Defensive worries in a dominant draw: All the key stats from Sassuolo-Milan

By Oliver Fisher -

AC Milan and Sassuolo played out a thrilling 3-3 draw at the Mapei Stadium on Sunday afternoon, with three goals coming in each half.

It was a nightmare start for Milan who were all at sea defensively, with Andrea Pinamonti opening the scoring and Armand Lauriente doubling the advantage for the home side, but Rafael Leao’s solo run got the Rossoneri back into it.

Lauriente restored the two-goal lead early in the second half to give Milan a mountain to climb, though goals from Luka Jovic and Noah Okafor secured a point that still carries a bit of a bitter taste.

The result means that the gap to Juventus in third place remains six points, though Inter can clinch the Scudetto next week with a win in the derby.

A draw despite domination

When looking at the statistics from the game, it is clear to see that Milan should have won on the balance of play, which of course does not factor in the dreadful defending and individual errors.

Milan’s Expected Goals number (xG, the amount of goals that should have resulted from the quality of chances created) was 3.47 to 1.08 for the home side. In addition, the Rossoneri had 23 total shots to 10, and seven shots on target to five, plus 67% of the ball.

Milan also outperformed Sassuolo when it came to big chances (six to two) and corners (the same margin), yet the total that matters is the goals scored.

Shipping goals on the road

Milan’s overall defensive record this season has rightly been under the microscope given the amount of goals conceded, but when narrowing that down to just away games it becomes even more alarming.

The Diavolo have now allowed 29 league goals away from home in 2023-24 which is a number similar only to the teams that who are fighting to avoid relegation. Conceding three to Sassuolo, who are second-bottom, highlights the issue.

An instant impact

Noah Okafor was deployed in the final minutes and he found himself in the right place at the right time to hammer home a loose ball deep inside the Sassuolo box after Matteo Gabbia had brought it down, levelling the game inside the final 10 minutes.

Of the six goals scored this season in the league by the Swiss forward, five came as a substitute. It means that he has now moved above Luka Jovic in terms of the ranking of goals off the bench for Milan this season.

When expanding this to Serie A, only Nicolas Viola – who scored against Inter last night to earn Cagliari a draw – has netted the same number of goals as a substitute. He is even right up there among Europe’s ‘top five’ leagues.

Leao the light

Rafael Leao’s numbers from the game were certainly impressive. He had 57 touches of the ball, completed 24 out of 32 passes, had seven successful dribbles, nine touches in the Sassuolo box, one chance created and a goal.

Not only that but he won 10 duels with a 100% tackle success rate, had two ball recoveries, one tackle, one clearances and drew two fouls, showing some good defensive hustle in the 90 minutes he played.


Tags AC Milan Sassuolo-Milan
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