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Bacca sparks stunning Milan fighback over Sassuolo

Milan (AFP) – A second-half penalty from Carlos Bacca sparked a stunning fightback as AC Milan dominated a seven-goal thriller 4-3 at home to Sassuolo on Sunday.

Vincenzo Montella’s hosts looked to be on their way to a resounding home defeat after a goal apiece from Francesco Acerbi and Lorenzo Pellegrini immediately after the restart gave Sassuolo a 3-1 lead by the 56th minute.

But Colombia striker Bacca revived Rossoneri hopes when he stepped up to beat Andrea Consigli from the penalty spot after Luca Antei was ruled to have hauled down M’Baye Niang in the 69th minute.

The San Siro had been quickly silenced early in the opening half when Matteo Politano levelled for the visitors just a minute after Giacomo Bonaventura’s ninth-minute opener.

But the stadium erupted only four minutes after Bacca’s strike, thanks to an 18-year-old midfielder whose maiden Serie A goal will be remembered for years to come.

Manuel Locatelli came off the bench to replace Milan captain Riccardo Montolivo on the hour and barely 15 minutes later he almost burst the Sassuolo net with a stunning half-volley from the edge of the area following a poor clearance.

Locatelli’s exuberant celebrations illustrated his disbelief and he was quickly mobbed by his Rossoneri teammates, but Milan weren’t finished.

Minutes later, Gabriel Paletta rose above the Sassuolo defence to meet M’Baye Niang’s superb cross from the left side of the area to beat Consigli with a powerful angled header that restored Milan’s lead 13 minutes from the finish.

Milan suffered a nervous finale, teenage goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma producing a fine, one-handed save to stop Politano claiming a late share of the points. 

But Montella’s men held on for a fourth win in seven games that moved them up to provisional fifth, five points behind Juventus, ahead of Inter Milan’s away fixture at Roma.

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