AC Milan won their first Italian Serie A title in 11 years with a 3-0 final-day victory over Sassuolo on Sunday, with Olivier Giroud’s double and Franck Kessie’s goal sealing the Scudetto.
Stefano Pioli’s side knew that a point would be enough to finish first ahead of Inter Milan in the last round of matches, but after Giroud’s goal in the 17th minute, a 19th Serie A title never looked in doubt.
After further excellent work from Rafael Leao, Giroud stabbed home a second goal in the 32nd minute to put Pioli’s side on pace for the trophy, without having to worry about how Inter were doing back at their shared San Siro stadium.
AC Milan showed no mercy, as Kessie added a third goal four minutes later to virtually end the game, and the title fight, before halftime.
It was party time in Emilia-Romagna after the interval, with thousands of Milan fans, who had plainly purchased tickets among the home supporters, celebrating throughout the half as their side never appeared in danger of falling behind.
The final whistle was met with wild displays of jubilation from a club that had waited far too long for a Scudetto for a team of their stature, as they ended two points ahead of Inter, who had won at home against Sampdoria in vain.
“I can’t recall the last time we lost a game,” Pioli told DAZN. “We deserved this Scudetto because we have been more consistent and have won difficult matches, including a derby comeback and two victories in Rome.
“My employers have instilled in me a tremendous amount of confidence; you only get to this level because each member has given their all.”
Milan showed no early nervousness as they took the game to Sassuolo in the middle of the table.
Even before in-form Brazilian Leao snuck in down the left and squared for Giroud to shoot his side ahead, his header was cleared off the line and Alexis Saelemaekers’ attempt was brilliantly saved.
Leao’s determination and cunning were key in the second goal, as he held off several challenges before squaring for Giroud to score his 11th Serie A goal of the season.
Kessie, who was, according to sources in Italy, playing his final game for Milan before joining Barcelona next season, then side-footed home the third to complete the job.
With a fourth goal off the bench late on, veteran striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic felt he had put the cherry on top, but his header was ruled out for offside.
It didn’t matter because the festivities were already underway. Even Pioli, who has finally won his first senior trophy after 19 years as a coach, joined in with supporters singing “Pioli’s on fire” in the dying minutes.
As the match came to a close, Milan’s ecstatic fans flooded the ground, embracing players and staff at every opportunity, their wait for another league title is finally over.