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Sassuolo secure surprise win at Stadio San Siro

Sassuolo throw potential wrench in Milan's top four hopes?

April 21, 2021 By Michelle Bonsu
It's been a tough week for the Rossoneri after the whole European Super Week chaos and now this...

It's been quite the week for quite a few teams across Europe, and AC Milan is one of them.

On Monday, many football fans awoke to the disturbing news that the Rossoneri, along with several other Italian, English, and Spanish sides, were looking to form a European Super League. This controversial tournament would see the likes of Milan, Inter, Juventus, as well as Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester United, Barcelona, Atletico Madrid, Real Madrid, Tottenham, Manchester City, and Arsenal, all feature in their own separate competition and play each other every season. No one would be promoted or relegated, but the tournament's organizers claimed that other teams could be "invited" to feature at a later date.

But, 24 hours after announcing it, the competition was in tatters as many clubs started jumping ship. Meanwhile, Milan had to focus on welcoming Sassuolo to the Stadio San Siro as the Rossoneri may now have pretty much thrown in the towel on the Scudetto race, but the Champions League battle is still in full swing. They have a very determined Atalanta side looking to steal a march on second, and then there's reigning champs Juventus, who themselves are out of the running for the Scudetto, but certainly will want to consolidate a Champions League spot by finishing as high in the table as feasible.

Unfortunately for Milan, they haven't done well at home. Despite picking up a recent 2-1 win over Genoa, the Rossoneri actually needed an own goal from their opponents to end a poor run that has seen them win just two league home matches in 2021 (against Crotone and Torino, two teams in the bottom three of the table).

Sassuolo, meanwhile, are a team who've built their reputation on pulling off upsets against the bigger sides in Serie A. Milan fans won't remember the Neroverdi so fondly after Domenico Berardi's poker ended Massimiliano Allegri's career on the Rossoneri bench in January 2014, but Sassuolo haven't enjoyed much luck against Milan lately. In fact, they haven't beaten the Diavolo in Serie A since March 2016, with seven losses and two draws since then, and only one win at the Stadio San Siro since January 2015.

That is, until today.

And it wasn't Berardi to cause Milan the trouble this time around, either.

Giacomo Raspadori isn't a name that will be familiar to most fans. But the 21-year-old will be a hero to Sassuolo supporters after his performance today. After coming on as a late sub, the Azzurrini striker grabbed a late brace to double his total output to four goals for Roberto De Zerbi's side and condemn Milan to their sixth loss of the season.

More important, it's given Sassuolo a third straight win on the bounce, and potentially put Milan's hopes of qualifying for the Champions League in jeopardy. Milan's being especially keen on featuring in the European Super League is because they haven't been able to qualify for the Champions League in years, which has led to them losing quite a bit of revenue, and the ESL would help them avoid that troubling conundrum as there's no threat of exclusion no matter how poorly they perform domestically. 

So, this latest loss to a smaller side like Sassuolo is very ironic, especially as Sassuolo's boss was slamming Milan for their involvement in the ESL just a few days ago. De Zerbi believes that football should have plenty of David vs. Goliath stories because that's what the fans want to see, smaller sides beating bigger sides and yes, potentially blocking those bigger teams from qualifying for tournaments because people do enjoy the Cinderella stories every now and then.

Will Sassuolo, once again, throw a wrench in Milan's plans? We'll just have to wait and see.

 

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