AC Milan’s poor start worsened | Coach Stefano Pioli’s career at risk

On Sunday, AC Milan’s poor start worsened, putting title-winning coach Stefano Pioli’s career at peril. Sassuolo defeated Milan 5-2 at San Siro to leave the defending champion winless in six matches. Next Sunday is the Inter Milan derby. Milan allowed four goals in consecutive Serie A matches for the first time after losing 4-0 at Lazio midweek. Milan has not conceded five league goals at home since 1997.

AC Milan’s poor start worsened | Coach Stefano Pioli’s career at risk

Milan lost the Italian Cup to 10-man Torino and the Super Cup 3-0 to Inter. The Rossoneri dropped to fourth and could fall to sixth after Roma and Lazio play later against league leading Napoli and Fiorentina, respectively. Milan director Paolo Maldini dismissed midweek rumours that Pioli’s position was in jeopardy eight months after leading the squad to its first Serie A title in 11 years. With its first win since mid-October, Sassuolo rose to 16th, eight points above the relegation zone.

Domenico Berardi’s three assists and goal again plagued Milan. Sassuolo’s striker had 11 goals and seven assists versus Milan. Milan started better at San Siro, and Olivier Giroud thought he had given his team the lead in the eighth minute, but it was deemed offside. Berardi assisted Grégoire Defrel in the 19th minute and Davide Frattesi three minutes later. Giroud’s header two minutes later gave Milan hope.

AC Milan's poor start worsened | Coach Stefano Pioli's career at risk

Sassuolo’s two-goal lead was restored by Berardi’s corner on 30 minutes. Milan was jeered off the pitch by a crowded San Siro after being two goals behind at halftime for the fourth straight encounter. After the break, Calabria fouled Armand Laurienté, who scored the penalty. The video assistant referee deemed Ante Rebi’s 55th-minute goal offside again, denying Milan a comeback.

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