The win over Atalanta yesterday means that Stefano Pioli’s side only need to pick up a point against the Neroverdi this weekend to secure their first league title in a decade, a great reward for the club following their consistent growth over the last few years. It’s almost fate, then, that the key match is against Sassuolo.
Back in January 2014, Massimiliano Allegri’s time with Milan seemed to be drawing to a close. He told La Gazzetta dello Sport on December 31 that he’d depart in the summer, but that date shot forward to January 13.
The day prior, the Rossoneri had suffered a 4-3 loss to 17th place Sassuolo, leaving the team 11th in the table – in that game, Domenico Berardi scored a poker. Clarence Seedorf was brought in to replace Allegri.
Six years later, the Sassuolo fixture again proved key for Milan. In the 2019-20 season, Marco Giampaolo’s poor start led to him quickly being replaced by Stefano Pioli, but fans were unsure about the appointment. One man who was repeatedly linked to take over was Ralf Rangnick, and for many fans he was the preferred appointment over Pioli.
On July 21, Milan picked up a comfortable 2-1 away win over the Neroverdi. Later that evening, the club announced that Pioli had been given a two-year contract extension, forcing them to backtrack after actually offering the role to Rangnick.
In both cases, a new era dawned for Milan, and now they’re on the cusp of starting yet another: their return to the top.