Milan beat Sassuolo 2-1 in a fiery encounter with three red cards, but it’s not enough for Europe.
This could well be Clarence Seedorf’s final match as Coach, just five months after a 4-3 defeat to Sassuolo proved the end for Massimiliano Allegri. They still had a very slim chance of qualifying for the Europa League, but needed a victory with both Torino and Parma failing to win.
Sassuolo secured their Serie A safety last week and had won their last three away games, so were brimming with confidence. Robinho, Daniele Bonera, Riccardo Saponara and Valter Birsa missed out, but 15-year-old Hachim Mastour was on the bench for the first time. Mario Balotelli was rested after his shock at seeing his house burgled this week. The Neroverdi were without Reto Ziegler, Sergio Floccari, Francesco Acerbi, Paolo Bianco, Thomas Manfredini and Marius Alexe.
It took under two minutes for the hosts to break the deadlock, as Sulley Muntari’s left-foot snapshot thumped the inside of the near post to ricochet past a helpless goalkeeper.
Lorenzo Ariaudo blasted over from a free kick and Alberto Pomini got down to beat away Giampaolo Pazzini’s effort, then did the same on a Ricky Kaka curler that was heading for the bottom corner.
Muntari threatened a second, scuffing just wide, while Pazzini’s goal was ruled offside.
The Rossoneri did double their tally with a Nigel De Jong free kick taking a decisive touch off Simone Zaza in the wall.
Chibsah timed his sliding tackle perfectly to stop Kaka pulling the trigger on a Taarabt assist, while Pomini needed his wits about him to prevent substitute Stephan El Shaarawy from scoring.
Milan went down to 10 men, as Philippe Mexes received a second yellow card for clattering into Domenico Berardi.
Pazzini went on a solo counter-attack and got past Ariaudo, but Pomini palmed it round the base of the near post.
Paolo Cannavaro received a straight red card for a shocking challenge on El Shaarawy in the middle of the park.
Soon after, Milan went down to nine men, as Mattia De Sciglio was sent off for his penalty challenge. Simone Zaza’s stuttering run-up sent Abbiati the wrong way.
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Sent off: Mexes 68 (M), Cannavaro 86 (S), De Sciglio 89 (M)