Milan 1, Sassuolo 3: Gutted

Yes, Milan have struggled, and lost some big games against Sassuolo. Sure, we also struggle with games that are earlier in the day. Yes, Milan have averaged five or more players out per game and have been playing every three days now for months. But none of those facts could have prepared anyone for this loss. Nor the mistakes that led to finishing on 10 men, let alone the final scoreline. Not unlike preparing a fish, Milan were absolutely gutted. 

Maignan's return was far too eventful

The game started off well enough, Milan were in control and had a couple of shots. In the 21st minute, Brahim Díaz took a corner and Theo Hernández sent it in, and our captain, Romagnoli, headed it past Consigli at a tight angle to score. 1-0 Milan.

That was as good as it got, because three minutes later, Scamacca equalized to make it 1-1 all. There was a VAR check to see if Brahim Díaz handled the ball in the 27th minute, but it was determined that he did not. Then, not even ten minutes after Sassuolo's goal, Scamacca sent in another great shot that ended up ricocheting off of Kjaer for an own goal. 2-1 Sassuolo. 

Romagnoli's goal made him a hero

Five minutes later, Raspadori fouled Bennacer and received a yellow card. Although it was VAR reviewed, no red card was given, despite him coming in studs up on Bennacer's leg. But Milan had a few other calls that went our way, it was not a decisive error. A fight nearly broke out after Bakayoko felled Frattesi in a way that only he can, and the Sassuolo player was down, but Milan did not send the ball out of play. Manganiello had no problem with Milan playing to the whistle, and the anger subsided eventually.

Pioli brought on much needed subs at halftime, with Kessié coming on for the unthinkably starting Bakayoko, and Messias replacing Brahim Díaz, who simply looked exhausted. Then the cards started flying. First, Bennacer and Theo Hernández. While Milan were trying to fight back in the second half, there just wasn't enough in the tank to counter the fresh legs and hunger of Sassuolo. 

Ibrahimovic lacked the laser focus and drive he has shown recently

In the 66th, Berardi scored against us. Again. That made 10 goals he's scored against Milan, more than any other team. In the 69th, we got lucky, as Theo Hernández should have received a second yellow for a foul, and Manganiello showed him mercy. He also showed yellow cards shortly thereafter to Tonali and Kjaer for fouls.

Messias had a powerful shot, and one of the best Milan chances of the night in the 74th. Then, as if being down two goals to the 13th place team was not painful enough, Romagnoli got himself sent off in the 77th to leave Milan on ten men. Hero to zero. In the 90th minute, there was a question about a Sassuolo handball, but once again, VAR reviewed it and no call was made.

Messias brought a lot of energy as a sub

Maignan was back, but definitely not 100% yet, which compounded the fact that our midfield and defense made tragic errors yet again. We have now lost two matches back to back after having been undefeated in 12, and we conceded seven goals in two matches as well. Ouch.

Certainly, tired legs and minds contributed. But Pioli has made some errors lately, too. For example, on Wednesday, he left Giroud on too long with a yellow card and a bad knock to the back, and he pulled up with a muscle injury. Again. Then he had to play Ibrahimović, and now he only has Ibrahimović of the two, Today, he started Bakayoko, who was a train wreck in the midfield and definitely gave away at least one of the goals. 

Gazidis returned to San Siro, the Curva honored him, but the team did not

Everyone is stretched mentally and physically from so many injuries for so long. We saw the same thing happen last season. It just hurts that it is happening so much earlier, and that we have had so many long-term injuries that have been so impactful. We managed to eek out the results until last week, but now the players have to dig even deeper. That didn't happen today, and we paid for it. Which left everyone completely gutted.

This post inspired by the music of Garbage's "Empty"

Our next match is 
Serie A Week 15
Genoa vs. Milan
Wednesday, December 1 • 20:45 CET (2:45pm EST)

Milan 1, Sassuolo 3: Gutted Milan 1, Sassuolo 3: Gutted Reviewed by Elaine on 11:21 PM Rating: 5
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