Milan come back to draw six-goal thriller with relegation-threatened Sassuolo

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Milan come back to draw six-goal thriller with relegation-threatened Sassuolo

Luka Jovic scored Milan's second
Luka Jovic scored Milan's secondProfimedia
Sassuolo capitulated from a two-goal advantage for the second Serie A round in succession, grinding out an enthralling 3-3 draw with AC Milan at the Mapei Stadium, with the Rossoneri’s late fightback extending their unbeaten streak at the venue to eight games.

With Sassuolo dropping points from a two-goal advantage against rock-bottom Salernitana in their latest outing, this had high potential to bring the Neroverdi additional pain.

However, they ripped up the formbook inside four minutes at the Mapei Stadium, when some excellent team play culminated in Kristian Thorstvedt flicking on Cristian Volpato’s cross into the area to Andrea Pinamonti, who fired low inside the left post past a helpless Marco Sportiello.

If the first goal was a godsend for a team that began the weekend two points below the line, the second was something else entirely.

A breakaway down the left flank set Armand Lauriente free, and he beat man marker Alessandro Florenzi through pure pace to burst into the area. His initial right-footed shot was parried well by Sportiello, but only straight onto his other foot, allowing him to steer in almost on the goal line.

Armand Lauriente celebrates scoring Sassuolo's second goal
Armand Lauriente celebrates scoring Sassuolo's second goalAFP

Despite the incredible start, Sassuolo’s capitulation to Salernitana was still fresh in the mind. And after Andrea Consigli denied Malick Thiaw with a great save, prior to a disallowed headed goal from Samuel Chukwueze, the Rossoneri halved their deficit through Portuguese talisman Rafael Leao on 20’.

Demonstrating a perfect blend of footwork and composure, he danced past two after receiving a pass from the left flank, and struck an effort into the bottom-right corner, setting the home faithful’s nerves jangling.

Key match stats
Key match statsOpta by StatsPerform

That ensured a nervy finish to the first half, with a Milan fightback firmly on the cards. But Lauriente restored the two-goal cushion early in the second period after latching onto an excellent Gregoire Defrel ball and firing inside the right-hand post.

He celebrated his first brace in 13 months with all due exuberance, but Milan took just six minutes to get back into the game again though, as a ball to the left flank enabled Leao to fire in a cross that Consigli could only parry into the path of Luka Jovic, who swept in for 3-2.

By this point, Sassuolo were visibly wilting in the Italian springtime heat, and Milan seemingly drew level just after Chukwueze hit an impressive first-time finish from the angle, only for VAR to rule him offside again.

That was as clear a signal as any for Sassuolo to hold onto what they had - but their efforts were in vain, as they failed to clear a corner, allowing Noah Okafor to net at close range within 90 seconds of replacing Yacine Adli.

In the end, Sassuolo clung on for the point, but they stay below the line with just six rounds remaining.

Flashscore Man of the Match: Armand Lauriente (Sassuolo)

See all the match stats here.

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