AC Milan fell to their second straight Serie A defeat, this time against Sassuolo to concede ground in the title race.

Italian giants AC Milan fell to their second straight Serie A defeat, this time at home to Sassuolo. The Rossoneri went into the game in high spirits following the midweek win away to Atletico Madrid. They looked to be on their way to setting last week’s loss right as Alessio Romagnoli gave Milan the lead in the 21st minute.

However, it did not last long as Gianluca Scamacca equalised for Sassuolo in three minutes. A Simon Kjaer own goal in the 33rd minute saw the visitors take the lead going into half-time. The issue for Milan was compounded further when Domenico Berardi popped up to score the Neroverdi’s third goal of the night.

Any chance Milan had of a fightback was extinguished when Romagnoli received his marching orders in the 77th minute. The centre-back took one for the team as he prevented Sassuolo from getting a fourth. Going down to 10 men sealed the deal, and the visitors went away with a famous win.

The loss coupled with results elsewhere leaves Milan in a precarious position. They are now three points behind league leaders Napoli and have Inter Milan breathing down their neck. Simone Inzaghi’s side is now just one point behind the Rossoneri. All in all, it was a forgettable night for the home side, and Milan will look to end their poor run soon. For now, The Hard Tackle looks at how Stefano Pioli’s men fared on the night.

Mike Maignan: 5/10

The first choice goalkeeper returned to action following a spell on the sidelines. He could not have asked for a worse game to do so as his defence more often than not hung him out to dry. There was little the Frenchman could have done for Sassuolo’s first two goals. The third, however, sneaked in through his legs. He could certainly have done better to prevent that.

Alessandro Florenzi: 5/10

The 30-year-old veteran had a night to forget and struggled to impose himself on the opposition. He largely came off second-best in most engagements and lacked any impact whatsoever. Florenzi was rightly taken off for Pierre Kalulu, who immediately went on to show the difference in quality. Florenzi’s performance might as well have damaged his chances of getting more playtime in the future.

Simon Kjaer: 6/10

Probably the only Milan defender to come out of the game with any semblance of credit. Kjaer was called upon time and again to clear the ball, and he did just that. While Kjaer gave his best on the night, those around him appeared determined to make life harder for him. There was little he could have done to prevent his own goal in the first half. It has a touch of cruel irony where Milan’s best defender was the one to put through his net.

Alessio Romagnoli: 3/10

Scoring Milan’s opener on the night was Romagnoli’s biggest contribution in the game. He, however, failed spectacularly at his primary job – defending. His performance was in stark contrast to Kjaer alongside him, as the Dane was forced time and again to cover his back. He also struggled to contain Domenico Berardi, who beat him hands down in the lead-up to Sassuolo’s third.

Romagnoli’s night was further compounded when he was sent off in the 77th minute for bringing down Gregoire Defrel. It is fair to say that his goal rescues his rating to an extent.

Theo Hernandez: 5/10

The Frenchman got forward numerous times and created a ton of chances for Milan, while also assisting Romagnoli’s opener. While he did not look as clueless as some of the other defenders, Hernandez appeared to fade as the game wore on. The performance was certainly not one that warrants any recollection.

Ismael Bennacer: 5/10

Bennacer is usually reliable and has helped Milan maintain solidity in the middle of the park. Sunday was not one of those nights as he huffed and puffed with little to show. While he did admittedly improve in the second half, it was far from the level expected from him.

Tiemoue Bakayoko: 3/10

If the 27-year-old intended to play to the worst of his ability, one can say he succeeded. Bakayoko was all over the place and can only be described as horrendous on the night. He was directly responsible for Sassuolo’s equaliser and also gave away the ball several times. The Frenchman was also extremely careless, and his lack of control on proceedings was evident.

Alexis Saelemaekers: 5/10

The Belgian was one of Milan’s better performers on the night, which is sobering given the quality that was on offer. He struggled to create anything and was eventually shifted to the other flank. While he did improve to an extent, there was little to nothing to write home about.

Brahim Diaz: 4/10

Diaz once again went missing when the team needed him. The 22-year-old was largely invisible on the night and failed to create anything of note. He attempted to make a few runs between the lines but could not create much from it. It came as little surprise when he was taken off early on.

Rafael Leao: 5/10

The Portuguese winger started well but faded into anonimity as the game wore on. While he certainly was not helped by the players around him, Leao failed to show any initiative of his own either.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic: 5/10

The Swede looked to be in better nick than of late but was largely isolated up front and could do little on his own. It was a frustrating night for the 40-year-old as the midfield lacked the initiative and imagination to fashion many openings.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic was left stranded upfront. (Photo by Alberto Pizzoli/AFP via Getty Images)

Zlatan Ibrahimovic was left stranded upfront. (Photo by Alberto Pizzoli/AFP via Getty Images)

SUBSTITUTES 

Junior Messias: 5/10

The hero at the Wanda Metropolitano earlier in the week, Messias came off the bench and again put on a decent show. The fact that a few good runs and a shot on target were considered good showed what levels Milan set on the night.

Franck Kessie: 4/10

Milan’s skipper in their last league game started on the bench. Bennacer and Bakoyoko’s struggles saw him being brought on to help anchor the midfield, but the Ivory Coast ace could not do much. He made several mistakes on the night and was also technically found out. It was almost as if his focus was already elsewhere.

Sandro Tonali: 5/10

The Italian international was an improvement over Milan’s starters and did his best to get them back into the game. There was, however, little he could do on his own.

Pietro Pellegri: 5/10

Pellegri showed great energy and looked up for the challenge, only to be let down by the failure to deliver.

Pierre Kalulu: 5/10

Kalulu was certainly an improvement over Florenzi, but it was too little too late for him to come on and change the tide.

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