Alessio Romagnoli’s header and a trademark Suso left-foot curler gave Milan the victory at Sassuolo to save Vincenzo Montella’s job.
Coach Montella was under immense pressure amid reports he’d be fired with anything less than a victory at the Mapei Stadium. Ricardo Rodriguez, Lucas Biglia, Jack Bonaventura and Andrea Conti were injured, while the hosts missed Domenico Berardi, Claud Adjapong, Alfred Duncan, Timo Letschert, Cristian Dell’Orco and Edoardo Goldaniga.
Milan had Davide Calabria back from a head injury and lost him again after just 13 minutes with a sprained ankle, replaced by Ignazio Abate.
Sassuolo had the first chance of the game moments later, as Luca Mazzitelli’s angled drive was beaten away low at the near post by Gianluigi Donnarumma.
Hakan Calhanoglu tested Andrea Consigli and Matteo Politano’s cross flashed past everyone, including Diego Falcinelli at the far post.
Fabio Borini cut inside and curled with his right foot, beaten away by Consigli, then the goalkeeper flew for a great save on Nikola Kalinic’s header after fine work down the right by Franck Kessie.
On the resulting corner, Alessio Romagnoli anticipated Consigli to nod in at the near post. The goalkeeper was furious, but VAR confirmed there was no foul.
Leonardo Bonucci made a decisive sliding block on Missiroli from point-blank range.
Kessie scuffed his finish following a give-and-go with Suso, then the Ivorian charged through the middle for a low drive denied by Consigli’s one-handed save.
Milan doubled their lead with a moment of magic, as Suso sprinted down the right flank on to a Fabio Borini ball, skipped past Federico Peluso and curled a left-foot screamer into the far top corner from a tight angle.
Suso then put in a sensational ‘trivela’ cross that Kalinic acrobatically flicked over the bar, while Consigli got behind Manuel Locatelli’s effort and turned a Borini attempt round the near post.