Serie A: Simone Zaza struck twice as Sassuolo beat 10-man Genoa 3-1
Last Updated: 31/05/15 11:37pm
Simone Zaza struck twice as Sassuolo beat 10-man Genoa 3-1 on Sunday to finish their Serie A campaign on a high.
In a battle between sides that carried three-match winning streaks into the contest, Domenico Berardi opened the hosts' account in the third minute.
Zaza extended Sassuolo's lead soon after and added his second in the 32nd minute, before Genoa's Leonardo Pavoletti reduced the arrears four minutes before half-time.
In the 67th minute, Zaza could have completed his hat-trick but saw his penalty saved by Genoa goalkeeper Eugenio Lamanna.
But the visitors' hopes of a comeback ended five minutes later when defender Armando Izzo was shown a red card for a last-man foul on Nicola Sansone.
Sassuolo finished 12th in the standings, while Genoa ended an impressive campaign in sixth place.
Genoa's participation in the Europa League remained up in the air, however, as they have not been granted a UEFA licence. The Grifone have appealed against the decision and will hear if they have been successful on June 3.
Sassuolo, whose coach Eusebio Di Francesco extended his contract until June 2017 prior to the match, went in front early on when Berardi got behind Simone Missiroli's pass and beat the offside trap before hitting a left-footed shot past a helpless Lamanna.
In the 14th minute, Lamanna was forced into a full-stretch save to clear Paolo Cannavaro's bullet strike from the outside the area.
The hosts doubled their lead four minutes later when Berardi set up Zaza in the box and he rounded the goalkeeper before slotting home his first of the evening.
Sassuolo made it 3-0 after the half-hour mark when Federico Peluso's cross found Zaza in the box and his left-footed volley beat Lamanna.
Genoa gave themselves a fighting chance in the 41st minute. Sassuolo goalkeeper Alberto Pomini kept out Iago Falque's goal-bound shot but Pavoletti was first to the rebound and scored his seventh goal of the campaign with an easy tap-in.
The home side could have extended their lead after the hour mark when Izzo pulled down Peluso in the box, but Lamanna guessed correctly for Zaza's spot-kick and kept out his attempt. Francesco Magnanelli's follow-up found the back of the net, but was disallowed due to encroachment.
Izzo was then handed his marching orders, leaving Genoa down 10 men with 18 minutes remaining.
Sassuolo almost made it 4-0 before the final whistle, but substitute Antonio Floro Flores' diagonal shot went just wide of far post.