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Italy - Serie A
May 18, 2014
• Stadio Giuseppe Meazza, Milano
Referee: P. Valeri
• Attendance: 38119
S. Muntari 2'
N. de Jong 27'
S. Zaza 90'
Shots on Target
To clear up the Europa League qualifying spot, it is Parma who will take part in the competition after Torino missed a late penalty in Florence that would have seen them finish sixth. Milan, meanwhile, end the season eighth in Serie A, and it may well be a busy summer at San Siro if Seedorf and some players depart. For now, I've been Tom Maston, and thanks for joining me.
El Sharaawy appeals for a late penalty but in the end the referee blows the full-time whistle and Milan's season is over. They will not play European football next season despite goals from Muntari and De Jong giving them the win this evening.
90' + 2'
Milan are managing to keep the ball in the Sassuolo half, but the visitors know if they can get on the ball, and with a makeshift Milan defence, they could yet grab an equaliser.
Penalty Goal Simone Zaza
GOAL!!! Cool as you like from Zaza as he passes the ball into the bottom right-hand corner of Abbiati's goal, and though the goalkeeper went the right way, he couldn't keep the effort out. Three minutes of injury time for the visitors to find an equaliser.
Red Card Mattia De Sciglio
PENALTY AND RED CARD! Sassuolo have a chance to pull one back as Sansone is tackled by De Sciglio as he was about to pull the trigger from ten yards. Replays suggest he won the ball but the referee, after giving the foul, had to send the full-back off as the last man.
The game is certainly winding down now, with Milan knowing that they are extremely unlikely to qualify for Europe now.
Red Card Paolo Cannavaro
RED CARD! From nowhere Sassuolo are now down to ten men as Cannavaro brings down El Shaarawy and the referee decides the foul was deserving of a straight red card.
JUST WIDE! Moments later Zaza gets another sight of goal as he fires a shot across Abbiati's goal, but with the Italy international beaten the ball dribbles just wide of the post.
GOAL! NO, OFFSIDE! Zaza has the ball in the net as he beats Abbiati to the ball to stab home, but the striker was offside and correctly had his celebrations cu short.
Taarabt has had a poor evening and he sums it up as he cuts inside from the left before blazing a shot high into the stands behind the goal.
Milan's Europa League hopes are as good as over now as Parma double their lead against Livorno. Though Torino now trail Fiorentina 2-1, it looks as if it will be a season without European football for the Rossoneri next season.
Sassuolo continue to press but Berardi is again wasteful from a dead ball situation as he hits a free-kick from a central area well over the crossbar from 20 yards.
The visitors make their third and final change as right-back Mendes is replaced by Terranova for the final few minutes.
GOOD SAVE! Pazzini has caused Sassuolo plenty of problems this evening with his strength, and after shrugging off Cannavaro, the forward had a free run on goal. In the end he looked to beat Pomini at his near post with a stabbed finish, but the goalkeeper was able to turn it behind.
That change by Milan of course means we won't be seeing 15-year-old Hachim Mastour make his debut this evening.
Milan make their third and final change, and it may be a final farewell for Kaka as Balotelli comes on in his place. Sassuolo also make a change as Masucci replaces Chibsah.
Montolivo is doing his best to lift his side as we enter the final 20 minutes, but he fails to set an example himself as he drives an effort from 25 yards well over the top.
Sassuolo have managed to get a second wind in this second half, and they again go close as Zaza heads a cross from the right over the top. In Florence, Torino have equalised against Fiorentina, meaning they would also finish ahead of Milan if the scores stay as they are.
From the resulting free-kick Sansone looks to curl one in the top corner but the effort is always too high and Abbiati can watch it over his crossbar.
Yellow/Red Philippe Mexes
RED CARD! That won't improve the mood inside the stadium as Mexes is handed his second booking for a trip on Berardi and he is given his marching orders. There looked to be little contact but he did lunge at the player needlessly on the edge of the box.
Berardi has looked dangerous in and around the box and he draws another save from Abbiati as he lets fly from 20 yards, but the goalkeeper holds on.
All of a sudden the atmosphere has been drained out of the stadium with news of Parma's goal, and the Milan fans now know their European fate rests in the hands of already relegated Livorno. It looks set to be a disappointing evening at San Siro.
Seedorf makes his second change as Zaccardo replaces Constant, but it could now all be nothing as Parma take the lead over bottom side Livorno. As it stands it is they, not Milan, that will claim the final Europa League spot.
GOOD SAVE! El Shaarawy has made a real impact already, and he almost adds a third for the hosts as he cuts inside from the left and forces a good save from Pomini low to his left.
El Shaarawy is involved straight away as he feed De Sciglio down the right-hand side, and though his cross is cleared, the full-back is able to get a shot in from the rebound that Pomini holds onto at his near post.
Stephan El Shaarawy
Seedorf has reacted to this slow start to the second half by replacing Muntari with El Shaarawy. Meanwhile, Fiorentina lead Torino, meaning as it stands Milan will claim the final Europa League spot.
