AC Milan vs. Sassuolo: Rossoneri wary of bogey opponent


AC Milan will be looking to make it a fourth straight game sans defeat as they take on Sassuolo at the Stadio San Siro on Sunday.

The Rossoneri come into this game having managed a scoreless stalemate with Fiorentina. The result against current coach Vincenzo Montella’s side means that Milan have also been able to keep three consecutive clean sheets. In fact, since their 1-0 reversal to Udinese, the Diavolo have picked up a solid seven points out of a possible nine.

Now in their third straight season without European football, Milan, who are only second behind Real Madrid in terms of Champions League titles won, are desperate to again grace the continental stage. Unfortunately, they missed out on a spot to the Europa League after being beaten out by – yes, you guessed it – Sassuolo.

The Neroverdi truly have been a thorn in Milan’s side since they first locked horns back in January 2014. Young striker Domenico Berardi made history as the first player to score a poker against the Rossoneri, and he has since acquired a taste for tormenting the fallen Italian giants.

Fortunately perhaps – if one is a Milan supporter – Berardi will not be fit in time to feature in this clash. Curiously enough, this game has never resulted in a draw, with four wins for Sassuolo and three for Milan. However, only one of Sassuolo’s victories has taken place at the Stadio San Siro – something that naturally the hosts will be counting to help them in this game.

Sassuolo, meanwhile, will have to pick themselves up after suffering a 3-1 defeat to Genk in Europa League action. This, of course, is the first ever European appearance for a team who only made their Serie A debut in 2013. Eusebio Di Francesco’s men were actually unbeaten since entering the play-off rounds, and it will be very interesting to see how they can regroup after their European exploits.

As things stand only one point divides the two sides heading into this fixture, but Milan are presently two places ahead. Both teams will be also having to make do without a crop of players due to injury, albeit Sassuolo are by far the hardest hit. In addition to Berardi, Stefano Sensi, Marcello Gazzola, Simone Missiroli and Paolo Cannavaro, and Alessandro Matri are all unavailable. Meanwhile, the hosts will be missing Andrea Bertolacci, Luca Antonelli and Cristian Zapata.

With four out of their last seven meetings ending as a 2-1 result – including three at the Stadio San Siro – this looks likely to be a very interesting one from start to finish. There is always some air of tension and intrigue every time Milan take on Sassuolo, and Sunday’s fixture should be no exception. Both managers, naturally will want to head into the international break with a win in hand. Will Milan continue their good home record against what has become a bogey team for them? Or will Sassuolo manage to frustrate them yet again?

Michelle Bonsu

Freelance football journalist based in New York. Primarily support AC Milan as well as the Ghanaian and Italian NT’s, but you’ll find me watching the Bundesliga and Premier League as well–enjoy a good game, regardless of where it’s being played. Zlatan Ibrahimovic is one of my favourite players.

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