Maxime Lopez returned from suspension, but Jeremie Boga, Filip Djuricic, Filippo Romagna and Pedro Obiang were still injured. The Sardinians were coming off four consecutive defeats, missing Diego Godin, Marko Rog, Sebastian Walukiewicz and Paolo Faragò.
It was an aggressive start from the hosts, Alessio Cragno denying Davide Frattesi on a smart Hamed Junior Traore assist, then Keita Balde Diao running the huge risk of a penalty for shoving Jeremy Toljan in the back.
Gianluca Scamacca missed a sitter, ballooning over from eight yards after Cagliari had failed to cut out the cross from the right.
A free kick was knocked back across the face of goal by Gian Marco Ferrari, but Giacomo Raspadori sliding in couldn’t get the final touch.
Andrea Consigli also had to make a save on Raoul Bellanova’s spectacular volley, then Luca Ceppitelli’s header on a corner clipped the crossbar.
Sassuolo finally broke the deadlock when Gianluca Scamacca sprung the offside trap on a Domenico Berardi through ball and kept his cool to drill in the angled drive with his right boot.
However, Cagliari got back on level terms moments later with a truly magical strike from Keita Balde Diao. He hit the overhead bicycle-kick absolutely perfectly, bouncing in off the underside of the crossbar to give Consigli no chance from 12 yards on the Nahitan Nandez cross.
Berardi fired wide on a Frattesi back-heel flick, then Charalampos Lykogiannis was made to pay for a rash sliding tackle on Frattesi, allowing Berardi to convert the penalty.
However, Frattesi was at fault at the other end when Joao Pedro got to a cross first and was caught slightly from behind, the Brazilian converting a penalty to equalise.
Lykogiannis charged down a Traore shot on the turn, while Cragno made a great save on Gregoire Defrel and Consigli fingertipped away a Nandez strike after a poor clearance.
Sassuolo 2-2 Cagliari
Scamacca 37 (S), Keita 40 (C), Berardi pen 52 (S), Joao Pedro pen 56 (C)