Four-goal hero Domenico Berardi single handedly helped Sassuolo comeback from two-goals down to defeat Milan 4-3 at the Mapei Stadium on Sunday evening.
The Rossoneri went 2-0 up through two great goals by Robinho and Mario Balotelli after just 12 minutes, but the teenager exposed all of Milan’s weaknesses with his four goals in the space of 32 minutes.
New arrival Keisuke Honda started the fixture from the bench while Massimiliano Allegri opted to use the more or less the same team that started in the 3-1 win over Atalanta last Monday.
Vision at the Mapei was made exceptionally difficult with the heavy fog that descended on the ground and it was Nigel de Jong who drew the first save of the match with his shot from outside the box after 83 seconds.
It took Milan nine minutes to open their account through Robinho. De Jong did brilliantly to win the ball off a player, pass it to the Brazilian who burst into the box and rounded it past Gianluca Pegolo and into the far corner.
The scoreline was then doubled to 2-0, just three minutes later, after Mario Balotelli smacked in a cross by Bryan Cristante. The youngster did well to work his way around a marker and up to the byline, before supplying the decisive cross to the former Manchester City man.
However, Sassuolo responded with a goal of their own after Domenico Berardi snuck into the box and forced Christian Abbiati well off his line. The 19-year-old sliced the ball under the goalkeeper’s arms and put into the back of the net after just 14 minutes of play.
Berardi astonishingly completed an impressive comeback for Sassuolo when he made it 2-2 just before the half hour mark. The attacker made Daniele Bonera look like a teen when he connected on a half volley which swung around the Milan defender and beat Abbiati at the near post.
Berardi deservingly got his hat-trick five minutes from the break when he rushed inside the box, after getting the better of Urby Emanuelson, to beat Abbiati for the third time with a right-footed slider. 3-2 to Sassuolo.
Sassuolo needed just a minute to continue Milan’s misery when Berardi again left the Rossoneri defence in sixes and sevens as he got his fourth on the night by sending the ‘keeper the wrong way.
Just after the hour mark Balotelli tried his luck with a pile driver which glanced so narrowly wide of the far post, before Honda was eventually put onto the park.
Montolivo set-up some cause for Milan five minutes for time with his low angled drive from outside the box set-up a nervy affair in the final few minutes of the game.
Balotelli and Pazzini made it 4-4 in the final minutes when the former’s header was punched away by Pegolo, while the latter saw his header bounce under the crossbar.
Other Serie A results for Week 19…
Torinoand Fiorentina played out to a goalless draw in the first kick-off of Sunday afternoon. The Viola heavily missed the services of the injured Giuseppe Rossi and Mario Gomez, while Borja Valero’s birthday celebrations had to be put on hold with the result.
Elsewhere, Atalanta continued Catania’s relegation woes with their 2-1 victory over the Siciliani. The match looked destined to end goalless at the Atleti Azzurri d’Italia but strikes from German Denis and Maxi Moralez’s in the final 20 minutes of the fixture put them on target for the win. Leto did score on the brink of the full time whistle, but it was merely a consolation for the side that sit at the foot of the table.
But the pick of the punch was Napoli’s impressive showing at the Bentegodi Stadium as they became the first team to claim a victory on Hellas Verona’s home soil. Dries Mertens continued on with his goalscoring form when he opened the Partenopei outfit’s account of the afternoon.
His strike put Napoli 1-0 up at the half time but goals by Lorenzo Insigne, his first of the season, and Blerim Dzemaili ensured that Napoli secured a crucial 3-0 win. The results sees Napoli maintain third place, while Verona’s position in fifth place could be comprised should Inter win on Monday evening against Chievo.