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Sassuolo v Milan Live Commentary, 21/07/2020

FT
1 - 2
SAS
MIL
F. Caputo (42 pen)
Z. Ibrahimović (19)
Z. Ibrahimović (45+2)
MAPEI Stadium - Città del Tricolore

Commentary

That is all from me, see you next time!
The away win for Pioli's side sees them climb to fifth in Serie A, albeit they have played a game more than both Roma and Napoli. They will host Atalanta on Friday as they look to continue their remarkable post-lockdown form. The hosts remain in eighth place as their unbeaten run comes to an end and they face the tough challenge of an away fixture at Napoli next.
Milan collect yet another win thanks to an Ibrahimovic double, whose goals came either side of Caputo's equaliser, after a dubious VAR penalty decision. Bourabia's needless red card on the stroke of half-time left Sassuolo with a mountain to climb in the second half and the hosts never recovered. They were rarely in the game and the visitors could have easily won by a larger margin, whether that be through the chances of Ibrahimovic or Bonaventura from close range.
90' + 3' FULL-TIME: SASSUOLO 1-2 MILAN
90' + 2' Traore curls a right-footed shot well over Donnarumma's goal after a great break by Djuricic and Kiriakopoulos.
90' + 1' There will be three minutes of added time as Traore brings down Calabria on the right-hand side of the pitch.
90' There is audible frustration on the field as the hosts give away another needless foul to kill the clock, a challenge which was so unnecessary from captain Berardi.
H. Traorè
F. Caputo
Sassuolo
89' Traore comes on for Caputo, who had brought Sassuolo back in to the game from the penalty spot before Ibrahimovic's second goal.
87' Berardi volleys high and wide with his left-foot after receiving a long ball on the right of Milan's area. He was never going to score from that chance, what was he thinking?
87' A bit of pressure on Donnarumma sees the keeper fluff his lines and Sassuolo are nearly gifted a chance, before Kjaer steps in and calms things down. This is not the time to be getting over-confident at the back!
G. Bonaventura
Yellow Card
Milan
85' Bonaventura is booked for a bad challenge in midfield as he looks to slow the game down.
84' Kessie fouls in midfield and Sassuolo will have the chance to fire a cross in to the area in search of an equaliser. Interestingly, they choose to play backwards and retain possession.
82' Saeleamaekers, who scored his first goal for the club against Bologna last match, has grown in to this second half and chances look like happening every time the attacker has the chance to get his head up and play.
81' DOUBLE SAVE! Consigli parries Kessie's initial shot from outside of the area and the rebound falls to Bonaventura's feet inside the six-yard area. Somehow, the Italian can only fire his rebounded attempt straight in to the midriff of Consigli and the goalkeeper turns it away for a Milan corner.
L. Biglia
I. Bennacer
Milan
79' Bennacer is swapped out for Biglia. The Argentinian will give Milan some much-needed fresh legs in midfield.
G. Bonaventura
H. Çalhanoğlu
Milan
79' Calhanoglu, who has assisted both goals here, is replaced by Bonaventura as Pioli looks to close out for the win.
78' Sassuolo look to have changed to more of a 4-3-2 as they go in search of an equaliser. The problem is, they cannot get near enough to Milan as they work the ball effectively through Sassuolo's press.
D. Laxalt
Yellow Card
Milan
76' Rogerio dances through the middle, bypassing Rebic and Kessie before Laxalt decides enough is enough and bundles the winger to the floor. Rightfully, the full-back is booked for his needless aggression.
74' OFF THE POST! Milan seem to be working the play about slowly, that is until possession falls to Bennacer's feet and the midfielder drills a wicked left-footed shot that just clips Consigli's right-hand post.
73' Kessie, once again, intercepts high up the pitch and breaks up the play in midfield. He then drives the ball in to Ibrahimovic, but the striker stalls and the chance is gone, as Sassuolo defenders crowd around the striker.
71' Marlon is calm in defence, finding Caputo's feet as the striker comes deep to gain possession. Sassuolo then work the ball wide to the right and Rogerio's deep cross is turned away for a corner. This is better from the hosts and for as long as the score remains at 2-1, they will feel they have a chance to nick a point in this game.
69' Calabria goes on another foray forward and nearly beats Consigli at his near post! The full-back had been played through by Ibrahimovic's curling pass and replays show that his shot was perhaps a bit further away from the target than it first seemed.
F. Đuričić
J. Boga
Sassuolo
68' Boga, who only came on at half-time, is substituted off for Djuricic. The winger surely must be carrying a knock if he has only lasted 20 minutes after the break.
66' We are halfway through the second half, which means another drinks break for the players and match officials.
