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Serie A: Roma hammered by Sassuolo; Joao Pedro makes Kobe tribute

ROME (AP) Coach Roberto De Zerbi’s offensive tactics were on clear display when Sassuolo stormed out to an early advantage in a 4-2 win over fourth-placed Roma in Serie A on Saturday.

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Francesco Caputo scored twice and Filip Đuricic added another for the hosts after only 26 minutes.

Already in his fourth season in the top flight, De Zerbi has gained wide praise for his tactics, which are based on dominating the opponent.

The loss left Roma hanging precariously onto the final Champions League spot, just one point ahead of Atalanta, which can move ahead of the Giallorossi with a victory at home over Genoa on Sunday.

Sassuolo moved up to 13th.

Caputo put Sassuolo ahead by beating the offside trap and shooting into the far corner, then added another by completing a counterattack characterized by swift passing.

Đuricic then was left unmarked to score after being set up by Domenico Berardi.

Edin Dzeko pulled one back for Roma after the break with a header for his 100th goal in all competitions for Roma, in his first match since taking over as club captain for Alessandro Florenzi, who was loaned to Valencia.

Roma midfielder Lorenzo Pellegrini was sent off for his second yellow card but Roma quickly earned a penalty that was converted by Jordan Veretout.

A minute later, however, dribbling specialist Jeremie Boga cut inside his marker and launched a powerful shot inside the far corner to restore Sassuolo’s two-goal advantage.

It marked the first time that Sassuolo has beaten Roma, having come away with only five draws in their previous 13 meetings.

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Basketball fanatic Joao Pedro made a tribute to Kobe Bryant after scoring Cagliari’s opening goal in a 2-2 draw with Parma.

After connecting from close range to give Cagliari a 1-0 lead, Pedro mimicked someone shooting a basketball then created the number 24 — Bryant’s jersey number — with his fingers.

Bryant, the NBA great, died last weekend in a helicopter crash with his 13-year-old daughter and seven others near Calabasas, California.

Juraj Kucka equalized for Parma before the break and Pedro had a chance to score another goal but badly missed a penalty early in the second half. Teammate Giovanni Simeone restored Cagliari’s lead a minute later before Andrea Cornelius equalized for Parma in added time with a header.