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Football Reporting

AC Milan

Rossoneri crowned champions of Italy for a 19th time


AC Milan became champions of Italy for a 19th time as they swept aside Sassuolo by a scoreline of 3-0 in their final game of the season.

Coming into the game Milan knew that one point against Sassuolo would have been enough to finish above their city rivals Inter but going into half-time they knew the job was done regardless of the result at San Siro.

The first and second goal were remarkably alike as Rafael Leao twice made a dangerous run to the byline and twice cut the ball back to Olivier Giroud who was waiting at the near post to finish past Consigli first time.

The third goal came four minutes after the second and it was again thanks to pressure high up the pitch as Leao got a third assist of the game, with Franck Kessie this time applying the finishing touch in his final game.

A clean sheet for Mike Maignan was the perfect sign-off for what has been an incredible season, as Milan can hoist the Scudetto proudly above their heads for the first time in 11 years, dethroning their city rivals in the process.

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Head coach Stefano Pioli chose to stay loyal to the starting line-ups that emerged victorious against both Hellas Verona and Atalanta in the last two matchdays, which meant Ismael Bennacer started on the bench and Rade Krunic got the nod as the playmaker.

There were a couple of early scares for each side in the opening few minutes, the first coming when Olivier Giroud fizzed a low cross-shot across the six-yard box that Consigli gathered, then at the other end Mike Maignan claimed a cross before Scamacca could get there.

Consigli was in danger for the first time in the 8th minute when a sumptuous delivery from Alexis Saelemaekers on the right was met by the powerful head of Giroud, who planted his header straight at the Italian veteran who parried clear.

Moments later it really should have been 1-0 when pressure from Tonali saw Sassuolo surrender the ball on the edge of their own box, but a fantastic block from Ferrari denied him slotting his effort either side.

From the resulting corner another huge chance came as Fikayo Tomori’s effort was somehow cleared off the line at the back post when the ball seemed destined to nestle in.

Further clear cut chances would come when Saelemaekers beat the offside trap and got in behind yet was denied by another smart close range save from Consigli, and then he saved again not long after to deny Leao but this time spilt a rebound that was into a very dangerous area but he was crowded out again.

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After four or five massive scoring chances, the Rossoneri finally took the lead. Leao was found in isolation with his man down Sassuolo’s right flank and he took the ball into the area before cutting back to Giroud, who fired at the near post and managed to scramble the ball between the legs of Consigli to spark rapturous scenes in front of the away terrace.

Milan would then score in the 32nd minute and 36th minute to effectively put the nerves to bed. The first came in a very similar manner to the first with Leao winning the ball down the left and darting for the byline, cutting back for Giroud’s near post run and first time finish past Consigli.

The second came through another bit of pressing high up the pitch this time by Krunic to dispossess his man and Leao got his third assist of the goal when he pulled the ball back into the path of Franck Kessie who sidefooted it inside the far post, saluting the fans after in what might be his farewell.

Pioli opted to make a change at the break as Tonali made way for Ismael Bennacer.

The opening stages of the second half right up until the hour mark were characterised by a drop in pace in the game, conditioned by the fact that the title was virtually secured while news filtered in that Inter had gone 3-0 up in their game against Sampdoria.

With 20 minutes left on the clock and as the players broke away for a cooling break, Zlatan Ibrahimovic appeared from the bench ready to come on, replacing Giroud for what could be his final dance. At the same time, Brahim Diaz came on for Krunic.

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In the 78th minute Ibrahimovic thought that he had signed off the season in the best possible way when Leao put in a perfect cross for him to head into the top corner, however the goal was rightly called off for offside in the build-up.

A few minutes later Pioli made another couple of changes as Alessandro Florenzi and Alessio Romagnoli came on for Saelemaekers and Tomori respectively.

Bar a couple of smart reaction saves from Maignan to preserve an important clean sheet, the remainder of the game would ultimately be played out at walking pace as Milan ensured they did their job and brought home a Scudetto that – over 38 games – they have fully deserved.



Source sempremilan.com

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