Okafor saves the Devil, but Milan's comeback against Sassuolo stops at 3-3


By John

Sassuolo-Milan 3-3
NETWORKS: 4'pt Pinamonti, 10'pt and 8'st Laurientè, 20'pt Leao, 14'st Jovic, 39'st Okafor.
SASSUOLO (4-2-3-1): Tips 6.5; Toljan sv (9'pt Tressoldi 5), Erlic 6, Ferrari 6.5, Viti 6.5; Boloca 7 (32'st Racic sv), Obiang 5.5; Volpato 6.5 (1'st Defrel 6), Thorstvedt 7 (17'st Henrique 5), Laurientè 7.5 (32'st Ceide sv); Pinamonti 7. On the bench: Cragno, Pegolo, Doig, Kumbulla, Missori, Lipani, Bajrami, Mulattieri. Coach: Ballardini 6.
MILAN (4-2-3-1): Door 5; Florenzi 5, Kjaer 5 (10'st Gabbia 6), Thiaw 4.5, Hernandez 5.5; Adli 5 (37'st Okafor 7), Musah 5 (10'st Giroud 5); Chukwueze 6.5 (20'st Pulisic 6.5), Loftus-Cheek 5 (10'st Reijnders 6), Leao 7.5; Jovic 7. On the bench: Nava, Raveyre, Calabria, Terracciano, Tomori, Bennacer, Zeroli. Coach: Pioli 5.5.
REFEREE: Mass of Imperia 5.5.
NOTE: clear sky, pitch in good condition. Booked: Ferrari, Tressoldi, Thiaw, Pinamonti. Corners 2-6. Recovery time 3' st, 6' st.

A Milan full of second rows wakes up too late and doesn't go beyond a 3-3 draw on the Sassuolo pitch. The home team went up 2-0 and then 3-1, but were overcome late on by Jovic and Okafor. The neroverdi took the lead already in the 4th minute. Volpato clears Thiaw and puts a ball in tow from the right, then touched by Thorstvedt, on which Pinamonti pounces, who pierces Sportiello with his right neck with first intention. The guests are actually not on the pitch and the second goal arrives in the 10th minute. Florenzi was caught from behind by Laurienté who took advantage of a vertical pass from Thorstvedt and came face to face with Sportiello, beating him at the second attempt after the former Atalanta goalkeeper had rejected his first shot. In the 18th minute Chukwueze scores with a header, but the referee disallows it for offside. Pioli's men attack and close the gap in the 21st minute. Leao receives from Musah, skips Tressoldi and Boloca in one fell swoop and hits Consigli with a precise right-footed shot into the far corner which reopens the score. Close to injury time, Consigli had to be alert twice in the space of a few seconds, first on Florenzi's shot and then on Hernandez's shot which came after the rebound.

Ballardini's team started well in the second half and made it 3-1 in the 8th minute. Adli badly loses the ball in midfield, Defrel serves Laurienté who, with his right foot, left guiltily free, goes past Sportiello. Five minutes later, the Frenchman missed a simple pass on the edge of the area at the end of a counterattack, triggering a restart by the opponents. Leao starts from the left and serves the ball to the center wide, Consigli clears it short and Jovic pounces on the ball to score the 3-2 with an empty net. The final equalizer would come a few moments later thanks to Chukwueze, but VAR denied him the joy of the goal due to offside. The Rossoneri rushed forward and found the deserved 3-3 in the 39th minute. Florenzi takes a corner from the right and a melee forms in the center of the area from which the usual Okafor emerges and finds the winning move for the equalizer. Shortly afterwards, Pulisic runs down the right, enters the area and touches it backwards for Giroud who shoots to the stars. Milan, involved in the derby next Monday which could mathematically award the Scudetto to the Nerazzurri, thus moves back up to +6 on third-placed Juventus, while Sassuolo remains second to last, moving to -1 from the safety zone.