After a very explosive first half and relatively calm second half at the Mapei Stadium, Milan managed to defeat Sassuolo away from home for the first time ever, with Carlos Bacca’s controversial penalty being the difference.
The match kicked off in a very dynamic manner immediately, with both teams clearly going for the win in this afternoon Serie A match-up.
Milan were seemingly the more dominant team at the beginning. In the 3rd minute, Gerard Deulofeu won a free kick on the edge of the box. Kucka could have sent Milan into the lead off a Sosa cross, but the Slovakian missed the ball.
After this, the chaotic part of the game started. First, Sassuolo were demanding a penalty for Vangioni’s supposed foul on Domenico Berardi, but instead the young Italian winger was booked for diving.
However, in the 12th minute a penalty was given for Kucka’s sliding tackle on Duncan, but Berardi sent the ball wide.
After these two controversial moments, Milan began to feel the game more. Deulofeu’s bullet volley was saved by Consigli and the same player played a great one-two with Andrea Bertolacci but sent the ball just inches from the net.
Milan were much more active in this passage of the game and it and eventually it brought fruit. Suso and Bacca combined well with Bertolacci, who was fouled in Sassuolo’s box. Thus, the second penalty of the game was awarded, but this time it was luckily converted by Bacca.
The goal somewhat took away game’s quality, with both teams putting on a scrappy display with many misplaced passes and mistakes. Though in terms of fouls and yellow cards, spectators had a lot to watch.
Bacca could have scored a second just before the very end of the half, but his headed goal off a great Sosa cross was flagged offside by the referee.
The beginning of the second half was very chaotic from Milan’s point of view. Sassuolo pressed well and lazy passing from our players lead to some dangerous moments, but the birthday boy Gianluigi Donnarumma was left untroubled.
Vincenzo Montella’s men wanted to respond and try to seal the game, but Kucka’s header from a corner kick went off target, while Abate’s cross after a perfect pass from Suso did not find anyone in the opposition’s six-yard-box.
Sassuolo, however, looked determined to equalize and continue their good run of form against Milan. Berardi and Politano were dangerous on many occasions, but Cristian Zapata always seemed to be on the right place at the right time with many great clearances and blocks.
Milan coach Montella tried to maintain balance in the performance and sent Mario Pasalic along with Lucas Ocampos instead of Juraj Kucka and Bacca.
At this point, with about half an hour to go, Milan were mainly playing on the counter and Suso could have sealed the game after combining with Deulofeu, but his weak shot was finger-tipped by Consigli.
Seconds later Zapata could have marked his fantastic performance with a goal, but his header was parried well by Sassuolo’s goalkeeper.
The Neroverdi pushed for an equalizer until the final minutes, but were very ineffective in the final third, also as a result of Milan’s fantastic defensive performance. Acerbi could have spoiled the party (from an offside position), but his header off a Berardi free kick missed the net.
In the dying moments of the game, Suso could have sealed the game for good from a counter with the final kick of the game, but the Spaniard somehow overshot the net in a one-on-one duel against Consigli.
With today’s win, Milan still sit in 7th place, three points behind Lazio in 5th and seven points away from a Champions League spot.