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Nov 28, 2021 at 2pm UK
AC MilanAC Milan
Romagnoli (21')
Bennacer (53'), Hernandez (54'), Tonali (71'), Kjaer (73')
Romagnoli (77')
FT(HT: 1-2)
Scamacca (24'), Kjaer (33' og.), Berardi (66')
Lopez (27'), Raspadori (38')

Preview: AC Milan vs. Sassuolo - prediction, team news, lineups

:Headline: Preview: AC Milan vs. Sassuolo - prediction, team news, lineups:
Sports Mole previews Sunday's Serie A clash between AC Milan and Sassuolo, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
Sports Mole

Receiving a lifeline in Europe helped AC Milan bounce back from their first Serie A loss of the season last weekend, and the league's second-placed side now host mid-table Sassuolo on Sunday.

A late goal in Madrid - just days after their dramatic defeat in Florence - keeps the Rossoneri in contention to progress in the Champions League, while their visitors are without a win in three following last week's draw with Cagliari.

Match preview

Former delivery man Junior Messias arrived bearing the priceless gift of a winning goal on Wednesday night at the Wanda Metropolitano, as Milan's unlikely saviour scored in the 87th minute to edge out Spanish champions Atletico Madrid.

The Rossoneri's overdue first Group B success came courtesy of the ex-Crotone striker's vital late intervention, and keeps them in with a shot of making the last 16 after next month's final matchday.

Not only did that victory keep Milan's European dreams alive, a clean sheet was more than welcome, after their previously solid defence were pulled apart under the floodlights at Stadio Artemio Franchi last Saturday night.

After finding themselves three goals behind by the hour mark, Stefano Pioli's side hauled themselves back into the game by virtue of a quickfire Zlatan Ibrahimovic brace, but Viola striker Dusan Vlahovic then completed his own double strike to help the hosts edge a breathtaking seven-goal thriller.

With that 4-3 defeat, Milan may have failed to become only the second team in Serie A history to win 16 away games in a single calendar year - they still have three road trips left to surpass Napoli's record total of 18 - but last season's runners-up are second only to Lazio in terms of home form before this weekend's action.

Since the beginning of May, Milan have won six of their eight Serie A home fixtures and have kept five clean sheets in the process. Furthermore, they welcome Sassuolo to San Siro having lost just one of their 10 league meetings with the Emilian outfit.

Having gone nine straight Serie A matches against Milan without a win, Sassuolo's most recent clash with the Rossoneri brought a shock 2-1 victory last April, when Giacomo Raspadori - who has now gone goalless throughout his last 12 league outings - netted twice late on to turn the game around.

However, when the sides reconvene on Sunday, their hosts can boast a record of having not lost any points from winning positions so far this season, while the Neroverdi have effectively squandered 13 to date: equal with struggling Spezia as the league's worst team in that regard.

Their latest failure to hold onto a lead came against 19th-placed Cagliari, who fought back twice to snatch a 2-2 draw at the Mapei Stadium last weekend, rendering goals by Raspadori's fellow Italy internationals Gianluca Scamacca and Domenico Berardi only good enough to pick up a point - which leaves Alessio Dionisi's men 13th in the table.

Linked with numerous clubs around the continent in recent months, Berardi has scored more Serie A goals against Milan than any other team, with his nine strikes against the Rossoneri including four in one encounter back in 2014 and a hat-trick just over a year later.

Indeed, the left-footed forward is the only player to score at least three times in two separate matches against Milan in top-flight history, and his six goals and two assists this term illustrate why Fiorentina made a significant offer to spirit him away from Emilia-Romagna in the summer.

Certainly, Dionisi will be hoping his star man can repeat such previous successes at San Siro on Sunday, as Sassuolo seek a first victory since their shock defeat of Juventus late last month.

AC Milan Serie A form:
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • D
  • L

AC Milan form (all competitions):
  • W
  • W
  • D
  • D
  • L
  • W

Sassuolo Serie A form:
  • D
  • W
  • W
  • L
  • L
  • D

Team News

Milan coach Stefano Pioli, who this week signed a new deal until June 2023 with an option for a further year, has a familiarly lengthy injury list this weekend, as captain Davide Calabria, Samu Castillejo, Ante Rebic and defensive regular Fikayo Tomori are all set to stay sidelined. However, first-choice goalkeeper Mike Maignan is back early from a wrist injury and will start.

Olivier Giroud is expected to join the former quartet in the stands, as he sustained a muscular injury during the win over Atletico Madrid; the French striker will therefore be replaced by Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who netted twice last weekend despite a below-par display.

As the Rossoneri face a quick succession of fixtures in the coming fortnight - including a potentially decisive Champions League clash with Liverpool - they may rotate their squad a little, with Alessandro Florenzi, Ismael Bennacer and Junior Messias among those in contention to feature from the start at San Siro.

Sassuolo, meanwhile, should welcome Vlad Chiriches back in central defence, as Kaan Ayhan potentially makes way, and in midfield Francesco Magnanelli will most likely be involved.

Both Filip Djuricic and Edoardo Goldaniga are injured and will be restricted to the sidelines.

After shoehorning in Domenico Berardi, Giacomo Raspadori and Gianluca Scamacca to the front three last time out, Alessio Dionsi could opt for a more conservative front line, with Hamed Traore perhaps featuring in an advanced role instead.

AC Milan possible starting lineup:
Tatarusanu; Kalulu, Kjaer, Romagnoli, Hernandez; Bennacer, Kessie; Saelemaekers, Diaz, Leao; Ibrahimovic

Sassuolo possible starting lineup:
Consigli; Toljan, Chiriches, Ferrari, Rogerio; Lopez, Magnanelli, Frattesi; Berardi, Raspadori, Traore

We say: AC Milan 3-1 Sassuolo

There are likely to be goals in this game, as Sassuolo have scored in each of their last nine outings, including 10 in their last five.

Milan may once more be short of their full complement, but Stefano Pioli has played his part in building a deeper young squad to cope with such difficulties, and the Rossoneri should return to winning ways in Serie A.

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