65' CHANCE! Ibrahimovic feeds a short pass in to Kessie's feet, before the midfielder looks to return the favour towards the Swede. The striker gets his feet in a tangle and ends up on the floor. He has to do better from there, a good touch on Kessie's pass and it is 3-1 Milan as Consigili would have had no chance from that sort of range.
65' Peluso can count himself a little fortunate as he slides in from behind Calhanoglu in the area. Referee Pairetto deems the challenge fair, despite Milan's protestations.
64' Milan, as expected, are dictating the speed of play out there now but that does not mean Sassuolo are going out of this fixture with a wimper. The hosts continue to attempt to play and Milan will need a third goal, if they want to kill this game off.
62' Calhanoglu gets his feet mixed up on the edge of Sassuolo's area. If the Turk had managed to organise himself there, he would have had an easy one versus one chance with Consigli, after latching on to Rebic's pass.
I. Bennacer
Yellow Card
Milan
61' Bennacer is booked for a tactical foul on Locatelli, who had just progressed past the Milan midfielder in the centre of the park.
60' Calabria races on to an Ibrahimovic pass towards the byline, the full-back then looks to cut his cross back to the edge of the area but Kiriakopoulos slides in well to avert the danger.
59' It is safe to say the hosts have only worked two or so major chances this game against a strong Milan defence. Before the lockdown, AC Milan were facing on average 12.1 shots per game (4.5 on target) – now they’re facing an average of 9.8 (three of which on target).
57' Locatelli shrugs off the challenge of Saelemaekers in midfield and then secures possession by playing backwards to Peluso, who plays a switch towards the right wing and Sassuolo, again, work the ball well.
55' Donnarumma gets down well to deny Caputo from the right of the area after he had latched on to a throughball - never mind, the chance will not count anyway as the assistant had his flag up.
54' Laxalt and Ibrahimovic exchange passes before the full-back finds Rebic, he takes too many touches in the box and Sassuolo do well to usher him away from the danger zone. The attacker should have unleashed a shot earlier there.
52' It has been a good start for Sassuolo to the half, yet it only seems a matter of time until their legs tire and spaces begin to open up for Milan in this game.
51' Despite their numerical disadvantage, the hosts work possession well and Caputo has space 25 yards out. He opts to roll a pass towards Rogerio on the right, however, his shot is straight in to the hands of Donnarumma.
50' Ibrahimovic drills a shot from 20 yards out, which is blocked by the legs of Peluso and roles towards Consigli in the Sassuolo net.
48' Rebic dances around Sassuolo's right-back, however, his resulting cross is far too strong and goes out for a throw on the other side of the pitch.
48' It looks very much like 4-4-1 for Sassuolo now, Boga and Berardi occupy the wings while Caputo continues to play up front on his own.
46' Pairetto blows his whistle and the second half is underway!
D. Laxalt
T. Hernández
Milan
46' Changes galore at the break also sees Pioli replace Hernandez with Laxalt.
J. Boga
L. Haraslín
Sassuolo
46' Haraslin is hauled off at half-time and swapped for Boga. Strangely, the winger had looked like Sassuolo's brightest spark in the first half.
F. Magnanelli
G. Raspadori
Sassuolo
46' Winger Raspadori is also replaced at half-time by Magnanelli.
G. Kiriakopoulos
M. Müldür
Sassuolo
46' Mulduer is replaced at half-time by Kiriakopoulos.
This second half could be an uphill struggle for Sassuolo. They had looked frail in defence and had no answer to Milan's press or counter-attacking football. Bourabia's red card will only further make the hosts' challenge even greater and it is hard to see anything but a win for Pioli's side here now.
Milan gained an early opener through Ibrahimovic's unmarked header, which was beautifully assisted by the creative Calhanoglu. Sassuolo did find a way back in to the game through Caputo's penalty, thanks to VAR deeming Calhanoglu had handled the ball in the area. Ibrahimovic then gave Milan their rightful lead again, after rounding the keeper in the area and slotting home in to the empty net. With minutes to spare, Bourabia needlessly went in late on Rebic to gain his second yellow card of the half, meaning Sassuolo will play the second half with 10 men.
45' + 7' HALF-TIME: SASSUOLO 1-2 MILAN
45' + 7' BOURABIA IS SENT OFF! The midfielder was second to Milan's clearance and recklessly slid through the back of Rebic on the left wing. Referee Pairetto deems the challenge unacceptable and books Bourabia, before realising the midfielder has already been cautioned and sends him off. Sassuolo are down to ten and it could be a long second half for them.
45' + 5' Muldur persists down the right wing but his cross is headed away towards Rebic on the left wing. The Croatian gets to the clearance before Bourabia and is taken out from behind.
45' + 3' Six minutes of added time had been indicated just before Milan regained their lead. Largely, this will be due to the two injuries to Milan defenders.
