AC Milan continued their fine form since the restart as they secured a 2-1 victory over Sassuolo in Serie A on Tuesday, courtesy of a Zlatan Ibrahimovic brace.
The Swedish striker netted a either side of Francesco Caputo’s penalty in the first half, as the Rossoneri moved into fifth place in the table.
Aided by Sassuolo midfielder Mehdi Bourabia’s red card in first half stoppage time, Milan earned a seventh win in nine games and remain unbeaten since the resumption of play last month.
Ibrahimovic rolls back the years
After a nervy start in which Sassuolo had them penned in, Milan burst into life in the 20th minute through a deadly Ibrahimovic header. The former Juventus and Inter man got ahead of his marker to guide home a diving effort from Hakan Calhanoglu’s cross and break the deadlock.
Yet it was his second goal that proved there is still life in the 38-year-old’s legs, as he timed a run in behind the defence to perfection before rounding Andrea Consigli and stroking home. All this despite being an injury doubt before kick off.
The January arrival has been instrumental in Milan’s turnaround through his leadership and reading of the game, as well as his ability to guide younger teammates around him into developing better attacks.
Whilst it may seem short-sighted to pin all hopes on a player who will turn 39 early next season, the iconic Swede can bridge the gap in Milan’s desperately needed rebuild.
Landmark night for Donnarumma
As Milan took to the pitch against Sassuolo in October 2015, then coach Sinisa Mihajlovic sprung a shock as an unknown 16-year-old was handed his debut in goal. Almost five years on and Gianluigi Donnarumma has not looked back and remains the Rossoneri’s custodian and biggest asset.
Going back to where it all began, fate had it that Donnarumma would make his 200th appearance for Milan against Sassuolo and the Italian international enjoyed a quiet evening. Caputo’s penalty aside, the young goalkeeper had little to do but continued to be a commanding presence at the back.
It is testament to his unwavering determination and dominance between the sticks that Donnarumma has racked up so many appearances despite only being 21. A rocky relationship with Rossoneri supporters looks to have been mended, and Milan would be wise to do everything in their power to ensure he joins the long list of Diaviolo bandieri, spending his entire career with his boyhood club.