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Tactical Review of AC Milan's Rigid 2-1 Win Over Sassuolo To Guarantee A Europa League Spot

The side were faced with a complicated game but held out to take home all three points, Ibrahimovic finally gets back to scoring and bags a brace.

US Sassuolo v AC Milan - Serie A Photo by Alessandro Sabattini/Getty Images

AC Milan went head to head with Sassuolo - another unbeaten side since the lock down - and emerged victorious after a contentious 90 minutes through a Zlatan Ibrahimovic brace. The win guarantees Milan Europa League football through qualification. Here's our review:

Donnarumma Hits Second Century

What a monumental achievement at such a young age for Gigio grabbing his 200th appearance against the same opponents where he made his debut. The young shot stopper did not manage to keep a clean sheet as he was beaten by Caputo’s penalty but was otherwise solid as ever. Donnarumma has been slightly overlooked by the resurgence of Kessie, Calhanoglu, Rebic and the likes since the restart but Gigio has consistently been one of the top performers. He has 12 clean sheets this campaign tied at the top with Udinese’s Musso making this his 5th consecutive season with over 10 clean sheets.

Milan Show Naivety

Going into the game against Sassuolo, we knew that Romagnoli, Hernandez, Bennacer, Rebic and Kjaer were all at risk of suspension due to accumulation of yellow cards. Stefano Pioli lost Romagnoli and Conti in the first half to injuries and was forced to introduce Calabria and Gabbia. However, in the second half Milan succumbed to the pressure leading to Hernandez and Bennacer both conceding silly fouls and getting booked. Firstly, the players should’ve been smarter and secondly, Pioli should’ve have subbed them both off earlier. Milan now have the daunting task to face Atalanta with Gabbia, Laxalt and Biglia as likely starters.

Calhanoglu Looks Comfortable At Last

After a couple of seasons of inconsistent play and some ups and downs with his form, he finally looks stable. He has adopted the trequartista position into his own and he free movement across the front line has opened up a lot of space for him and the strikers. He has done exceedingly well in recent games with a number of goals and assists but against Sassuolo he linked up well almost perfectly with Ibrahimovic setting him up twice for both his goals with a truly incredible pass that took exceptional vision and a pinpoint cross. He is growing with each game and is very quickly becoming the focal point of this side.

Finishing Falls Short

This was one of those games where Milan could’ve very easily have lost or drawn due to their missed opportunities coming back to bite them. Ibrahimovic scored a stunning brace but missed a number of chances that would’ve got him a hat trick. Bennacer skimmed the post with a brilliant long range effort but the worst miss of the game undoubtedly goes to Bonaventura. Kessie took a strong shot from outside the box which Consigli saved but couldn’t hold, Bonaventura pounced but took his rebound shot straight at the keeper which Consigli spilled again and Bonaventura hit it straight at him again. A golden opportunity wasted and a miss that could have been costly if Sassuolo hit back.

Ibrahimovic Turns Back The Clock

After a number of frustrating appearances in front of goal and the public spats about being subbed off, Ibrahimovic got his opportunity to score and to grab a full 90 minutes against Sassuolo. He did well to score his first goal with a header to stun Consigli, but then he missed an even easier header at the back post. At the end of second half, he connected stunningly with Calhanolgu’s through ball down the middle went around the keeper and slotted home. In the second half, he struggled to hit the target and had a number of shots slammed into defenders to miss out on a hat trick. Still a solid individual performance from the Swede.