GOOD SAVE! Milan are allowing Sassuolo to have things their own way here, with Abbiati called into action to tip Berardi's long range effort over the crossbar. The hosts need to lift things a gear here.
SUPERB BLOCK! After a Milan attack breaks down, Sassuolo launch a fine attack as a Sansone ball over the top leaves Zaza with a free run on goal. The striker takes a couple of touches to settle himself before shooting, but Rami does brilliantly to get back and block the effort.
The home supporters are doing their best to lift the home players as they continue to toil in the second half. Muntari and Montolivo have barely been involved as Seedorf's team struggle to control the game as they did in the first 45 minutes.
Sassuolo get the first sight of goal of the second half as a header across the edge of the box is met by Zaza on the volley, but his attempted spectacular effort is poorly executed and Abbiati can come off his line to claim.
After the end-to-end opening to the first half, the start to the second period has been the polar opposite, with both sides willing to be patient in possession after the break.
Just to clear up the situation regarding Europa League qualification, if the games involving Parma and Torino remain goalless, then a Milan win by four goals would see them into Europe. That is still a big if though.
Biondini has replaced the ineffective Missiroli for the visitors, and it is they that get the game back underway...
The two teams are making their way back onto the pitch, with Sassuolo set to bring in on Biondini for the second half.
Milan's hopes of Europa League football are still alive with their lead here, and with both Parma and Torino goalless at the break, they just require a favour from both Livorno and Fiorentina to finish sixth in the Serie A table. I'll be back in ten minutes to see if they can pull it off...
The half time whistle blows at San Siro and Milan can be pleased with their evening's work at present. Muntari's stunning strike and de Jong's deflected free-kick have given them a 2-0 lead that, despite some enterprise from Sassuolo, they look unlikely to give away.
45' + 1'
We are now into two minutes of stoppage time at the end of the first half with Milan in complete control of this one.
Some concern again over Mendes as he stays down after a challenge from Pazzini. There looked to be little contact, so this may be a reccurence of his previous injury. Eventually he gingerly gets back to his feet.
Yellow Card Lorenzo Ariaudo
Ariaudo picks up Sassuolo's first booking of the evening after he catches Taarabt late as the Moroccan looked to skip away from the challenge.
After some silky skills from Taarabt, Milan work the ball to the left-hand side of the area where Kaka is waiting, but the Brazilian's curling effort is always too high to trouble Pomini.
The visitors have come back into this game in the last five minutes, but they just don't have the necessary quality to trouble Milan. Mendes is the latest to swing a cross into the box but Zaza cannot control his header and it flies well wide of the post.
GOOD TACKLE! Milan launch a counter-attack from a Sassuolo corner, but after Taarabt carries the ball to the edge of the box, Chibsah does brilliantly to get back and take the ball off Kaka's toes as he looked to take a shot inside the box.
There is a little needle in this game now, with a number of Sassuolo players targeting Mexes after his yellow card while at the other end Pazzini and Cannavaro have had a number of tussles when the ball has come forward for Milan.
Into the final ten minutes of the first half and it has been all too busy for Milan at present. The visitors have threatened at times, but Ariaudo's shot over the bar apart they have never looked likely to test Abbiati.
Sassuolo's set-pieces have been poor thus far, and they again waste a chance from a free-kick as Berardi drives an effort from 35 yards straight into the wall despite their being bodies waiting for a cross in the box.
Yellow Card Philippe Mexes
Mexes picks up the first booking of the evening as he dives in recklessly from behind on Zaza and catches the striker. A very poor challenge from the France international.
Some concern here for Sassuolo as Mendes stays down after a tough challenge down the right-hand side. After some treatment he eventually gets back to his feet and is able to continue.
The home side have their tails up now, and they almost grab a fortuitous third as De Sciglio's cross from the right has Pomini scrambling across his goal as he has to punch behind.
Goal Nigel De Jong
GOAL!!! Milan double their lead, though it is in slightly fortunate circumstances. Kaka wins a free-kick 20 yards from goal, and de Jong is the man to step up. The midfielder's effort takes a huge deflection off Zaza and Pomini can do nothing about it. De Jong heads straight over to fellow countryman Seedorf to celebrate.
Sassuolo win a free-kick on the left-hand corner of the home side's box, but they cannot take advantage of the position as Sansone's cross floats over everyone and out for a goal kick.
We are midway through the first half, and though Milan lead, as it stands they will miss out on the Europa League next season with Torino and Parma both level at 0-0 in their respective matches.
GOAL! NO, OFFSIDE! Milan think they have doubled their lead as Pazzini controls Rami's shot before firing into the top corner, but the striker was rightly flagged offside as he received the ball.
Sassuolo now work an opening as Magnanelli shows good feet on the edge of the Milan box before playing the ball back for Chibsah, but the midfielder's curling shot is always bending wide of the post.
