Milan Rout Sassuolo as Rafael Leao Makes History with Fastest Goal

They knew it was not  going to be easy as the odds and the number of injured players were predicting a though match, but Milan are demonstrating to have the skills and a thick skin.

In a week that took Zlatan Ibrahimovic away for another month, the Rossoneri were called to another though encounter versus Roberto De Zerbi’s and Sassuolo’s terrible guys.

Several former Milan coaches – Massimiliano Allegri to name one – would associate Sassuolo with one of the most insidious circles of Dante’s hell, but Stefano Pioli and his boys are different.

With another player added to the injured list (Ante Rebic), Rafael Leao was called to demonstrate his skills, as expected by sporting director Frederic Massara in a pre-match interview. The Portuguese is Zlatan’s official sub and has shown to have what it takes to be a crack.

Massara’s trust was indeed well reposed: It took just 6 seconds and 76 frames for the Leao to book his place into the history of Serie A. Hakan Calhanoglu received the ball right from the kick-off and released him with a long range-cross. Leao stopped it, had the best of defender Marlon and fired it past Andrea Consigli.

It was the fastest goal ever scored in the Italian top-flight.

Those hoping for a good approach to the game on the part of the Rossoneri – especially after their staggering performances against Parma and Genoa – were treated with a delicious appetizer and things got even better when, eight minutes later, the main course was served.

Pierre Kalulu ignited Alexis Saelemaekers’ breakaway and the Belgian served Rafael Leao. The Portuguese still seemed to be under the effects of Super Mario’s Lucky Star (yes, only our most aged readers might get this one…) as he dashed past Rogerio and into the Sassuolo box to serve Hakan Çalhanoğlu an easy conversion for Milan’s second.

In the era of VAR, however, even the most wonderful goal must be checked upon – and can eventually be disallowed for to a millimetrical offside position.

The customers of the Rossoneri restaurant, however, did not have to wait much longer. It just took 20 more minutes for Theo Hernandez to receive a brilliant pass from Brahim Diaz – with Sandro Tonali cleverly letting to ball go as he was in offside – and dash all thrugh the left flank before serving Saelemaekers and easy chance for finish.

But what about Sassuolo? The Neroverdi, despite playing a good match and dominating the ball possession, never had any serious chance to to trouble Gianluigi Donnarumma for most of the first half.

At half time, Sandro Tonali’s injury forced Pioli to send in Rade Krunic, portending a potentially more difficult second period for the visitors. On the other side, Roberto De Zerbi went all-in by sending in returning striker Francesco Caputo, along with Georgios Kyriakopoulos and Jeremie Boga.

Things indeed seemed to change. De Zerbi’s terrible boys pegged Milan back into their own area, but Donnarumma mostly remained inactive, thanks to an impeccable performance on the part of the Rossoneri defense. 20-year-old Kalulu and Alessio Romagnoli were impassable, Theo Hernandez and Davide Calabria a constant counterattack menace to the Neroverdi.

And so, it was Milan to come closer to make it 0-3 rather than Sassuolo to score one for the honor. Chalanoglu, Leao and substitute Jens Petter Hauge’s attempts, however, were all brilliantly defused by Andrea Consigli.

But Sassuolo’s renewed pressure turned the 0-2 into too much of a severe punishment and De Zerbi eventually and deservedly had their goal. It was Domenico Berardi to make it to the score sheet on 89 minutes, with a free-kick deflected by Hauge into his own goal.

It was a fair reward for the hosts and a mostly harmless occurrence for the Rossoneri – whose main problem was rather seeing Frank Kessié getting booked and consequently forced to miss the next game against Lazio.

But, other than that, Milan can be happy with scoring the fastest goal ever in the Italian league and with wrapping their 25th consecutive game with two or more goals scored, as well as concluding another round at the top of the Serie A table.



December 20, 2020 – Serie A 2020-21 Round 13

SCORERS: 1′ Rafael Leao (M), 25′ Saelemaekers (M), 89′ Berardi (S)

SASSUOLO (4-2-3-1): Consigli; Toljan (62′ Muldur), Marlon, Ferrari, Rogério (46′ Kyriakopoulos); M. Lopez, Bourabia; Berardi, Djuricic (57′ Boga), Traoré (86′ Obiang); Defrel (46′ Caputo) (Pegolo, Turati, Ayhan, Chiriches, Peluso, Magnanelli, Haraslin, Raspadori) Coach: De Zerbi
MILAN (4-2-3-1): G. Donnarumma; Calabria, Kalulu, Romagnoli, Hernandez; Tonali (46′ Krunic), Kessié; Saelemaekers (79′ Castillejo), Calhanoglu (86′ Maldini), Brahim Diaz (58′ Hauge); Rafael Leao (A. Donnarumma, Tatarusanu, Conti, Dalot, Duarte, Musacchio, Colombo, Roback) Coach: Pioli

REFEREE: Mr. Mariani from Aprilia
NOTES: Yellow Cards: Berardi (S); Kessié, Calabria, Romagnoli (M); Extra Time: 1st Half 3′, 2nd Half 3′