A bittersweet league debut for the Primavera team. On the first matchday, AC Milan can, and have to, complain about drawing away in Sassuolo. The 1-1 finish at Stadio Ricci leaves a bitter taste in the mouth since the Rossoneri were leading for almost the entire match, only to concede right at the end. Roback's opening goal was not enough, and in the dying moments of the second half Paz snuffed out any chance of taking three points. It would have been important to start with a victory, instead regret of a wasted opportunity remains; but the season has only just begun, and it will take time to grow and improve.
The defending mistakes right at the end left the game open, though the match could have been secured with a second goal. The performance of Giunti's new side, however, leaves us hopeful – the team played with substance and stubbornness. On another note, Pseftis also saved a penalty at the start of the second half. Now, though, it's time for the international break and Primavera 1 will start again on the weekend of 11-12 September, with AC Milan playing away again, this time against Torino.
CHECK OUT THE GALLERY FROM SASSUOLO V AC MILAN
There were a number of changes to the first official line-up: Pseftis and Tolomello started, while Gala and Amore made their debuts. AC Milan began strong and opened the scoring in the 8th minute thanks to Roback, who was quick to press Vitale, rebounding the ball into an empty net. Though there was still plenty of uncertainty to come from both sides. Sassuolo responded immediately, coming close to equalising in the 10th minute when Aucelli’s strong strike was saved well by Pseftis. The match continued unorganised with limited chances; Kerkez pushes, Capone battles, then the opponents counter. On the half-hour mark Kumi tried from distance but the goalkeeper stopped his effort. Just before the first half draws to a close, Paz's shot goes wide for one last thrill before the whistle goes.
There were no halftime substitutions, but the Neroverdi were awarded a penalty in the 51st minute when Kerkez fouled Zenelaj. Karamoko took to the spot kick, but Pseftis guessed the right way and made a great save. The Greek goalkeeper was again the main man and was decisive: in the 56th minute he smashed Karamoko's attempt over the crossbar, in the 66th minute he denied Aucelli in the middle of the area. Fresh legs then brought on new energy and a couple of nice goalscoring chances for the Rossoneri, but N'Gbesso wasted them, when in the 71st minute, having been assisted by Di Gesù, his effort was denied by Vitale's reflexes, and in the 82nd minute he sent his shot high. Two misses and so then comes the draw. In the 89th minute, without any particular warning, Paz gets the better of the Rossoneri when, after a corner, he freely jumped up and headed the ball into the net. The fulltime whistle goes.
SASSUOLO 1-1 AC MILAN
SASSUOLO (4-3-3): Vitale; Paz, Zalli, Flamingo, Pieragnolo (74’ Macchioni); Kumi (74’ Estévez), Zenelaj, Abubakar (74’ Citarella); Karamoko, Arcopinto (65’ Capogna), Aucelli (41'st Cavallini). Subs: Bonucci, Zacchi; Cehu, Lazzaretti, Loeffen, Miranda. Coach: Bigica.
AC MILAN (4-3-3): Pseftis; Coubis, Bosisio, Stanga, Kerkez (86’ Bozzolan); Di Gesù, Tolomello (64’ Foglio), Gala (59’ Bright); Amore (81’ Alesi), Roback (59’ N'Gbesso), Capone. Subs: Nava; Björklund, Camara; El Hilali, Rossi. Coach: Giunti.
Referee: Simone Galipò from Florence.
Goals: 8' Roback (M). 89’ Paz (S).
Bookings: 45' Capone (M), 55’ Stanga (M), 95’ Flamingo (S).
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