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Sassuolo v Milan Live Commentary, 8/30/22

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MAPEI Stadium - Città del Tricolore


That's all from the Mapei Stadium today, so thank you for joining us and goodbye!
Sassuolo take on promoted Cremonese and then host Udinese in their upcoming fixtures, while Milan must tackle city rivals Inter in the Derby, before kicking off their Champions League campaign against RB Salzburg.
A Milan side lacking momentum due to several changes and a stubborn Sassuolo outfit put on a drab display, which was far removed from the drama that occurred when the teams last met in Emilia-Romagna. On that occasion, the Rossoneri were crowned Italian champions, but they could not live up to that tag today, with a particularly insipid showing in the final third. The hosts' best chance was clearly Berardi's missed penalty in the first half - he later limped off injured. This result represents Milan's first failure to win for two Serie A games since February 2020, and they'll have to sharpen up their act for Saturday's Derby della Madonnina.
A. Álvarez
Yellow Card
90' + 7' For a foul on Tomori, substitute Alvarez picks up a booking.
90' + 6' Defrel briefly threatens to steal all three points with a low shot across goal from the right side of the area, but it drifts well wide of the target in the end.
90' + 4' Summing up Milan's efforts in the final third, Leao picks up half a yard of space on the edge of the area but scuffs his shot at goal, and it rolls towards Consigli, who makes a routine save.
90' + 3' After a series of stoppages in this second half, the officials have indicated seven additional minutes. Surely, a man light, Milan will now settle for a draw?
90' + 1' Mirroring Berardi's tearful exit from the pitch earlier, Florenzi hobbles off with help from Milan's medics and his game is already over. That leaves the Rossoneri down to 10 men!
89' Clearly in immediate agony, Florenzi pulls up in the opposition area clutching his leg. It's either a muscular injury or severe cramp, but some medical attention will definitely be required.
88' Already on a yellow card, Ferrari is lucky to escape punishment for a very hand-on challenge with De Ketelaere for the ball when sweeping up in the left-back position. Not even a free-kick is awarded.
G. Defrel
Yellow Card
86' The latest Neroverdi player to have his name taken by the referee is Defrel, for grasping at Tonali's arm and shirt.
R. Marchizza
G. Kiriakopoulos
84' A change of personnel on the left flank sees Kyriakopoulos make way for Marchizza.
A. Álvarez
A. Pinamonti
84' To see Sassuolo over the line - or perhaps even snatch a winner - Dionisi makes a double change. Up front, Pinamonti goes off; Alvarez is on.
82' Milan continue to push forward, but their hosts' resistance is impressive. Sassuolo are not exactly being torn apart by this mix-and-match Rossoneri XI, but they're still doing a good job of shutting them down.
P. Kalulu
S. Kjær
80' Having come safely through his first start for nearly nine months, Kjaer is spared the final 10 minutes - Kalulu comes on as his replacement.
78' An inviting ball into the box by Tonali is dropping towards the back post, but Tomori is penalised for a foul near the penalty spot and Sassuolo will have a free-kick.
G. Ferrari
Yellow Card
76' A poorly timed challenge on De Ketelaere earns Ferrari a yellow card.
75' With Giroud subbed - plus Ibrahimovic, Rebic and Origi all out injured - the champions have to find another way to break the deadlock today. Pioli has opted to field a more fluid front line for the final 15 minutes.
Y. Adli
O. Giroud
73' After a quiet game, Giroud is replaced. Adli comes on in his place; leaving Milan without a conventional centre-forward.
M. Lopez
Yellow Card
72' A marauding run by Leao towards the Sassuolo area is halted by Lopez, who becomes the latest player to be shown a yellow card.
70' After winning another corner, Leao arrives at the back post but sees his shot charged down at close range.
A. Harroui
D. Frattesi
69' Dionisi makes another switch in the engine room, as Harroui replaces Frattesi, who is on a booking.
Matheus Henrique
K. Thorstvedt
69' After a few bright moments, Thorstvedt is rested for the final 20 minutes, as Henrique slots into the Sassuolo midfield instead.
67' Milan may ponder whether to employ a set-piece coach after today's game, as they have barely made anything of six corners and several free-kicks inside the Sassuolo half. This match is ambling towards a goalless draw, unless someone can drum up some sorely lacking inspiration.
65' Bennacer's deftly placed free-kick, sent over from the left, causes some trouble in the Sassuolo six-yard box, but the Neroverdi get it clear. Milan regain the ball though, and win two more consecutive corners.
D. Frattesi
Yellow Card
64' Though Leao clearly shoves his hand into Frattesi's face, he escapes the referee's censure. Instead, the Sassuolo man is booked for a clip on Hernandez straight afterwards.
61' Successive Milan corners come to nothing, and Messias then concedes a free-kick for an over-eager aerial challenge outside the box.
60' After a moment or two of concern, Maignan is fit enough to continue and the game goes on.
59' The game's momentum is broken up again, as after Berardi's departure and a raft of substitutions, Maignan is down on the pitch in some pain. He collided with Tomori and landed awkwardly.
