Domenico Berardi was the tormentor of AC Milan once more on Sunday afternoon, with the attacker playing a prominent role in the Sassuolo dismantling of the reigning Serie A champions. The Serie A Player of the Week for Matchday 20 of the 2022/23 helped the Neroverdi defeat the Rossoneri 5-2 at the Stadio San Siro.
Although Milan’s recent form has seen their title defence collapse, that this victory secured three consecutive Serie A wins for Sassuolo at San Siro is an amazing achievement for the Emilian side. Sassuolo had been winless in eight Serie A games themselves ahead of the journey north.
The visitors raced into a 2-0 lead, with the 28-year-old Berardi providing assists for both Gregoire Defrel and Davide Frattesi, and after Olivier Giroud had pulled a goal back from the Diavolo, it was Berardi who restored their two-goal margin before half-time with a near post header.
Ahead of the game, the 2020 European Championship winner had been involved in 14 goals against Milan – 10 goals and four assists – but the majority between 2013/14 and 2015/16 when he terrorised the Rossoneri even more frequently. Berardi even netted four times in one game against Milan in January 2014, contributing to the departure of coach Massimiliano Allegri.
No more goals arrived on this occasion, but on 79 minutes Berardi finished his afternoon by providing the assist for the fifth and final goal from Matheus Henrique.
The Neroverdi needed some distance in goals between them and Milan on Sunday. Since coach Alessio Dionisi took over ahead of the 2021/22 campaign, they have dropped 34 points from winning positions, highlighting an inability to close games out. Had they not done so, they could have been challenging for European qualification.
However, for the moment they will remain focused solely on their own Serie A survival, and only think about issues higher up the standings when facing Atalanta, Napoli and Roma in the coming weeks and points will be crucial for all involved.