Mike Maignan saved a penalty to earn AC Milan a 0-0 draw at Sassuolo, as the Rossoneri sustained their unbeaten league record with a goalless draw.
Sassuolo were awarded a penalty in the 21st minute, Giorgos Kyriakopoulos found himself sandwiched in between Alexis Saelemakers and Alessandro Florenzi as he drove into the danger area, and it was the former who brought him down.
Domenico Berardi stepped up in a bid to add to his impressive goal tally against AC Milan, but couldn’t make it an eleventh goal against last season’s champions as Mike Maignan made a strong save to keep the score level.
The Sassuolo striker was reduced to tears when he was forced off early into the second half. With a clear run at goal, he was barged over by Hernandez, who was lucky the assistant referee’s flag was raised for offside, and seemed to damage his hamstring.
Milan pushed harder for an opener towards the end of the second half but struggled to find an end product in the final third, as Sassuolo held on for a goalless draw.
TALKING POINT – MILAN POOR, BUT REMAIN UNBEATEN HEADING INTO DERBY
It wouldn’t be the result they hoped for in Sassuolo, but a point on the road – maintaining an unbeaten record – could be all the difference heading into a Milan derby.
They face bitter rivals Inter in a Saturday night showdown event, and Milan currently sit two points clear of Simone Inzaghi’s side, who are in action later on Tuesday night against struggling Cremonese. Milan are currently top of the table by a point, but that’s likely to change with the chasing pack all in action on Either Tuesday or Wednesday night.
They made five changes tonight in preparation for the big clash and despite not being able to snatch all three points on the road, will come away in some comfort that they weren’t beaten three days before an mentally tough challenge. Plus, they’re still unbeaten.
PLAYER OF THE MATCH – MIKE MAIGNAN (AC MILAN)
Is Mike Maignan Milan’s main man? The goalkeeper is in great form and kept a second successive clean sheet as he increased his save percentage from the spot, after denying Bernardi’s first half penalty to salvage at least a point for AC Milan at Sassuolo.
A star in Lille’s title-winning 2020/21 side, he has now saved 31% of the penalties faced in Europe’s ‘top five’ leagues, which puts him joint top of the rankings among goalkeepers that have faced at least 25 penalties since 2015.
Milan were poor going forward tonight with Olivier Giroud struggling for service and Sassuolo defending well with a low-block, but without Maignan in the sticks, the visitors could have dropped all three points instead of just the two.
SASSUOLO: Consigli 7, Toljan 7, Erlic 6, Ferrari 6, Rogerio 6, Frattesi 7, Lopez 6, Thorsvedt 7, Berardi 5, Pinamonti 6, Kyriakopoulos 6
Subs: Marchizza N/A, Harroui 5, Henrique 5, Defrel 5, Martinez N/A
MILAN: Maignan 8, Florenzi 7, Kjaer 6, Tomori 6, Hernandez 6, Pobega 6, Bennacer 5, Saelemaekers 7, Diaz 6, Leao 7, Giroud 5
Subs: Kalulu N/A, Tonali 6, Adli 5, De Ketelaere 5, Messias 6
21’ – PENALTY SASSUOLO! Kyriakopoulos is sandwiched in between Saelemakers and Florenzi as he drives into the area and is brought down.
22’ – PENALTY MISSED! Maignan saves Berardi’s penalty! It remains all square.
49’ – HERNANDEZ BRINGS BARARDI DOWN IN FRONT OF GOAL… But the flag is up! That has saved the referee a very difficult decision, because it looked like Hernandez fouled Berardi who was through on goal and at the same time denied a goalscoring opportunity.
71’ – SASSUOLO JUST ABOUT CLEAR THEIR LINES! The ball from a corner drops to Leao at the back post, and after a couple of scrappy stabs at the ball, Sassuolo manage to clear. Milan knocking on the door once more.
90’+4 – LEAO CHANCE! He hits it straight at the keeper! That’s a good chance from the edge of the box, but the shot just wasn’t strong enough.