Vito Doria Date:23rd March 2020 at 10:10am
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On a foggy Sunday evening at the Mapei Stadium in Reggio Emilia in northern Italy, Serie A debutants Sassuolo surprisingly defeated AC Milan 4-3 in January 2014 and it is best remembered for the individual brilliance of Italian starlet Domenico Berardi.

The 19-year-old Neroverdi winger had scored a hat-trick against Sampdoria earlier in the season but his poker against the Rossoneri truly brought him to prominence and the Milanese side then sacked coach Massimiliano Allegri.

After 18 rounds of Serie A action, Sassuolo were 18th in the table with just 14 points and had lost their previous four league matches while AC Milan were in 11th place on 22 points and had been struggling in the middle of the table despite finishing third in the previous season.

The Rossoneri could not have asked for a better start as Robinho and Mario Balotelli gave them a 2-0 lead after 13 minutes but Berardi pulled a goal back after dribbling around Diavolo goalkeeper Christian Abbiati and shooting from a tight angle.

Scores were level in the 28th minute when the 19-year-old’s initial shot hit Daniele Bonera and beat Abbiati again with an acrobatic scissor kick. Four minutes from half-time, the youngster put Sassuolo in front when he diverted Alessandro Longhi’s cross into the net with his non-preferred right foot.

Berardi netted his fourth with the aid of a deflection two minutes into the second half while substitute Riccardo Montolivo pulled a goal back for AC Milan four minutes from the end.

Sassuolo went on to lose their next seven Serie A games but won four and drew one of their last seven league games to secure safety in their first season in the Italian top flight. Incredibly Berardi has not bettered the 16 goals that he scored in his maiden Serie A campaign and he has not hit double figures in the league since 2014/15.

Allegri was replaced by former Rossoneri star Clarence Seedorf, who was also relieved of his duties at the end of the campaign after they finished eighth in Serie A and failed to qualify for Europe.

The Tuscan tactician would have the last laugh though. He went on to coach Juventus from 2014 until 2019, winning five Serie A titles including four domestic doubles and reached the 2015 and 2017 Champions League Finals.