#ACMilan XI: Donnarumma; Abate, Bonucci, Romagnoli, Rodriguez; Kessie, Biglia, Bonaventura; Suso, Cutrone, Calhanoglu— AC Milan (@acmilan) April 8, 2018
Subs | A disposizione: Donnarumma A., Storari, Antonelli, Calabria, Musacchio, Zapata, Locatelli, Mauri, Montolivo, Borini, Kalinic, André Silva#MilanSassuolo pic.twitter.com/rxYAfBWEkH
Updated Serie A standings through 30 rounds with all games made up now. pic.twitter.com/9RY4dmFGVy— Raffaele (@ItalianoCalcio) April 5, 2018
Six points behind Inter, eight points from top four. Champions League will be doubtful but Gattuso has remained positive saying, “they will fight for it until the end”. Last week’s draw against Inter really hindered that chase, but given where this seasons started, we’re vastly an improved side and shouldn’t be bothered by Sassuolo today.
The last five matches don’t do justice as to how poor Sassuolo’s form has been over the course of 2018. Prior to the loss at Lazio, Sassuolo were defeated 5 out of 6 matchs, only finding points against Cagliari, SPAL, and Chievo. With this match at San Siro, the result will come down to Milan’s mentality after the derby, as on paper, this should be an easy fixture.
In a perfect world where matchups are decided by FIFA and on paper, a 3-0 victory over Sassuolo should be an easy feat for Gennaro Gattuso’s men. However, coming off a stalemate against Inter, the mental agility of this young squad will absolutely come into play. The club stands behind Rino’s ability and so do I. I expect a solid day of football and a laid back Rossoneri victory.
When: Sunday, April 8th, 2018
Where: San Siro, Milan, Italy
Kickoff time: 7:45 p.m. local time in Italy; 6:45 p.m. in the United Kingdom; 2:45 p.m. on the East Coast; 11:45 a.m. on the West Coast
AS IT HAPPENED...
45,000 strong at San Siro to see the Rossoneri in action. Abate looks pumped. Flags are waving, fans are singing, let’s rock.
Milan attack early with fire, pushing everyone forward. Hakan with a beautiful cross that finds Kessie on the chest, but he misses in front of net. How? No idea. It was a handball/chested/offside attempt but the effort amounted to nothing. Romagnoli looking like he tweaked his leg in some fashion and receives medical treatment on the sideline. Looks like the hamstring, he’s going to come off.
Sassuolo’s Palitano wins the corner for his side, the lads in blue are starting to pressure a Milan side who should already be up 1-0. Most of the time was used up on Romagnoli and the substitution.
Milan are pushing forward again, this time with more precision in their passing. Hakan had the second real chance as he takes one long outside the box. While a classic knuckler, it was deflected comfortably away from goal, forcing the corner. Musacchio with a long header that’s cleaned up easily. Milan look the better side, but Sassuolo can counter.
Suso must have seen Hakan’s attempt and said “my turn”, as he puts forth his attempt. Milan have been coming forward with real tenacity, as Sassuolo are just desperate to keep them out. The one player I can only really give criticism towards is Franck Kessie, who clearly isn’t having his best day so far, who not only missed a big opportunity, but his passing has been anything but crisp.
I can’t even keep up with the amount of chances Milan has had so far. I just really hope these missed opportunities don’t come back to haunt them later in the match. Suso again with a real curler towards the back post but the Sassuolo keeper did well to keep that out.
Cutrone did well to force the corner, though he’s been quiet here for the first 30. Does anyone cross more dangerously than Hakan? Unfortunately, all these free kicks and corners aren’t amounting to anything for the Rossoneri. Another scary moment as Bonucci stays on the ground holding his face after receiving an elbow squarely.
Bring back Andre Silva. Can’t help but think with all these chances, Silva would put something away. Can’t fault Kessie and his opportunities there, Consigli is just a brick wall right now. Sassuolo responds to the pressure on their end by playing out wide and winning a corner of their own. Donnarumma did well (?) to save a low driving effort from Sassuolo but he couldn’t hold on and parried the ball away. Milan calm slow things down a bit, and begin to move forward again.
