Sassuolo 1, Milan 2: Breaking News

Milan took the pitch to win, but even two goals from Ibrahimovic were eclipsed by breaking news. That news was that Milan ended their pursuit of Ralf Rangnick, despite reports for months that a deal was done to bring him to the club. In a match where injuries and discipline became a concern for Milan’s next match, the bigger news of Pioli’s contract extension calmed a lot of the anxieties. It was all about breaking news.

Winning is the best breaking news 

Abandoning Year Zero
After waking up every day for eight months now to an endless news stream insisting Ralf Rangnick had signed a contract to come to Milan to coach/be sporting director/be technical director/unicorn wrangler/fairy dust collector or any combination of those job descriptions, the news broke after Ibrahimovic scored his first goal that Rangnick and Milan had mutually decided that they were breaking up. So sad.

This decision is the best decision this ownership has made since bringing Maldini into the club. Not only do we avoid a very unnecessary year zero, we continue the positive momentum we have right now, and we also avoid bringing in a guy who is briefly brilliant, burns out quickly, and does not play well with others. Win-win-win… just an infinite amount of winning with this decision. Too bad Boban literally lost his job because of it.

The right choice

Pioli Contract Extension
Another great decision by the owners and management. Such a well-deserved contract extension, through 2022. As Maldini said, he is the right man to lead this team right now, a team that is “successful, young, and hungry.” Pioli has exceeded all expectations, and further embarrassed the hateful fans who had the #PioliOut hashtag trending before he was ever appointed. Of course, everyone is okay with this move now, after eight months of promoting Rangnick propaganda, because Pioli has this team performing and also winning.

Ibrahimovic scores. Then news breaks. Because Ibra.

That brings us to what should have been the focus of this match. A hard-fought win at the Mapei Stadium in which Ibrahimovic scored a brace, with Calhanoglu racking up two more brilliant assists. Also celebrating Gigio’s 200th appearance for Milan in a match where only a penalty spoiled his party.

It started with Sassuolo disrupting Milan and pinning them back for the first 15 minutes or so. But as the team found their rhythm, Ibrahimovic scored a diving header from the perfect Calhanoglu cross to make it 1-0 Milan.

Showing gratitude for a good decision 

That same Calhanoglu was unfortunately called for a handball in the box late in the first half, with Sassuolo being given the penalty after a VAR review. Caputo converted the penalty to make it 1-1 all. But Ibrahimovic was having none of that, and answered with another goal from a Calhanoglu assist just five minutes later, where he walked the ball around Consigli and slotted it in as only Ibrahimovic does. 2-1 Milan. In the final minute of stoppage time, Bourabia earned a second yellow and was sent off, leaving Sassuolo on ten men for the rest of the match. The best part about that was that his foul on Rebic was frightening, so dangerous. Only Rebic stood back up and walked off unscathed, and Bourabia seemed to have injured himself by fouling Rebic. Maybe Rebic is superhuman.

Sassuolo fought a brave fight even down a man, with the big highlight being Consigli making a triple save, first on Kessie, then twice on Bonaventura in the 81st. Other than that, Milan’s best chance to put the game away was from Bennacer, who hit the post in the 74th. But it would end 2-1 for Milan, which also guaranteed that we will finish in a Europa League spot this season.

Consigli completely schooled

Discipline and Injuries
The concerning part of the day for Milan was the multiple injuries and suspensions that will impact our big match against Atalanta. First Conti went down in the ninth minute, and was subbed off shortly thereafter. Then Romagnoli, who had previously played every single minute of every single game this season, looked to have some calf trouble in the 30th minute and was also unable to continue. Initial reports put him out for the final three matches of the season. Those are obviously big fitness concerns going forward.

Both Theo Hernandez and Bennacer earned yellows, which sees them both suspended for Friday’s match due to card accumulation. These are worrying suspensions, as we have the least depth at both of their spots.

Youngest Milan player ever to have 200 matches

Rather than just a game tonight, we learned a lot. Like sometimes the project you have is the best project for you, no matter how tempting looking for the next big thing might be. A hardworking, loyal coach can do more for a team than some massively overpaid whining, hairplug-wearing coach. Or even an intriguing, exotic import who didn’t have the class to keep his mouth shut during negotiations. Sometimes taking all three points has some casualties, but watching a team consistently perform and achieve results is better than all the breaking news in the world.

This post inspired by my beautiful Birthday Girl and Milanista, Sofia

Our next match is
Serie A Week 36
Milan vs. Atalanta
Friday, July 24 • 21:45 CEST (3:45pm EDT)

Sassuolo 1, Milan 2: Breaking News Sassuolo 1, Milan 2: Breaking News Reviewed by Elaine on 4:22 PM Rating: 5
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