AC Milan vs. Sassuolo, final score 2-1: Milan win, but lose out on Europe

Claudio Villa

A win's a win, but when it leaves Milan in eighth place to close out the season, it really doesn't matter much.

Massimiliano Allegri's last game on the Milan bench was a 4-3 defeat to Sassuolo, back in January.  Now, Clarence Seedorf may well have spent his last game coaching Milan to a win against the same side. The three points weren't enough - Milan are out of Europe for the first time in nearly 30 years. They end the season in eighth, 21 points back of the last Champions League place.

The home side started off aggressively. After just 30 seconds, Sulley Muntari put in a shot from about 40 meters out, but it went just high. Just two minutes later, Muntari went for it once again, receiving the pass from Giampiero Pazzini. This time, he made no mistake, his powerful strike knocking off the post and leaving Alberto Pomini helpless.

But one wasn't enough. If Milan ended the night even on points with Torino, goal difference would be the decisive factor, as both sides had the same head to head record. However, Sassuolo wouldn't let them get close to goal, so they resorted to speculative shots from distance.

One of those managed to turn into a goal, when Adil Rami's effort, heading well wide, turned into a beautiful pass for Pazzini. It was easy enough for the forward to put past Pomini, but the flag was up for offside.

Luckily for Milan, it didn't take long for them to score another goal. And once again, it was from distance. Kaka was fouled around the edge of the box, and Nigel De Jong took the free kick. His strike deflected off Simone Zaza to land in the back of the net.

It seemed as though Milan's players were more concerned with what was happening in Florence and Parma in the second half. Sassuolo took advantage. About ten minutes into the second half, Zaza found himself one on one with Christian Abbiati. but, at the exact moment Sassuolo's young forward went to shoot, Rami came sliding in from behind, keeping Milan's lead intact.

When Phillipe Mexes fouled Domenico Berardi , earning his second yellow and leaving Milan down to ten men, it seemed the rossoneri might have a few problems in this match. However, Sassuolo didn't have the strength, or, let's be honest, much motivation to press Milan too hard.  Nicola Sansone did manage to get the ball in the back of the net, but it was ruled offside. As the minutes ticked by, the tension increased. In the 87th minute, Paolo Cannavaro was sent off for a foul on Stephan El Shaarawy, putting both sides at ten men - for a couple minutes. Then Mattia De Sciglio was shown a straight red, for pulling down Sansone inside the area. It was perhaps a harsh call, but Zaza stepped to the spot to convert the penalty.

Milan: Abbiati; De Sciglio, Rami, Mexes, Constant (Zaccardo 63'); Montolivo, De Jong, Muntari (El Sharaawy 59'); Kakà (Balotelli 73'), Taarabt, Pazzini

Goals: Muntari 3', De Jong 27'

Red cards: Mexes 68', De Sciglio 89'

Sassuolo: Pomini, Mendes (Terranova 78'), Ariaudo, Cannavaro, Longhi, Chibsah (Masucci 73'), Magnanelli, Missiroli (Biondini 46'), Berardi, Zaza, Sansone

Goal: Zaza 90'

Red card: Cannavaro 87'

More from SBNation.com

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior users will need to choose a permanent username, along with a new password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

I already have a Vox Media account!

Verify Vox Media account

Please login to your Vox Media account. This account will be linked to your previously existing Eater account.

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior MT authors will need to choose a new username and password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join SBNation.com

You must be a member of SBNation.com to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at SBNation.com. You should read them.

Join SBNation.com

You must be a member of SBNation.com to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at SBNation.com. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.