The AC Milan Women will face Sassuolo this Saturday at 12:30 CEST (3:30 am PST / 6:30 am EST). The Rossonere are in a tough spot, as their loss against Fiorentina made the road to Europe a lot bumpier.
Therefore, the match against Sassuolo will be crucial, as Milan need to win or draw the match to qualify for next season’s Champions League. Here’s a brief overview of what you need to know before the match.
Milan are currently in second place as they’ve won sixteen of their twenty matches so far this season. The team dropped points against Roma, lost to Juventus twice, and lost their last match against Fiorentina. As a result, they currently have 49 points on the table.
Sassuolo are in third place, as they’ve lost four matches and drawn one game this season. They currently have 46 points. Therefore, if they win the match against Milan, then the two teams will be on level points.
The possible qualification scenarios
Since Milan are three points ahead of Sassuolo, this leads to a variety of scenarios for the Champions League. The first one that comes to mind is that the Rossonere must win this match to qualify for the competition. If they win this game and their next one against Hellas Verona, then they’ll finish the season three points ahead of the Neroverde and will secure qualification for Europe.
However, if they were to drop points or even lose the game against the Modeni, they could still qualify for the tournament. To do so, they would, again, have to win their last match of the season. The Rossonere currently have the advantage over the Neroverde in terms of goals scored and a head-to-head record. Those two things might come in handy when determining the final standings.
Last year, when Serie A Femminile was prematurely cancelled due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Fiorentina qualified for the Champions League at the expense of Milan on goal difference. The Rossonere could find themselves qualifying in a similar manner. And if the FIGC decides to use the same metrics for qualification that they do for Serie A (the men), then the Rossonere could also qualify based on their superior head-to-head record.
To date, Milan have played four games against Sassuolo, with two in the league and two in the Coppa Italia. They have not lost a single game to them. Their last meeting in the league was in December of 2020 and it ended 2-0 in favour of the Rossonere. Milan have history on their side and could use that to their advantage.
However, the Rossonere will be going into this game at a slight disadvantage. It’s one they have to work around and be extra vigilant about.
Mária Korenčiová’s absence
Unfortunately, Milan will be going into this match without their number one, Mária Korenčiová. The Slovakian was sent off during the last match against Fiorentina for what was deemed a denial of a goal-scoring opportunity. As a result, Milan will be without one of their best players.
Maurizio Ganz will have to choose between backup keepers Alessia Piazza or Selena Babb for this match. And whoever he chooses will have to step up big time as they face a tough and tenacious Neroverde attack.
Players to watch and probable Formations
Milan will most likely line up in their 3-5-2 with the notable difference being the absence of Korenčiová. Ganz is said to be debating over whether to start Francesca Vitale or Giorgia Spinelli in the defence. We won’t know what his decision will be until this Saturday.
Sassuolo will line up in either a 4-3-1-2 or a 4-1-3-2 for this match. The Neroverde have quite the talented squad, which includes the likes of Davina Philtjens, Mana Mihashi, Martina Lenzini, Kamila Dubcová, and of course, Hayley Bujega. Sassuolo has a fast and dynamic attack that will relentlessly attack Milan’s goal.
What they lack, however, is precision against the big sides. Despite the numerous chances they’ve created against the Rossonere in the past, they’ve only been able to score one goal against Milan. The Rossonere also have the edge in terms of maturity, experience, and talent. They will need to draw upon all three and use them to their advantage to win the game.
The optimist will state that, given Milan’s history and maturity, that they will win the game. However, given how things went horribly awry during their last match, one has to also temper their expectations. Though it would be absolute folly to proclaim premature doom and gloom before the game has even begun.
The Rossonere stand a good chance of winning this Saturday’s match and they’ll do everything in their power to make this prophecy happen.
Other notable things
For the first time in Italian football history, a women’s team will debut a new kit before the men’s team does. And that team just happens to be Milan. The Rossonere will wear the 2021/2022 kit into battle this weekend as they try to ‘Move like Milan’.
Furthermore, in what’s another first for a women’s team in Italy, the kit is also available in the team’s store. Let’s hope the kit brings them luck this Saturday as well.
How to watch
Once again, the game will take place at 12:30 CET (3:30 am PST / 6:30 am EST). You’ll be able to watch the game on the usual channels, which includes Sky, TimVision, Milan TV, the official AC Milan app, and on the team’s Dailymotion page.