SERIE A: Nigerian-born Okafor Steals Point For Milan In Six-goal Thriller

Apr 15, 2024 - 15:05
Apr 15, 2024 - 15:07
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SERIE A: Nigerian-born Okafor Steals Point For Milan In Six-goal Thriller

SERIE A:

REUTERS/Jennifer Lorenzin

Second-placed AC Milan twice fought back from two goals down to secure a 3-3 draw at relegation-threatened Sassuolo with a late equaliser by substitute Noah Okafor in Serie A on Sunday.

Okafor has a Nigerian father and Swiss mother.

Milan have 69 points, six ahead of Juventus with six matches left. Sassuolo are second-bottom with 26 points. Inter Milan, who host Cagliari later on Sunday, are runaway leaders on 82.

It was a frustrating match for Milan, who dominated possession and chances, particularly for Samuel Chukwueze who had two goals disallowed for offside by a hair’s breadth.

Sassuolo goalkeeper Andrea Consigli also made several fine saves, notably a sensational early stop when he clawed away Malick Thiaw’s header which was destined for the top corner.

“We tried absolutely everything. We scored three goals and created many more chances. Nobody could have complained if we’d scored five or six today,” Milan boss Stefano Pioli told DAZN.

“I saw errors today but there was nothing wrong with the attitude and I’d not say we were distracted by other issues,” he added ahead of Thursday’s Europa League quarter-final return leg at AS Roma.

Milan also meet Inter on April 22 in a match that could potentially secure the Nerazzurri their 20th league title.

“Clearly, Inter will win the Scudetto. We’ll do everything we can to win the derby. That’s to make our fans happy, to confirm second place and that’s a prestigious target,” Pioli said.

MILAN SHOCKED

Sassuolo shocked Milan after four minutes when the unmarked Andrea Pinamonti volleyed home from close range after a fine cross was flicked on with his heel by Kristian Thorstvedt.

Armand Lauriente then doubled the lead six minutes later after sprinting into the box and striking a shot that was blocked by keeper Marco Sportiello but rebounded into the path of the Sassuolo striker for an easy finish.

Rafael Leao revived Milan’s chances with a goal in the 20th minute when he went on a solo run, slipped past two defenders and slotted the ball into the far corner of the net.

The excitement continued as Lauriente scored again eight minutes after the break before Milan’s Luka Jovic pulled one back just before the hour mark from close range.

Sassuolo looked exhausted near the end of the match, with Milan creating several chances but Consigli stood strong.

However, in the 84th minute Okafor received the ball inside the box and secured a hard-fought point for the visitors with a well-placed shot two minutes after coming on.

The late equaliser saved Milan’s blushes ahead of their visit to Roma on Thursday with a 1-0 advantage as they try to clinch a place in the Europa League semi-finals.

“Roma played very well at San Siro, whereas we were below our usual level. If we play to our level then I expect it to be a balanced encounter and incidents can make the difference,” Pioli said.