Sassuolo are genuine challengers for a top six finish after sweeping Milan aside 2-0, ending their 11-game unbeaten run.
This was an unexpected showdown for Europe, as seventh hosted sixth, but the Rossoneri have now lost all three of their trips to the Mapei Stadium. Mattia De Sciglio was captain on his 100th Serie A appearance, as Ignazio Abate was suspended with M’Baye Niang, Riccardo Montolivo, Luiz Adriano and Philippe Mexes sidelined, but Alessio Romagnoli dropped.
There were three early Milan chances in quick succession, but Andrea Consigli dealt with a Jack Bonaventura snapshot, Keisuke Honda effort and Carlos Bacca’s counter was deflected. Consigli also fingertipped a looping Luca Antonelli header out from under the bar.
However, Sassuolo broke the deadlock with a left-foot ground-to-air missile from Alfred Duncan, the midfielder smashing in from the edge of the box on a well-worked Berardi corner.
Antonelli dived in to block a Nicola Sansone angled drive after the offside trap failed, then Gigio Donnarumma needed a big save to deny Berardi following a Sansone assist.
After the restart Donnarumma flew to deny Berardi’s trademark left-foot curler, while Sassuolo lost Paolo Cannavaro and Simone Missiroli to muscular injuries.
Sassuolo’s second goal infuriated Sinisa Mihajlovic so much he was sent off for dissent. Andrea Bertolacci probably should’ve had a free kick for Davide Biondini’s studs on his thigh, but play continued while he was down and Sime Vrsaljko pulled back from the by-line for Sansone to turn in undisturbed.
The referee also irritated the hosts when sending off Gregoire Defrel for a debatable second yellow card offence.
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Sent off: Defrel 77 (S)