S. Tonali
T. Pobega
57' Milan's third substitution sees Pobega replaced by Tonali in central midfield.
Junior Messias
A. Saelemaekers
57' Messias is thrown on to occupy the right flank; Saelemaekers comes off.
C. De Ketelaere
Brahim Díaz
57' Piolo has seen enough of Milan's dire display, and he makes a triple change. First, Diaz makes way for De Ketelaere
55' With little happening on the pitch in a subdued spell, attention turns to a tearful Berardi, who sits in the dugout nursing his injury after being helped from the pitch by two medics.
54' After driving into space and progressing to the left corner of the box, Thorstvedt sees a low drive towards the far post saved by Maignan.
G. Defrel
D. Berardi
52' Having come off worst in a challenge with Hernandez, Berardi loses his running duel with the Frenchman and retires hurt; Defrel is his replacement.
51' Another coming-together betweeen Berardi and Hernandez occurs on the edge of the Milan area, as the latter levers the Sassuolo star of his feet. No free-kick or penalty is awarded, but Berardi seems to be hurt.
50' At the end of a rapid counter, Pobega feeds Diaz down the right, but the playmaker's cross from the byline is a little too deep and Giroud can't make meaningful contact with it at the back post.
48' With a raking long ball from the back, Kjaer picks out a run from Pobega into the box, but the midfielder miscontrols the ball before it bounces up and strikes his hand; giving away a free-kick.
46' Milan get us back under way, as the second half kicks off!
So far, Pioli's lineup - changed in several areas with Saturday's Milan derby in mind - has not found much fluency, and Sassuolo will aim to capitalise in the second half - perhaps before the Rossoneri bring reinforcements off the bench.
While they have had plenty of the ball, Milan have not played with a champion's swagger back on the turf where they claimed the title last term, and are actually a little fortunate to be on level terms at the interval. Sassuolo's star man Berardi telegraphed his penalty kick midway through the half, allowing Maignan to make a save, but the hosts grew into the game as it wore on. There has been more perspiration than inspiration so far, but perhaps that will change after the break.
45' + 2' Sassuolo captain Ferrari lives up to his name and zips across the area to deny Giroud a chance to shoot at goal.
45' + 1' In the first of two minutes added for stoppages at the end of the half, Toljan curls in a cross from the right, but Frattesi's header lacks power and is straight at the well-placed Maignan.
44' Berardi moves on from Hernandez to Bennacer, as he chases after and hauls down the Milan midfielder after being outsmarted by his counterpart in midfield. He is certainly fired up today!
A. Saelemaekers
Yellow Card
43' For deliberately clipping the heels of Rogerio, only just over the halfway line, Saelemaekers picks up a needless booking.
42' Florenzi is felled by taking a cross from the left flank straight on the back of his head, and the game comes to a halt while he recovers his composure. Without requiring treatment, he soon returns to his feet and we are back under way.
40' Bursting onto the ball, Giroud chests the ball down to fall into his own path, on the edge of the box, but then pulls his left-footed shot well wide of the post.
39' Having seen a shot sail over not long before, Kyriakopoulos - who also earned the penalty - makes another impact by forcing a corner for Sassuolo on the left. Following the pattern of this game so far, though, they waste it.
37' Despite having a 67 per cent share of the possession, and attempting twice as many shots at goal (six, to Sassuolo's three), Milan have not been convincing in the final third so far.
35' At the end of a sustained Sassuolo attack, an overhit ball to the right is kept in on the stretch by Pinamonti, but the on-loan Inter striker can only curls his cross straight into Maignan's waiting gloves from the byline.
33' Milan fail to make the most of two set-piece opportunities, as they waste a corner from the right side after Ferrari jumps highest to head clear Bennacer's free-kick.
31' Hernandez and Leao work a give-and-go on the left wing, but the former is crudely chopped down by Frattesi and Milan have a free-kick around 25 yards out from goal.
29' Still with a pained expression on his face - perhaps more as a result of his penalty miss than any injury - Berardi resumes his role on the right flank and the game continues.
28' While Berardi receives some medical attention following his clash with Hernandez, both sets of players take on some drinks and tactical instruction from their coaches.
T. Hernández
Yellow Card
27' Continuing his running battle with Berardi on the left touchline, Hernandez comes in late on a bouncing ball and brings down the Sassuolo winger: that's the game's first yellow card.
25' Frattesi attempts a shot from the right side of the area, but his effort sails high over Maignan's crossbar.
D. Berardi
Penalty Miss
22' Berardi spurns a golden chance to give Sassuolo the lead, as he places his penalty just left-of-centre at a good height for Maignan, who reads the forward's run-up correctly and makes the save!
M. Maignan
Penalty Save
22' SAVE! Maignan is Milan's hero, as the goalkeeper guesses correctly to palm away Berardi's rather tame penalty towards the bottom-left! The ball is then scrambled clear, and the champions escape!
22' THE PENALTY STANDS! The VAR has checked that Sassuolo's spot-kick should stand, and they are in agreement with the on-field officials - the Neroverdi have a chance to take the lead!