H. Çalhanoğlu
Assist
Milan
45' + 2' Calhanoglu receives possession deep, ignores the option out wide and plays Ibrahimovic in with a right-footed throughball through the centre.
Z. Ibrahimović
Goal
Milan
45' + 2' GOALLLLL!!! 2-1 MILAN! The away team hit Sassuolo on the counter from their own corner! Calhanoglu carries the ball over the halfway line and then rolls a pass through to Ibrahimovic, who rounds the keeper and slides his shot in to an empty net. VAR have a long look at the decision but decide the Swede is onside.
44' Kessie always looks so calm in midfield. He intercepts play once again before finding Calhanoglu between Sassuolo's defensive lines. The Turkish midfielder runs wide and fires his shot straight at Peluso on the edge of the area.
F. Caputo
Penalty Goal
Sassuolo
42' GOAL!!! 1-1! Caputo smashes the penalty down the middle of the goal and Donnarumma can do nothing to stop it as he dives to his right.
40' PENALTY AWARDED! After a long look at the screens on the touchline, the referee decides, in his attempt to head the ball clear, Calhanoglu has handled Rogerio's cross and Sassuolo will have the chance to equalise from the penalty spot.
39' WIDE! Rogerio swings in a left-footed free-kick from the right wing and the ball nearly deflects in to Milan's goal! Who did that come off? It seems like it came off of a Milan defender before worrying Donnarumma in net. VAR are going to have a quick look if the deflection has come off of Calhanoglu's hand.
38' It could be argued that Ibrahimovic should have doubled Milan's lead. They have scored at least two goals in each of their last eight league fixtures – their best such run since 1964/65, when they did so in 10 consecutive games.
T. Hernández
Yellow Card
Milan
37' Hernandez goes straight through the back of Berardi on the right win and the full-back will be cautioned for his challenge.
36' All of Milan's joy seems to be coming from the right-hand side, Rogerio is going to need some help if Sassuolo are to stem the flow of Milan chances.
M. Locatelli
Yellow Card
Sassuolo
34' Locatelli pleads his innocence after fouling Calhanoglu but the referee is not interested as he books the Sassuolo midfielder.
33' SAVE! It should be two as Ibrahimovic's downwards header is straight at Consigli's feet at the back post from close range. The striker had the chance thanks to a wonderful Bennacer cross from deep on Milan's right-hand side.
M. Gabbia
A. Romagnoli
Milan
32' After going over on his ankle, Romagnoli looked fit to continue Piolo protects him and replaces him with Gabbia.
30' Romagnoli hobbles off of the pitch after winning an aerial battle. He has a quick clutch of his ankle off the pitch and the physios also have a look before the centre-back comes back on to the field.
29' Calhanoglu is running this game so far, every time he gets the ball it looks like something will happen. He has scored seven goals in Serie A this season – his best tally since 2014/15 when he netted eight in the Bundesliga for Bayer Leverkusen.
28' Hernandez looks to play a low cross in to the box but Peluso is there to clear the danger in front of the incoming Ibrahimovic.
26' Play is back underway and Locatelli has possession inside Sassuolo's half.
24' As is the new normal since the resumption, we have reached the halfway point in the first half and the players will have a drinks break.
23' Tensions are rising out on the pitch as Caputo and Hernandez both feel they have been unfairly challenged and let the referee know their discontent at his decisions. Caputo is perhaps lucky to escape a booking for dissent there.
22' CHANCE! Milan have a corner on the left, which Calhanoglu curls towards the front post and the cross is met by Kessie's glancing header, the flick-on goes right across the face of goal before, luckily for Sassuolo, rolling out for a goal-kick.
M. Bourabia
Yellow Card
Sassuolo
22' Bourabia goes in late on the back of Ibrahimovic's ankle with a sliding tackle and is rightfully booked.
21' Sassuolo will be kicking themelves there. Firstly, getting caught playing out from the back before gifting a player of Calhanoglu's quality far too much time to get his head up and play from outside the box.
Z. Ibrahimović
Goal
Milan
19' GOALLLLL!!!! 1-0 MILAN!! Kessie intercepts high up the pitch and Milan work the ball out to Calhanoglu, who crosses from deep for the unmarked Ibrahimovic to head in to the bottom corner from around 12 yards out. Sassuolo will feel one of Muldur or Marlon has to do better in marking the striker there.
H. Çalhanoğlu
Assist
Milan
19' A lovely curling ball with the inside of Calhanoglu's right foot finds the Swedish striker unmarked in the penalty area to give Milan the lead.
18' Calabria releases Calhanoglu down the right wing with a curling pass, the Turkish midfielder then crosses towards the front post but no one in a Milan shirt can to it.
17' Ibrahimovic is brought down by Marlon and Milan have a great chance from 25 yards out. The Swedish striker steps up to the free-kick and fires just over the bar. Consigli seemed to have seen that one going over all the way.
