Match Report : A.C. Milan 1- 2 U.S. Sassuolo
A.C. Milan: Lopez; Rami, Alex, Zapata, De Sciglio; Poli, Essien, Montolivo (C); Bonaventura, Menez, El Shaarawy.
Sassuolo: Consigli; Gazzolla, Cannavaro, Acerbi, Peluso; Biondini, Magnanelli(C), Missirolli; Berardi, Zaza, Sansone.
In the first match of 2015, we received the neroverdi at home, coming from a win (albeit a game that nobody cared about) against Real Madrid by a 4-2 scoreline, grabbing a point in the Olimpico against Roma and a 2-0 win against Napoli.
Things started in our favor, with Milan dominating ball possession. We capitalized when bonaventura went clear on the right flank sending a cross to Stephan El Sharaawy that was taken advantage of by Andrea Poli on the rebound, making it 1-0.
As time went on Sassuolo started growing into the game and taking on more possession, with their 4-3-3 morphing into a 4-1-4-1 in defense. Milan had a chance for a second when a through ball by El shaarawy was barely misplaced into Poli´s path.
in the 24th Sassuolo had a chance to go level but a great interception by Alex on Sansone kept the game in our favor. it was a fair warning as in the next play, on the minute 27th, a beautiful pass by Berardi to the oncoming Sansone was buried into the net and the game was leveled.
Sassuolo had a chance to go on top but Biondini missed a cross by Sansone, who was making Rami look like a traffic cone.
In the Second Half Milan started uninspired, losing the ball and clearly not able to get the ball to Sassuolo´s area. Milan started to enjoy more posession eventually and pinned sassuolo to their box, with missiroli barely getting in time to interrupt a ball to Montolivo.
in the 65th Inzaghi subbed in Cerci for Essien and Milan seemed to go for broke. The move nearly paid out immediately as Cerci sprung the offside trap and required Consigli to make a heroic leap to punch the ball away. From that clearance, Zaza shot's was deflected by Zapata for a corner, which ended up with a fierce left foot volley by Zaza to get Sassuolo ahead.
Pazzini came in for SES & Abate for Rami, which saw milan change to a 4-2-3-1 with Bonaventura on the left, Jeremy Menez behind Pazzini and Cerci on the right. The formation looked disjointed. In the 75th, Pazzini forced a wonder save from Consigli after a fierce right foot volley.
Bottom line, Sassuolo deserved this win with a very smart tactics by Di Francesco and wonderful execution by his forwards. Mental fragility continues to be an issue for Milan, particularly at home, and Pippo looked clearly out of ideas. in fair thoughts, the lack of Bonera and Mexez was painfully evident, as the backline was poorly positioned throughout the game and our fullbacks were exposed with balls to the back of both Sansone and Berardi. Not having De Jong in the middle was costly as we lacked correct distribution in the middle of the pitch as Montolivo was doing his best Muntari impression --slow on the ball and killing counters.
We have missed a clear opportunity to go into 4th place, and now we have two must win games against Torino and Atalanta, while still having to win against Sassuolo in the Coppa.