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Coppa Italia • Milan-Sassuolo Preview: When it Counts


Now that Milan has developed a taste for silverware, we come into the Coppa Italia Round of 16 with a chance at a real trophy. That’s right. A trophy from an actual FIFA-sanctioned tournament and a ticket to the Super Coppa and the Europa League, too. Oh yeah, don’t forget the patch. Whichever team hoists the Coppa Italia trophy gets to wear that little target-shaped tricolore patch all next season. So even if no one cares about the Coppa, this year, Milan must. Let’s hope that we can show up like we did in all of those friendlies, especially when it counts.

Eyes on the prize

Sassuolo… well they’re the same team that beat us 2-1 at the San Siro just 6 days ago. Since then, they also had a 1-1 draw, their opponent being Udinese. Di Francesco lined up Consigli; Longhi, Vrsajlko, Acerbi, Cannavar; Magnanelli, Missiroli, Brighi’ Zaza, Berardi, and Floro Flores. They had three times as many shots as Udinese and 61% possession, but Udinese were more clinical. Kinda like Sassuolo were with us. Sassuolo are still without goalkeeper Pegolo, and may also be missing Gliozzi, Taider and Peluso to injuries.

Milan will be missing Mexes to suspension (yes, those do carry over from the previous season in the Coppa.) Honda is still at the Asian Cup, van Ginkel is still injured, and I haven’t heard anything as of this writing about Niang after he took that awkward fall on Saturday.

Milan's curse: 4 goals against us last January, 2 assists last week. Maybe we should mark him?

The winner of this match will face the winner of tomorrow’s Torino-Lazio match in the Quarterfinals. That is where this gets challenging for Milan. The other trophies we’ve won this season were not only friendlies, but all won in a single night. To win the Coppa Italia, we’ve got to win three matches (or maybe four, I think the semifinals is a two-legged affair.) So we would need that thing called consistency, which has been particularly elusive so far this season.

But I am getting way ahead of myself. Tomorrow we face the little team that could… and did beat us at home just six days ago. We’ve got to dig deeper and find what it takes to beat them first, or be eliminated from the only competition we can possibly win a real trophy from this season. Milan have shown moments of brilliance and have been hoarding trophies from friendlies this season, but will they be able to show up and play when it counts?


This post inspired by the music of Metallica


Coppa Italia Round of 16
Milan vs. Sassuolo
Tuesday, January 13 • 21:00 CET (3pm EST)
This match is being shown LIVE on BeIN Sports in the U.S.