MAPEI STADIUM (Reggio Emilia): Inter won’t be ending the Serie A season with 100 points, and it will be because of Sassuolo. Whether or not the Neroverdi will survive the drop to Serie B or not remains to be seen, but as of the end of Matchday 35 they are the only team to have beaten the champions this season – and they’ve done it twice.

It was a first-half strike from Armand Lauriente that sealed a huge win for Sassuolo, rifling into the roof of Emil Audero‘s goal after some good work from Josh Doig on the left, and Simone Inzaghi will be left perhaps regretting the changes he made to his XI – one of those being Audero in goal while Yann Sommer watched on on the bench.

Spirited Sassuolo rule out 100-point season for Inter

Inter fans travelled in huge number to Reggio Emilia on a fine spring Saturday evening, and the celebrations of their recently confirmed Scudetto were clearly still ongoing in the stands and the car park outside the Mapei.

From long before kick-off, those who had made their way into the stadium’s north end were keen to remind their hosts of their troubled position at the bottom end of the table, singing “you’re going back to Serie B” after 11 seasons in the top flight.

But Sassuolo responded to that and they looked hungry to prove their noisy visitors wrong. Although the champions had much more of the ball, Davide Ballardini‘s Neroverdi looked more than just a little more comfortable than they would have been under Alessio Dionisi to leave Inter with it.

Armand Lauriente in action for Sassuolo (sassuolocalcio.it).

For all their possession, the Nerazzurri didn’t carve out too much in the way of clear-cut chances as Sassuolo time and again caught them offside when they thought they had found a way in behind. Lautaro Martinez even had the ball in the net, only for technology to intervene and rule it out as the Argentine had made his move a fraction too early.

By the time Lautaro had the ball in the net, though, Sassuolo had already put themselves in front through Lauriente. Doig deserves just as much of the credit as the Frenchman though, dispossessing Denzel Dumfries out wide and muscling him off the ball before cutting back for Lauriente to smash into the roof of Audero‘s goal.

Nothing on the pitch could dampen the visiting fans’ spirits though, safe in the knowledge that their 20th Serie A title had already been wrapped up early.

Inzaghi, pitchside, wasn’t quite as relaxed as the thousands serenading him. Despite always acknowledging and reacting to the fans to his left singing his name and asking him to jump with them, the Inter boss was evidently hungry to rack up as many points as are still on offer, and spent much of the second half closer to the Sassuolo goal than to his dugout.

Changes were made and some big guns were introduced, but Sassuolo were able to hold tight and cling on for three precious points.

The Neroverdi remain in the bottom three, but with Genoa, Cagliari and Lazio to come in their last three games of the season, Sassuolo are sure to take a lot of encouragement from their performance and result against the runaway Italian champions.