GREAT SAVE! Kaka has been quietly keeping things ticking over in the opening moments, and he almost gets himself on the scoresheet as his low effort from 20 yards is well tipped round the post by Pomini. From the resulting corner Muntari fires a shot wide from the edge of the box.
The game has become a little scrappy after a frenetic opening, with both sides surrendering possession too easily in midfield. Milan continue to just about have the better of things.
Taarabt is beginning to get himself on the ball much more after a quiet start to proceedings. After firing over the top moments before, the winger was given time to run at Mendes, but the full-back was able to make the challenge.
GOOD SAVE! Milan come forward again as Pazzini is able to turn on the edge of the box before firing in a low shot that Pomini is able to push away low to his right.
Sassuolo certainly haven't come here just to make up the numbers and relax ahead of their summer break, with Chibsah in particular having some influence in midfield. Milan need to be careful.
WHAT A MISS! Sassuolo should be level after a horror miss from Ariaudo. Zaza wins a header in the middle of the box and the defender then has time to pick his spot, but he can only volley over the bar from eight yards.
De Sciglio is looking to get forward as often as possible down the Milan right, but the full-back hasn't been able to link up with Montolivo as he would have liked to as yet.
Milan need to be careful in defence as the visitors again come forward. Berardi is the man who gets in behind Constant on the right but his cross is behind Zaza and the hosts can clear.
That was some start for the hosts, but they have not had it all their own way, and Sassuolo have an opportunity to get the ball into the box as Chibsah is brought down by De Jong 35 yards out. The ball into the box is poor though and dribbles out for a goal kick.
Assist Giampaolo Pazzini
Goal Sulley Muntari
GOAL!!! The perfect start for the hosts, and what a goal this is! After his sighter in the first minute, Muntari picked up the ball 30 yards from goal, took a couple of touches and fired an unstoppable effort past Pomini and in off the post.
Milan take just 12 seconds to have their first attempt on goal as Muntari hits a speculative volley from 30 yards that Pomini holds onto with ease.
Milan kick-off and we are underway...
The two teams make their way out onto the field before the usual pre-match niceties. We are almost ready for kick-off at San Siro on this final day encounter...
San Siro is far from full as the players wait to make their entrance. It seems the supporters are making their feelings known after European football was all but ruled out with defeat to Atalanta last week.
The two teams are in the tunnel as the atmosphere begins to build inside the stadium. After a poor season, can Milan go out on a high, or can Sassuolo finish a memorable campaign with a big scalp? We're about to find out...
There are now just ten minutes until kick-off inside San Siro, and the crowds are slowly making their way into the stadium. After a disappointing season, it will be interesting to see how many home supporters turn out to try and cheer their side onto an unlikely Europa League berth.
Sassuolo ring the changes now their safety is assured, with just three of the side that started the win against Genoa - Cannavaro, Magnanelli and Zaza - making the eleven this evening.
Seedorf makes three changes from the Milan side that were beaten by Atlanta, as Abbiati returns in goal while Taarabt and Pazzini replace Honda and Balotelli in attack. Fifteen-year-old Hachim Mastour takes his place on the bench, with the teenager set to beat Paulo Maldini's record as the Rossoneri's youngest ever player should he make an appearance.
Sassuolo: Pomini; Mendes, Cannavaro, Ariaudo, Longhi; Chibsah, Magnanelli, Missiroli; Berardi, Sansone, Zaza.
Milan: Abbiati; De Sciglio, Rami, Mexes, Constant; Montolivo, De Jong, Muntari; Taarabt, Kaka; Pazzini.
Before we go any further, the two team line-ups are in ahead of kick-off in 20 minutes...
If reports in Italy are to be believed, then this may well prove to be Seedorf's final game in charge of Milan despite only replacing Massimiliano Allegri as manager in January. The former Netherlands midfielder has made a promising start to his coaching career, but failure to qualify for Europe could see the powers that be at San Siro act and bring in a more experienced trainer for the 2014-15 campaign.
Milan's opponents, Sassuolo, would have been expecting to come into this match battling relegation, but after thrilling wins over Fiorentina and Genoa in their last two matches, the 2012-13 Serie B champions have survived against all the odds for a second season in the Italian top flight. An in form side, they should cause the hosts some problems this evening.
After defeat to Atalanta last time out, Clarence Seedorf's side now require a victory this evening to have a chance of snatching European qualification. Even then they would need Parma and Torino both to lose to Livorno and Fiorentina respectively to join city rivals Inter in the Europa League. If they do qualify, it would still be scant consolation for what has been a forgettable campaign for the Rossoneri.
Hello and welcome to live coverage of the Serie A encounter between Milan and Sassuolo. The curtain comes down on the Italian top flight at the end of tonight's fixtures, and the home side will be hoping they will be celebrating Europa League qualification come the final whistle. They require a huge slice of luck to get there, but stranger things have happened in the game of football. I'm Tom Maston, and I'll be guiding you through all the action from San Siro.
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