Update from Verona on all the recent action on and off the pitch.
#1. Match report: Sassuolo 3 - 3 Hellas Verona. So much football has happened since our last post (see above) little more than a week ago it's difficult to know where to start! First up, the six goal thriller at the Mapei - all six goals coming in an exhilarating second half. With 15 minutes to go Hellas were three-one up and, with goals from Lazovic, Stepinskì and Pessina, looking good for a well-earned three points. Sassuolo substitute Jeremie Boga, a product of the Chelsea youth system, had other ideas. He had already pulled one back for the home side, having just come on as a sub. His second, on 77 minutes, set up a nervy finale as the visitors sought to hang on to their slender lead. A string of heroic saves from Silvestri should have been enough to secure an impressive victory, only for the match officials to somehow conjure up 7 (seven) minutes of injury time! The referee seemed content to play on until Sassuolo scored and, sure enough, the agonising equaliser came in the 97th minute of play.
#2. Sassuolo's late-late show. Although it was massively disappointing not to come away with three points from this encounter, another point on the road sets Hellas on course for the mystical 40 points that should be enough to secure their place in Serie A next season. Sassuolo are a compact and talented side who will consider a point a fair return for the effort and quality they displayed, particularly in the closing stages of the game. Boga scored two decent goals and the extra-hour equaliser by Rogerio, a 25-metre howitzer from his weaker foot, was admirable, if late. For Hellas, goalscorers Lazovic, Stepinski and Pessina were once again impressive and Silvestri outstanding.
#3. Verona 3 - 2 Parma. Just three days later, Hellas were involved in yet another high-scoring thriller. Serving one match bans for disciplinary infractions, Juric and Kumbulla watched the game from the stands. Goals came from Di Carmine (pen.), Zaccagni and Pessina. Hellas have won 6, drawn 6 and lost just 2 of their last 14 matches, a run of form that virtually guarantees them Serie A football next season. While this result once again raised the tantalising prospect of European football next season, the club's official objective remains securing salvation in Serie A. Verona's man of the match was unquestionably Mattia Zaccagni a young player who, just a few months ago, tested positive for Covid-19. He's one of many young talents who have developed under Juric's leadership.
#4. Match Preview: Brescia v Hellas Verona. Following a woeful 6-0 defeat against Inter, Brescia remain rooted to the foot of the table on just 18 points and relegation is now surely just a formality for the struggling side. Under normal circumstances, this would be a fiercely contested local derby. The home fixture back in November finished 2-1, but was overshadowed by racist abuse directed at Mario Balotelli, a player who is unlikely to feature in Sunday evening's encounter in light of a long running contractual dispute with his club. Wonderkid Sandro Tonali has been attracting the interest of the biggest clubs in the land, and he will be hoping for an improved performance against Hellas.
#5. Hellas team news: Hellas will be without Matteo Pessina who is suspended. Meanwhile, Miguel Valoso, il professore, has extended his stay in Verona. The 34-year-old Portuguese, who has been a key player for Verona this season with 24 appearances and 4 assists, has signed a one-year contract that will keep him in Verona until the conclusion of the 2020/21 season. Finally, a happy birthday to legendary coach Osvaldo Bagnoli, who celebrated his 85th birthday on 3 July. Bagnoli was coach of Hellas during the most successful period in the club's history, including the historic 1984/55 championship winning season.