Milan 1, Sassuolo 0: Happy Pioli New Year

In a match that was reportedly an essential win for Pioli's job, the team Allegri'd Sassuolo with a 1-0 victory to keep Pioli into the new year. The irony, of course, being that when Allegri was in that same position 10 years ago, Milan lost by 4-3 to Sassuolo, and he also lost his job. On Saturday, the guys actually scored two goals that were called back for offside before Pulisic finally got one in that stuck, and Berardi was unable to score against his favorite victim, continuing Sassuolo's poor form. That describes a Happy Pioli New Year in a nutshell.

Celebrating Pioli New Year in Pioli style: United.

This was Bennacer's 150th Milan appearance, and his last appearance with Milan before jetting off to AFCON with his Algerian side, so he was determined to make his mark. Just seven minutes in, he scored the first goal from the top of the box, but it was called back for a teammate having been offside in the buildup. In the 23rd, he sent in what would have been a great solo goal, but it was just wide.

150 appearances and still amazing.

Leão also scored a goal that was called back for offside in the 31st, yet for some reason, although he is our best player, Milan fans whistled and booed him at the end. No wonder Milan are struggling. With fans like that, who needs enemies? Despite having 59% possession and peppering the Sassuolo goal with 20 shots, Milan struggled to convert. On the other end, Berardi nearly scored on his favorite target, but Maignan made a brilliant save to tip it over. Maignan actually made six saves to keep his clean sheet in this one.

Maignan always has our backs.

In the 59th minute, Milan finally got the goal, as Bennacer threaded the ball perfectly through for Pulisic, who was definitely not offside, and he finished it off to make it 1-0 Milan. Adli and Jović replaced Bennacer and Giroud respectively shortly thereafter. Then Old Samu (The Legendary Samu Castillejo) replaced Berardi, who appeared to be injured.

Powered by Pulisic.

In the 74th minute, our Primavera captain, Kevin Zeroli, was able to make his first team debut at the San Siro, replacing Loftus-Cheek. And finally, the young Simić replaced Kjaer and Leão made way for Young Samu (Chukwueze) so that we finally had the matchup we had all been waiting for: Old Samu vs. New Samu. Only it was rather anticlimactic, as Old Samu got himself cautioned with the only yellow of the match for a foul on Pulisic. And New Samu had the last good chance for Milan in the 90th minute, sending it just wide.

A night Zeroli won't ever forget.

This wasn't a game that will stay in anyone's memory as a particularly great game, nor was it a horrible game, either. It was one of those matches where they did just enough to get the job done. Which kind of sums up Pioli's career. After being brought in to right the ship, he surprised everyone for a while by overachieving, but since then has done just enough to keep his job. Happy Pioli New Year.

Making it happen. Together.

This post inspired by the music of Käärijä's "Cha Cha Cha"

Our next match is 
Coppa Italia Round of 16
Milan vs. Cagliari
Tuesday, January 2 • 21:00 CET (3pm EST)

Milan 1, Sassuolo 0: Happy Pioli New Year Milan 1, Sassuolo 0: Happy Pioli New Year Reviewed by Elaine on 10:30 AM Rating: 5
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