Giroud helps Milan secure 1st Serie A title in 11 years

Sun, May 22, 2022
Soccer News (AP)

Giroud helps Milan secure 1st Serie A title in 11 years

MILAN (AP) - The city of Milan was swarming with a sea of celebrating red-and-black fans as AC Milan secured its first Serie A title in 11 years on Sunday with a 3-0 win at Sassuolo.

Thousands of fans had started gathering in Milan's Piazza del Duomo, in front of the iconic cathedral, even before the Rossoneri clinched its 19th scudetto.

And it was the man who thrives in the big occasions who helped Milan do it, as veteran forward Olivier Giroud scored twice to set his side on the way to the win.

The 22-year-old Rafael Leao set up all three first-half goals.

The result meant Milan finished two points ahead of defending champion - and city rival - Inter Milan, which won 3-0 at home to Sampdoria.

The season-long duel between Milan and Inter for the Italian league came down to the final day and the Rossoneri only needed one point to clinch its first scudetto since the 2010-11 season. It had a two-point lead over Inter and a better head-to-head record, which is the tiebreaker.

And despite it being an away game for Milan, it had the feeling of a home match as thousands had made the trip and the Rossoneri fans far outnumbered the Sassuolo supporters inside the Mapei Stadium, with many more outside. There was a field invasion at the final whistle, delaying the trophy ceremony.

  • Backed by the vociferous support, Milan had a high intensity from the start and had several chances to take the lead before doing so in the 17th minute.

    Leao won the ball back in midfield and raced down the flank before cutting in from the left and rolling the ball across to Giroud, who slotted the ball between the legs of both Sassuolo defender Mert Muldur and goalkeeper Andrea Consigli.

    Giroud has a long history of scoring in critical moments. His crucial goals late in the 2019-20 season helped Chelsea qualify for last season's Champions League, and his six goals in the competition helped the London club win it.

    The 35-year-old Giroud has also scored in important matches this season for Milan, including against Inter and Napoli.

    Giroud did it again in the 32nd in very similar fashion after turning in another cross from Leao from the left.

    It was one-way traffic and Milan all but sealed the match - and the title - four minutes later. This time Leao's assist came from the right and Franck Kessie swept it in from close range.

    Giroud was given a standing ovation when he was substituted in the 72nd minute. Fellow veteran Zlatan Ibrahimovic was brought on and he thought he had scored in what could be his last club match but it was ruled out for offside.

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