21' PENALTY! Thorstvedt powers through the centre of midfield and plays in Kyriakopoulos on the left side of the box, and the Sassuolo winger draws challenges from Florenzi and Saelemaekers which send him tumbling to the turf! The referee points to the spot, but will the VAR agree?
18' After Pinamonti holds the ball up well but then overplays and gifts the ball back to Milan on the edge of the visitors' area, Hernandez takes it and embarks on a surge clear of the box. Berardi is having none of it, though, and has a couple of nibbles at the full-back's shirt and then clips his legs.
16' With a smart turn, Diaz again gets the better of Thorstvedt in midfield, then turns towards goal and slightly scuffs a low effort narrowly past the left-hand post.
14' Kjaer is alert to cut across and prevent a corner, as Sassuolo mount their first sustained attack. Then, Hernandez - Milan's captain today - has to concede one straight after.
12' JUST OVER! With a typically powerful run, Leao cuts from outside to in from the left flank, shrugs off two defenders and fires a shot a yard over the top-right corner from just outside the box!
10' Diaz earns a free-kick by surging past Thorstvedt in midfield, causing his opponent to make an attempted block. However, the resulting free-kick comes to nothing.
8' After Pobega breaks into the area and latches onto a low pass, Consigli comes out to make a sharp block inside the six-yard box as the Milan midfielder tries to force the ball goalwards from a tight angle. It breaks to Leao, but his follow-up shot is badly sliced and spirals over the bar.
6' Milan's attacking momentum keeps faltering as stray passes punctuate the early part of this match, staged at a venue where they sealed the Scudetto just a few months ago.
4' Sassuolo have started cautiously against the champions, and are banked together inside their own half at the moment - a mistimed challenge by Frattesi brings down Giroud, though, and concedes a free-kick 30 yards out.
2' In a relatively sedate start to proceedings in Emilia-Romagna, it is Milan who have had most of the ball, but predominantly in midfield areas.
1' The hosts kick off, and we are under way in Sassuolo!
The players are out on the Mapei Stadium pitch, with kick-off now just moments away!
Completing a long-awaited comeback from injury, Kjaer starts his first Milan match for nearly nine months today, featuring alongside Tomori in the visitors' back four; Kalulu drops to the bench. Calabria, Tonali, Messias and De Ketelaere are also rested amid a busy schedule, as Florenzi, Pobega, Diaz and Saelemaekers get the nod instead. Attacking trio Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Ante Rebic and Divock Origi and are out of action due to injury, as is midfielder Rade Krunic.
Making just one change to the team which started in La Spezia at the weekend, Sassuolo replace Henrique with Thorstvedt in midfield today. Still without Hamed Traore and Mert Muldur through injury, the hosts have captain Berardi occupying his familiar spot on the right flank, while after scoring the equaliser on Saturday, Pinamonti leads the line up front.
SUBS: Ciprian Tatarusanu, Antonio Mirante, Fode Ballo-Toure, Junior Messias, Sandro Tonali, Yacine Adli, Charles de Ketelaere, Pierre Kalulu, Davide Calabria, Tiemoue Bakayoko, Matteo Gabbia.
MILAN (4-2-3-1): Mike Maignan; Alessandro Florenzi, Fikayo Tomori, Simon Kjaer, Theo Hernandez; Tommaso Pobega, Ismael Bennacer; Alexis Saelemaekers, Brahim Diaz, Rafael Leao; Olivier Giroud.
SUBS: Gianluca Pegolo, Alessandro Russo, Luca D'Andrea, Agustin Alvarez, Ruan, Gregoire Defrel, Abdou Harroui, Riccardo Marchizza, Kaan Ayhan, Matheus Henrique, Pedro Obiang.
SASSUOLO (4-3-3): Andrea Consigli; Jeremy Toljan, Gian Marco Ferrari, Martin Erlic, Rogerio; Davide Frattesi, Maxime Lopez, Kristian Thorstvedt; Domenico Berardi, Andrea Pinamonti, Georgios Kyriakopoulos.
Milan return to a happy hunting ground today, as they are currently on a run of six straight wins at the Mapei Stadium, dating back to March 2016. Not only that, but their most recent victory there also secured the Scudetto at the end of last season. The Rossoneri made it two wins from their first two home games of the season on Saturday, as they eased to a 2-0 victory over Bologna, having previously kicked off their title defence by beating Udinese. Held to a 1-1 draw by Atalanta in their only away fixture so far, Stefano Pioli's men are unbeaten in each of their last 19 league matches - posting 13 wins in the process.
Bouncing back from defeat to Juventus on the opening day, Sassuolo have picked up four points from their next two matches following a 2-2 draw with Spezia at the weekend. After letting a one-goal lead slip, Inter loanee Andrea Pinamonti grabbed the Neroverdi's 50th-minute equaliser to secure a share of the spoils at Stadio Alberto Picco. Alessio Dionisi's men had previously posted a 1-0 victory against newly-promoted Lecce, but that has been the only win from their last four league outings on home soil.
Hello and welcome to live coverage of today's Serie A clash between Sassuolo and Milan at the Mapei Stadium!