MILAN: AC Milan missed the chance to move top of Serie A yesterday after crashing to a shock 3-1 home loss to Sassuolo. Sassuolo emerged worthy winners at the San Siro after recovering from Alessio Romagnoli’s 21st-minute header through a superb Gianluca Scamacca strike, Simon Kjaer’s own goal and a solo effort from Domenico Berardi.
“We carried on playing even though we went down a goal. We found faith in ourselves and that’s a positive thing,” said Sassuolo coach Alessio Dionisi to DAZN. “We came back against Milan at the San Siro and we held on to the result… Today there were a lot of positives.” Milan, who finished with 10 men after Romagnoli completed a miserable afternoon by being shown a straight red card for taking out Gregoire Defrel, were level on 32 points with league leaders Napoli before the latter hosted Lazio late last night.
Their first home league defeat of the season after last weekend’s 4-3 loss at Fiorentina mean that city rivals Inter Milan are now only a point behind in third, with Atalanta a further three back after beating Juventus in Turin on Saturday. “We were lacking lucidity because we made mistakes in far too many situations,” said Milan coach Stefano Pioli. “We needed to manage our lead better… we made a mistake for which we paid handsomely, and it’s clear if you concede seven goals in two games something’s not working.” Pioli, who on Friday signed an extension to his Milan contract until June 2023 with an option for another year, made a raft of changes to the side that earned a superb 1-0 Champions League win at Atletico Madrid on Wednesday.
Milan’s San Siro slip
Injuries to Olivier Giroud and Ante Rebic led to Zlatan Ibrahimovic playing up front with a strong support line of Rafael Leao, Brahim Diaz and Alexis Saelemaekers, with Tiemoue Bakayoko making his first start of the season in midfield alongside Ismael Bennacer. And Bakayoko was at fault for Sassuolo’s leveller which came just three minutes after Milan had taken the lead, lazily giving the ball away to Giacomo Raspadori who then fed Scamacca the chance to smash a long-distance effort in off the bar.
Scamacca was also at the heart of the goal which put Sassuolo in front in the 33rd minute, belting a close-range effort which returning Milan goalkeeper Mike Maignan could only push off Kjaer and into his own net. And Berardi put the icing on the cake 20 minutes into the second half by making a fool of Romagnoli, putting the Italy defender on his face with some nifty dribbling, before calmly finishing the third goal.
Bologna moved ninth, level on 21 points with troubled Juve with a 1-0 win at Spezia thanks to Marko Arnautovic’s penalty seven minutes from the end on the Italian Riviera. Earlier Andriy Shevchenko earned his first point as Genoa coach with a largely uneventful goalless draw at Udinese. Genoa have been without key striker Mattia Destro for a month and the away side lacked firepower despite having more of the ball at the Dacia Arena. On Wednesday his team host Milan, where the former Ukraine striker scored 175 goals and won one Serie A title and the 2003 Champions League. – AFP