Credit the Sassuolo defense so far, they really are holding strong against this pressure. It will be tough to keep up for another half. Hakan picks up a yellow while pressuring Sassuolo’s advance, but not much has transpired in the last five minutes.
The first half was filled with Milan chances. The question of whether Consigli is a world class keeper or if Milan is just failing to be clinical. The good news is Milan is moving as a unit, as one. A great example is how Jack Bonaventura moved from attacking mid to right back in the flow of counter attack, to stop out a Sassuolo advance. So while the clinical ability of Milan is something that has been clearly lacking, the heart and work rate has been stellar.
Kessie doing Kessie things, opening the half with a cross into the box that finds no one. Milan starting the second half exactly how they left the first; many chances. You don’t get points for chances though. Milan had exactly 5 shots, not all on target, but nothing came of it. I can feel Gattuso’s patience wear away all the way in New York. How long until Silva comes on.
Give Kessie credit for not going down when challenged in the box, but his effort at goal was deflected and scooped up by Consigli. Sassuolo look to be making a double substitution shortly, which is a bit puzzling given how wonderful they’ve been defensively. Ragusa will come on to give Sassuolo a more offensive shape.
ANDRE SILVA IS ON!!!!
Abate off to applause as his return has been long anticipated.
Ragusa having an immediate impact as a wonderful cross finds his head, but he puts it wide. A bad miss considering, but Milan will have to do better to mark. With Milan switching to a back three to accommodate Silva, we should expect more from Sassuolo going forward.
Milan in ‘all out attack’ mode with Lucas Biglia now moving forward as an attacking mid. Silva/Suso link up has already opened up Milan a bit more, they’ll have to be a bit more aware of the counter. Which is exactly what happened when Ragusa dispossessed Milan in midfield and had a one on one with Donnarumma. Luckily for the Rossoneri, the shot was tame and Gigi covered it with ease.
Kalinic is on. I don’t even know what’s happening anymore. Bonaventura literally passes to a Sassuolo midfielder to set up for a major counter. Luckily, Sassuolo is as good at finishing chances as we are apparently. Hakan comes back with a shot from distance, and while I appreciate the effort, there were better options. Milan need to settle down a bit.
I feel as if I’m just repeating myself at this point.
Milan presses, opens up lanes, creates a chance, it’s stopped.
Over and over again. Desperation is starting to ooze through everyone’s game currently. Long balls, hopeful passes. Then if finally happened.
Politano breaks the deadlock. Sassuolo had a handful of chances but the back three defense implemented by Milan finally invites a slicing shot that glides passed a diving Donnarumma.
Still reeling from that goal. Milan are desperate to inflict revenge and get back into this match. Just about 10 minutes to go, can Milan muster up what’s needed to get themselves a goal?
Bonucci will miss the next match with another yellow added to his season tally, for protesting a foul given by the referee. Milan had another chance when Hakan put a lovely ball and Nikola Kalinic splits the defense and gets his head square onto his target. However, his poor form continues, and he sails the ball over the net. The situation is looking more and more dire.
Seconds later - I eat my own words!! Nikola takes it in with the equalizer!
Milan weren’t finished as Gattuso Gennaro flailing his men forward for all three points. Looks as if Milan have switched to a 1-7-2 formation with Bonucci the sole defender.
(BeIN Sports feeds goes down because they’re awesome)
I came back to the 93rd minute and Gattuso is being cautioned. Milan only have a few more minutes of attacking football left. It would be Bonaventura who would have a chance to put Milan ahead with a beautiful curling shot to the back post, but it would be Consigli to come up big and play hero again.
Final score here at San Siro: 1-1. A far cry from our prediction of 3-0. Poor finishing, lack of clinical ability, and desperation would be the culprit in today’s match where we find ourselves sharing points, instead of walking away with all three.