AC Milan Women lost 2-0 to Sassuolo on matchday 4 in the league, their first defeat of the season. Sassuolo were the Rossonere's big rivals in the hunt for Champions League football last season and scored either side of half time through Dubcova and Dongus. Stapelfeldt hit the post after the break for the Rossonere, who also had chances through Vero Boquete.
In a tense and balanced match, AC Milan were caught out but their opponents' initiative as they forced numerous chances. Ganz's girls reacted well and had a couple of chances to get back into the game, to no avail It's a misstep but it doesn't put the team's aims at risk given that there is a lot of football still to be played this season. The Rossonere's first chance to get back on track comes next weekend as they take on Napoli away from home.
THE GALLERY FROM AC MILAN v SASSUOLO
Ganz made two changes to the side that started against Lazio: Grimshaw and Tucceri Cimini for Jane and Thrige in the usual 3-4-2-1 formation. It was a tense start and the Rossonere forced an early chance through Vero with a right-footed effort from outside the box. AC Milan kept pushing and went close numerous times from dead-ball situations. But it was Sassuolo who took the lead in the 15th minute through Dubcova, who rifled it home from 15 metres out - Giuliani stood no chance. The Rossonere tried to steady themselves and force a quick equaliser but the guests defended resolutely, affording AC Milan very little space. Dubcova went close to a second in the 31st minute but Giuliani tipped her headed effort onto the post. AC Milan tried to respond through Vero, who was denied by Lemey in the 34th minute. Giacinti had a go towards the end of the half but her effort was deflected just wide by Mihashi.
The Rossonere came out from the break with renewed aggression and almost scored through Giacinti (49'). However, just six minutes later, the guests double their lead; Dongus scored from a corner. Sassuolo's second was a bitter pill to swallow for AC Milan, who didn't give up and had a go right until the final whistle. Substitute Stapelfeldt hit the post with a header in the 61st minute before a counterattack, led by Bergamaschi and Stapelfeldt, finished with Giacinti missing by a whisker. In the 79th minute, Vero tested Lemey from the free-kick. That was the final chance of the game and the Rossonere suffered their first league defeat of the season.
"After the game, I said that we had lost one battle but that we're still in the war," said Maurizio Ganz. "A lot of players were fatigued due to the international window but we made a lot of mistakes in a game, in which we started poorly and finished even worse. We'll need to rewatch the game to understand what went wrong. When you aren't clinical enough, we struggle in these games. We need to get back to work because we want six points from our next two games. Tiredness mustn't be an excuse; until the goal, we played our game but we fell apart and gifted them numerous chances - and teams like this will punish you. We made mistakes as a team; now, we need to roll up our sleeves for Napoli."
AC MILAN 0-2 SASSUOLO
AC MILAN (3-4-2-1): Giuliani; Fusetti (60' Árnadóttir), Agard, Codina Panedas; Bergamaschi, Grimshaw (46' Jane), Adami (72' Thrige), Tucceri Cimini (72' Longo); Thomas (60' Stapelfeldt), Vero; Giacinti. Subs.: Fedele; Rizza; Morleo; Cortesi. Coach: Ganz.
SASSUOLO (4-3-1-2): Lemey; Santoro, Dongus, Filangeri, Philtjens; Tomaselli (76' Orsi), Mihashi, Parisi (82' Brignoli); Dubcova; Clelland (82' Benoit), Cantore (87' Ferrato). Subs.: Binini, Lauria; Da Canal, Pellinghelli, Cambiaghi. Coach: Piovani.
Referee: Bitonti from Bologna.
Goals: 15' Dubcova (S), 55' Dongus (S).
Booked: 6' Parisi (S), 29' Dongus (S), 51' Codina Panedas (M), 89' Philtjens (S).
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