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Sassuolo 3, Milan 2: With a Little Help From My Friends


The score will show that Sassuolo won today, but in reality, football lost. While there has been a precedent that Milan is the favorite target of both Sassuolo and Berardi, today we were the target of multiple poor calls by Guida and his assistants, who did their best to stick to the story. So not only did Milan lose, football lost, too.

Guida was the center of attention, just the way he likes it

Guida got it started early with the controversial calls. In the 14th minute, Berardi took a shot that took a wicked bounce for Lopez and went toward the goal line. Only Lopez saved it from the entire ball crossing the entire plane, as is the rule. But Guida’s assistant, knowing that we are only three games away from goal line technology, took advantage of perhaps his last chance to change a game like this and awarded Berardi with the goal. 1-0 Sassuolo.

One minute later at the other end, Guida made a very subjective call. On a loose ball, Bonaventura and Missiroli were both going for the ball when Bonaventura made contact with the Sassuolo player. Even if you believed that Bonaventura’s contact was intentional and not part of his motion to get the ball, most refs would not award a yellow for that, especially not so early in the match. This is noteworthy, because in the 56th, Bonaventura would rightfully earn a second yellow when he put his hand up to “block” a ball to his face, even if he definitely deflected it. While Bonaventura would have missed the next match either way, Guida saw to it that Milan played this match on ten men for over 30 minutes.

Poli left his heart out on the pitch... unless Guida stole that, too

But the controversy certainly didn’t stop there. Berardi’s second goal was in the 31st, when replays show he was clearly offside when the ball was kicked forward, but the assistant’s flag stayed down and the goal was allowed. 2-0 Sassuolo. There were other questionable calls, cards awarded or not, penalties appealed but not given. But Guida and his assistants had already determined the game on the bigger calls, and Sassuolo was clearly winning this one with a little help from their friends.

There was some actual football in between the incidents… I think. Like in the 36th, when Honda stung Consigli’s gloves. He and Bonaventura particularly seemed to get very motivated by the poor early calls, in fact, it was Bonaventura who scored in the 33rd to answer the offside goal. 2-1 Sassuolo I wish we could have seen what the latter could have done had he been rightfully allowed to play all 90 minutes. There was a scary moment just before the half when Paletta’s boot caught a falling Zaza’s throat, but thankfully, Zaza was able to play the rest of the match.

Oh yeah, and this kid made his debut after injury and marked his 100th Milan appearance with a yellow card, too

Suso replaced Abate at the half, apparently Abate had a badly bruised foot, so Poli moved back to right back. In the 50th, Alex scored the equalizer - a header, beating Consigli on a brilliant cross from Suso from a corner. 2-2 all. But after going down to ten men, Berardi finally scored an actual goal in the 78th. 3-2 Sassuolo. I guess it’s true what they say, the third time’s a charm? But who can think the match was fair? Milan were given six yellow cards plus the straight red for Suso with only 13 seconds left for his studs up challenge on Magnanelli. Sassuolo only received two yellows, and it simply was not the kind of game to see either team finish on nine men.

A lot of Milan fans might be surprised that I even care this much in a game where neither team had much to play for. Except dignity. And our boys showed enough fight today that they should have left with their dignity. And three points. De Francesco afterward, knowing his team got away with murder, said that the ref calls shouldn’t overshadow Sassuolo’s great performance. But Sassuolo didn’t outplay Milan for much of the game if at all. The referee and his assistants were the glaring champions of this match, and I don’t care where we sit on the table or how long this season has been, football is never meant to be decided by the refs. So enjoy your three points, Sassuolo. And your “hat-trick,” Berardi. I hope you can sleep tonight knowing that this one was won with a little help from your friends.


This post inspired by the music of The Beatles


Our next match is
Milan vs. Torino
Sunday, May 24 • 20:45 CEST (2:45pm EDT)