Sassuolo vs Milan 0-0: Maignan Rescues Draw for Faceless Champions

A depleted Sassuolo side and Milan played out an uneventful 0-0 draw in Tuesday’s Serie A showdown at the Mapei Stadium. The defending Italian champions saw their six-game winning streak away to the Neroverdi arrested in a disturbing fashion. 

Milan enjoyed a flying start to the game, combining well up front and creating several decent half-chances. However, some last-ditch defending from Sassuolo, coupled with woeful finishing from Stefano Pioli’s team, kept the scoreline intact in the opening 20 minutes of play.

Alessio Dionisi’s understrength side came close to punishing Milan for their wastefulness as Giorgos Kyriakopoulos drew a penalty in the 23rd minute. Alessandro Florenzi tackled the Greek left-winger down inside the Rossoneri box, forcing referee Giovanni Ayroldi to point to the spot.

Domenico Berardi assumed responsibility for taking the spot-kick, yet Milan goalkeeper Mike Maignan pulled off a stunning flying save to deny the Italian forward. Neither side invented anything meaningful in the attacking third for the remainder of the first half.

Pioli reshuffled the deck following a 2-0 home win over Bologna, but his gamble didn’t pay off. Brahim Diaz and Alexis Saelemaekers were nowhere to be seen throughout the first 45 minutes, with the latter losing possession time after time. 

Another newbie, Tommaso Pobega, failed to live up to expectations as he partnered up with Ismael Bennacer in a double-pivot. Aware of his team’s impotence, Pioli introduced his heavy hitters just ten minutes into the second half. 

Charles De Ketelaere, Junior Messias, and Sandro Tonali joined the fray in the 57th minute as part of Pioli’s bid to break the deadlock. But Milan continued to struggle against a rock-solid Sassuolo backline. 

Despite boasting a 62% ball possession in the second half, the reigning Serie A champions did not have a clear sight of goal once. Sassuolo remained stubborn, frustrating Milan forwards, especially Rafael Leao, who had an underwhelming game by his standards. 

Milan may have maintained their unbeaten start to the season (W2, D2), but failing to find the net for the first time in 2022/23 does not look promising. In the meantime, after losing star players Gianluca Scamacca and Giacomo Raspadori, Sassuolo should be more than happy for a draw against the Rossoneri