After a nervous week for probably the majority of AC Milan’s fans across the globe, the Rossoneri did not disappoint at the Mapei stadium, managing to score three goals in the first half to seal the win and a 19th Scudetto.
Pioli’s men started off the game at a great pace as they pressed high and created chances on a consistent basis. After a couple of missed opportunities early on it was Olivier Giroud who scored the opening goal to give Milan the lead, courtesy of an assist from Rafael Leao.
The Portuguese winger was only warming up though unfortunately for Sassuolo, as he managed to find Giroud again in the 32nd minute, who doubled the lead for his side. It was again Leao who found Kessie not long after, with the Ivorian scoring the third and virtually securing the Scudetto 36 minutes in.
In the second half it was a bit more peaceful will less chances as Milan lowered the pace and finished off the game with a clean sheet, while the celebrations could begin early. Here are five things we learned from the game…
What a game by Rafael Leao. The Portuguese managed a hat-trick of assists as he was having so much fun on that left flank it seemed. The youngster left his opponents for dead repeatedly as he showcased his brilliant pace and dribbling skills yet again.
He also got a 10/10 rating in our post-game ratings which is almost certainly a first, but it was indeed a very special performance. Leao also managed to get the MVP of Serie A award and at just 22 years old this can only excite the Rossoneri fans, as the future seems very bright.
2. Defensive dominance
If there were any worries going into the game, they were not regarding the defence for sure. Milan managed 9 clean sheets in their last 11 games of the season, conceding only 2 goals in the process and that same rearguard is one of the main reasons for title that the club won.
Calabria, Kalulu, Tomori and Theo Hernandez were on that same very high level in the final game against Sassuolo as they left little to nothing for the opposition, closing the season with another clean slate.
It is another case of there being a very bright future, as the oldest out of the four is 25 years old, which is in itself amazing statistic.
3. Big occasion, big man
Who else if not Olivier Giroud? The Frenchman has had his ups and downs this season, but when it was most important for him to shine, he did that in fashion.
A brace against Sassuolo basically sealed the title for Milan, but the contributions of Giroud go way back as he managed to scored against Lazio, Napoli, and a brace against Inter that was a huge blow for the Nerazzurri.
A clinical performance against Sassuolo capped off a great first campaign for Giroud overall, and he will be hoping to kick on.
4. Champions mentality
The nerves were always going to play a big part in the final game of the season, but Pioli seemingly did his job in a marvellous way as all the players stepped on the pitch eager to leave their all and achieve the task at hand.
Milan did not look bothered about the stress and pressure surrounding the game as the team showed great composure and desire to prove everybody that they are the top team in Italy.
This will be a building block for this squad full of youngsters as they now have posses great experience that will help in building an even more competitive team going into next season.
5. Grazie Pioli
A big part of Milan’s success has to be down to Stefano Pioli. With a lot of criticism towards him when he was first appointed, he has worked hard and proven everybody wrong.
The coach has managed to help all the young players in the squad improve throughout the last two seasons as he can now enjoy the fruits of his labour. He also managed to bring a certain winning mentality to this team and got them to hit the top gear in the right moment as that final third of the season was simply brilliant for Milan.
Hopefully Pioli will now receive even more support from the management in terms of investment in the transfer market since he will probably be keen on improving in Europe as well and going a bit further than the group stages.