Ivorian midfielder Kessie on target as Milan thrash Sassuolo to win Serie A title after 11-year wait

Franck Kessie AC Milan 2021-22Getty

Franck Kessie was on target as AC Milan ended their 11-year wait for a Serie A title with a 3-0 thrashing of Sassuolo on Sunday.

Milan came into the match requiring just a draw to fend off cross-town rivals Inter Milan, who were two points behind, but wasted no time when French striker Olivier Giroud gave them a 2-0 lead after 32 minutes.

Stefano Pioli’s side continued to pour forward in a dominant first half display, and the irresistible Rafael Leao set up Kessie, whose fine left-footed finish extended the advantage to 3-0 in the 36th minute.

The goal secured the points for Milan who controlled the second half with Kessie involved in most of the Rossoneri’s build-up play while acting as a foil for the defence.

The Ivory Coast international midfielder, who has formed an unbreakable partnership with Sandro Tonali, put in a great shift once more as he ended the game with a 93 per cent pass completion rate, while managing two shots and also winning one tackle.

Sunday’s goal was Kessie’s sixth of the season and he ends the campaign with the league winner’s medal before he departs to Barcelona after running down a contract offer.

Kessie was not the only African celebrating league success with the Rossoneri, Algerian international Ismael Bennacer also played a part after coming on in the second half while Mali defender Fode Ballo-Toure was an unused substitute.

Bennacer, who started the season as Kessie’s midfield partner, has lost his place to Tonali in the second half of the season and will hope to regain it 2022-23 with the Ivorian gone.

Meanwhile, outgoing champions Inter had to settle for second place despite a 3-0 victory over Sampdoria thanks to a brace from Joaquin Correa and a strike from Ivan Perisic.

Inter had hoped that victory over Sampdoria coupled with defeat for Milan would see them retain the Scudetto but that was not to be as they finished the campaign with 84 points, two behind Pioli’s men.

Napoli, who were already assured of the third position, finished the season with 79 points following a 3-0 win over Spezia while Juventus, who lost 2-0 to Fiorentina on Saturday, clinched the final Champions League qualification spot.

Rome rivals Lazio and AS Roma will play Europe League football next season while Fiorentina will be in the third tier Conference League after finishing seventh.

It has been a poor Serie A campaign for Atalanta, who finished in a disappointing eighth place for a team that managed back-to-back top-four finishes, while Genoa and Venezia were already relegated before Sunday’s matches.

Salernitana, in 17th place with 31 points, and 18th-placed Cagliari (29 points) will know their fate after Sunday’s late kick-offs where the former take on Udinese while the latter face Venezia.

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