Olivier Giroud scored a brace as AC Milan ended their 11-year wait to win the Serie A title with a convincing 3-0 win away to Sassuolo.

AC Milan went into the final game of the 2021/22 Serie A campaign knowing that win would guarantee them a 19th Serie A title. Any slip up could have seen arch-rivals and defending champions Inter Milan capitalise.

Stefano Pioli’s men turned up on the night and put in a professional performance against a Sassuolo side that has had the upper hand in the tie in recent times. A brace from Olivier Giroud in the first half saw Milan race into a two-goal lead by the 32nd minute.

The departing Franck Kessie scored a third in the 36th minute to ensure that the Rossoneri went into the break with a three-goal lead. The visitors did not let their advantage go to waste and put in a thoroughly professional second-half performance to ensure that there was no room for error.

Despite not getting on the scoresheet, it was Milan’s Rafael Leao, who was the star man on the night. The Portuguese winger has been Milan’s go-to man this season and stepped up to the plate against Sassuolo assisting all three of his side’s goals.

While winning the Scudetto itself is an achievement, getting one over Inter Milan in the process will have made it all the sweeter. Whether this is a one-off or the dawn of a new era of domination by the Rossoneri remains to be seen. For now, The Hard Tackle looks at how the AC Milan players fared on the night.

Mike Maignan: 8/10

A fantastic season for the Frenchman, who stepped in for Gianluigi Donnarumma last summer. Maignan was excellent on the night and served as a dependable last line of defence for AC Milan. He made a stunning save to deny Davide Frattesi in the first half before turning a second-half shot onto the bar in the second half. His distribution was also top-notch on the night.

Theo Hernandez: 8/10

A balanced outing for the Frenchman who was reliable at both ends of the pitch. He linked up well with Leao on the left flank and was also a rock at the back when needed. As long as he can stay consistent, Hernandez and Leao can form a formidable duo on the left wing.

Fikayo Tomori: 8/10

A solid performance from a player who is steadily coming into his own as a top-class defender at San Siro. Tomori’s partnership with Kalulu continues to go from strength to strength as they held Sassuolo at bay, largely limiting them to long-range strikes.

Pierre Kalulu: 8/10

It was a dominant performance from the youngster who faced anything Sassuolo threw at him with minimal fuss. His pace and power were on show as the home side failed to get the better of him. It is no wonder that Alessio Romagnoli has had to settle for a place on the bench this season.

Davide Calabria: 7/10

He was perhaps the least impressive of Milan’s back four. However, it is a testament to just how good his teammates were rather than Calabria lacking anything. He was, in fact, solid defensively and did not put a foot wrong at the back. Calabria also had enough freedom to show off some silky moves with the ball in the second half.

Sandro Tonali: 7/10

The Italian picked up an early yellow for his tackle on Domenico Berardi but kept his composure to make a difference in the middle of the pitch. Tonali was mostly at hand to break up Sassuolo attacks and win back possession numerous times. He also pressed from the front, using his distribution to good effect and also forced a solid save from Sassuolo goalkeeper Andrea Consigli.

Franck Kessie: 7/10

The Ivory Coast international capped off his final game for AC Milan with a well-taken goal. His departure will leave a gap hole in the Rossoneri’s midfield, and it remains to be seen how they will fill it in the summer transfer window.

Rafael Leao: 9/10

A near-perfect performance from the Portuguese star who is increasingly turning into an unplayable player down the left flank. Leao grabbed all three assists on the night and linked up well with Hernandez on the flank. He was nigh on unplayable at times and was a constant menace for the Sassuolo rearguard. He is, in fact, a worthy winner of the Serie A MVP of the season.

Rade Krunic: 7/10

The Bosnian has stepped in recent weeks and once again showed why he has worked his way back into Pioli’s plans. Krunic’s reserves of energy proved pivotal as he pressed from the front and made several good runs to cause the Sassuolo defence plenty of problems.

Alexis Saelemaekers: 7/10

The Belgian appears to have rediscovered his form in recent weeks and looked up for the match. He laid off a pass to Tonali who forced a good save from Consigli in the first half and also made several runs that pinned Sassuolo back on their left flank. His technical ability saw him keep hold of the ball in difficult situations and also go close to scoring in the first half.

Olivier Giroud: 9/10

The Frenchman has been off-colour in recent weeks but rose to the occasion smartly by scoring twice. His brace eased Milan’s nerves, handing them the pedestal to win the Scudetto. Giroud’s experience proved to be the difference-maker as far as finding the back of the net was concerned.

SUBSTITUTES

Ismael Bennacer: 7/10

The Algerian replaced Tonali at half-time and kept things simple in the middle of the pitch. He lost his footing a few times on the field but recovered well to deny Sassuolo an advantage. A tidy performance indeed.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic: 6/10

Ibrahimovic replaced Giroud in the 72nd minute and enjoyed a good outing on Sunday. Winning the Serie A title once again with Milan is a fine way for the Swede to bow out should he call it a day in the summer.

Brahim Diaz: 6/10

The Spaniard showed good footwork on Sunday but failed to make much of a difference. He still has some way to go before staking a claim at a first XI spot.

Alessandro Florenzi: 6/10

The veteran’s ability to put up a fight and do what is necessary proved important as Milan sought to see out the game.

Alessio Romagnoli: 6/10

The skipper might have played his last game for AC Milan. Given Kalulu and Tomori’s performances of late, Romagnoli won’t be missed much.

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