Milan didn’t get the result they wanted to celebrate their 120th birthday, as the woodwork twice denied Rafael Leao against Sassuolo.
It was a very special atmosphere at San Siro, where legends of the past gathered to mark the 120th anniversary of AC Milan’s foundation. They all lined up at half-time, with the likes of Arrigo Sacchi, Gianni Rivera, Jose Altafini, Dida, Franco Baresi, Paolo Maldini, Sebastiano Rossi and Maurizio Ganz.
The Rossoneri were finally finding their feet under Stefano Pioli, coming off back-to-back wins over Parma and Bologna. Leo Duarte was the only remaining absentee, so it was the same starting XI for the third game running. Sassuolo were still missing Vlad Chiriches, Gregoire Defrel and Andrea Consigli, but Gianluca Pegolo returned in goal. Manuel Locatelli was back facing his boyhood club.
Francesco Caputo should’ve done better when sent clear by an inspired Marlon pass, while Jack Bonaventura forced Pegolo into a tricky save with his strike from the edge of the box.
Jeremie Boga went on a mazy run down the left, stinging Gigio Donnarumma’s gloves at the near post. Hakan Calhanoglu just had to tap in a pull-back from seven yards, but he couldn’t get clean enough contact on it.
Milan did eventually get the ball in the net with full-back Theo Hernandez’s effort taking a deflection to loop into the top corner. However, the goal was disallowed using VAR, as Franck Kessie had handled in the build-up.
Sassuolo fought back, Kyriakopoulos forcing Donnarumma into a difficult save with his screamer at the near stick, while Boga was causing huge problems every time he ran down the left.
Milan really should’ve gone in front on 40 minutes when Ismael Bennacer got away after a Francesco Magnanelli error and even Pegolo had mistimed the rush off his line, but incredibly the ex-Empoli midfielder fired it straight at the only remaining Sassuolo defender.
Straight after the restart, Boga failed to make the most of a defensive error, his curler going wide from nine yards, then Kyriakopoulos forced another Donnarumma save with a low strike.
Bonaventura cut inside from the left flank and Marlon got the block in, then Lucas Paqueta almost scored within five seconds of coming off the bench, Pegolo sticking out a foot to parry from close range.
Pegolo again made a double save on 70 minutes, getting his gloves to a Calhanoglu effort and the Bonaventura rebound too.
Rafael Leao replaced Piatek and immediately rattled the crossbar with a ferocious effort from outside the box.
Sassuolo also threatened, Pedro Obiang off target from distance and Junior Hamed Traore forcing a flying Donnarumma save.
Leao couldn’t believe it when hit the frame of the goal again, this time a curler off the base of the far post.
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