo

Cesena's relegation from Serie A was confirmed as they let a two-goal lead slip to lose 3-2 at home to Sassuolo.
The team nicknamed the Seahorses would have been condemned to an instant return to the second tier even if they had held to win at the Stadio Dino Manuzzi, given 17th-placed Atalanta beat Palermo by the same scoreline on Sunday afternoon.
But the manner of their second-half capitulation to Sassuolo, which saw goals from Simone Zaza, Saphir Taider and Simone Missiroli cancel out earlier strikes from Gregoire Defrel and Franco Brienza - who had clearly taken notes from Barcelona's Lionel Messi this week - meant their displacement from the top flight will be harder to take.
After a tentative opening the game sparked into life when Taider produced the first shot of the game, Sassuolo's Algeria international blasting over the crossbar from just outside the area.
Cesena responded instantly, grabbing the opener in the 15th minute as Defrel used a burst of speed to dash between two defenders and latch onto Emmanuel Cascione's aerial through-ball to convert.
The visitors were rattled and struggled to respond, with Zaza whipping well wide before Taider drew an easy save from Federico Agliardi.
Their frustration deepened in the 29th minute as Brienza doubled Cesena's lead in sensational style.
The former Palermo midfielder emulated Messi's stunning second Champions League strike against Bayern Munich by bursting into the box from the right, twisting his body twice to put Federico Peluso on the ground before rifling the ball beyond a helpless Andrea Consigli.
Nicola Sansone did carve out two half-chances for Sassuolo before the break, but the Neroverde were destined to spend the interval soul-searching.
And whatever words of motivation coach Eusebio Di Francesco shared with his players, they most certainly had the desired effect.
Three minutes into the second half Zaza halved the deficit by collecting Domenico Berardi's pass before dancing past two opponents and beating Agliardi with a fierce right-footed drive.
Then, improbably, Sassuolo drew level in the 51st minute.
Berardi once again provided a killer assist, this time freeing up Taider for an easy finish against Agliardi.
Cesena did manage to emerge briefly from their shell-shock, threatening to restore their lead through Cascione, but the long-haired midfielder would head Francesco Renzetti's cross over the bar just before the hour mark.
Sassuolo's unlikely comeback was complete in the 70th minute, when Missiroli stole the ball from substitute Andrea Tabanelli and gladly picked his spot from the D.
Cesena looked shot from that point forward but had one last opportunity to level.
With six minutes remaining Tabanelli created a one-on-one with Consigli, only to fire wide, and it was then that Cesena's return to Serie B was finally rubber-stamped.
ends