15' Back down the other end, Calhanoglu fires a pass out to Rebic, who cuts inside on to his right foot but his shot is far too weak and that is not going to beat Consigli in the Sassuolo goal.
14' Could Berardi be the difference here? He has already scored eight goals in 11 league appearances against Milan; more than he’s scored against any other team in Serie A. However, his last goal against the Rossoneri was in October 2015 and he has failed to score in his last six appearances against them.
13' SAVE! Sassuolo break quickly and Berardi finds himself with space to attack the full-back. He dances around the first tackle and cuts inside, firing a low left-footed shot towards the centre of the goal, which Donnarumma does well to get down to and save.
12' Milan are trying to get in the faces of Sassuolo but they play with assurance through the middle and break away, before a tactical foul by Milan stops any further progress.
D. Calabria
A. Conti
Milan
11' Injured right-back Conti limps off and will be replaced by Calabria. Milan are back to the eleven that started their last game against Bologna.
9' A fairly innocuous challenge on the right leaves Conti in a bit of pain - in fact, he is going to require treatment for the knock and the physios rush on towards the opposite side of the pitch to treat the full-back.
7' Haraslin goes searching down the left wing and makes his way in to the box before Kjaer clears the danger away for a corner. This has been a bright start by Sassuolo as Milan are yet to even enter the hosts' half.
6' The hosts work possession well across the midfield from left to right and a chance eventually falls to Locatelli, 25 yards out, which he fires well wide of the target.
5' Sassuolo press high and a deflected shot gives them a corner on the left-hand side, which they then play short and instantly win another corner. The resulting corner, again, comes to nothing.
3' Muldur persists down the right wing before firing a wicked cross towards the penalty spot. It seems to have come off of a Milan leg but the referee is adamant it is a goal-kick.
3' Will Milan make it back-to-back away wins against Sassuolo here? They were victorious on the last occasion these two teams faced each other in the second half of the season, but the Rossoneri have never won their second fixture of the season against Sassuolo in two consecutive campaigns.
2' Peluso sends an early ball long and Haraslin gets too carried away in his pursuit of the ball, fouling Kjaer in the process and gifting Milan a free-kick deep in their own half.
1' Referee Luca Pairetto blows his whistle and the game is underway!
The players are making their way on to the pitch and the game will be underway shortly.
While both teams are unbeaten since the restart, it is hard to not favour Milan here. Sassuolo’s last win in this fixture came in March 2016 – since then, the Rossoneri have notched up five wins and two draws against them.
Pioli only makes one change to the side that thrashed Bologna 5-1, with Conti coming in for Calabria at right-back. As expected, Ibrahimovic starts despite his petulance after being substituted in Milan’s last game. They also remain without the injured trio of Leo Duarte, Mateo Musacchio and Samu Castillejo again as they continue their respective recoveries.
Roberto De Zerbi surprisingly makes five changes to the side that were held by Cagliari. There are two changes at the back as Consigli replaces Pegolo in goal and Peluso comes in for the suspended Gian Marco Ferrari. Further forward for the hosts, Raspadori is preferred ahead of winger Boga, while Traore and Djuricic also drop to the bench.
SUBS: Matteo Gabbia, Daniel Maldini, Davide Calabria, Diego Laxalt, Lucas Biglia, Lucas Paqueta, Marco Brescianini, Rafael Leao, Asmir Begovic, Giacomo Bonaventura, Antonio Donnarumma, Rade Krunic
MILAN (4-2-3-1): Gianluigi Donnarumma; Andrea Conti, Simon Kjaer, Alessio Romagnoli, Theo Hernandez; Franck Kessie, Ismael Bennacer; Hakan Calhanoglu, Alexis Saelemaekers, Ante Rebic; Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
SUBS: Hamed Junior Traore, Filip Djuricic, Gianluca Pegolo, Andrea Ghion, Giangiacomo Magnani, Stefano Piccinini, Jeremie Boga, Giacomo Manzari, Georgios Kyriakopoulos, Stefano Turati, Francesco Magnanelli, Jeremy Toljan.
SASSUOLO (4-2-3-1): Andrea Consigli; Marlon Santos, Mert Muldur, Rogerio, Federico Peluso; Manuel Locatelli, Mehdi Bourabia; Giacomo Raspadori, Domenico Berardi, Lukas Haraslin; Francesco Caputo.
Stefano Pioli has reinvigorated this Milan side since the season’s resumption and their unbeaten run (W6, D2) has them hot on the tails of Napoli in the Europa League spots. Sassuolo also come in to this game unbeaten in eight (W4, D4), albeit that record does include two frustrating stalemates in the past week.
Hello and welcome to coverage of the Serie A fixture between Sassuolo and Milan.