AC Milan won their first Serie A title in 11 years on Sunday after beating Sassuolo 3-0 in Reggio Emilia to snatch the crown from local rivals Inter Milan on the final day of a thrilling campaign.
Needing just a point to claim the Scudetto Milan swept their hosts aside thanks to an Olivier Giroud brace and another from Franck Kessie in the first half in front of an army of away fans at the Mapei Stadium.
Stefano Pioli’s Milan finished two points ahead of Inter, who beat Sampdoria 3-0 at the San Siro but could not retain their title.
Fans partied in Milan and sang ‘We Are The Champions’ with the players on the pitch in Reggio Emilia as the ‘Rossoneri’ returned to the top of the Italian game after years of poor teams and financial problems since their last league crown in 2011.
“We deserved this for always having believed it was possible,” said Pioli after winning his first ever major trophy as a coach at the age of 56.
“My players never gave up, they were all fantastic… I’ve enjoyed it because I could see that my players enjoyed it too.”
Milan were imperious in winning their sixth match on the bounce and securing a title which for long tracts of the season looked like Inter’s to lose.
They were helped by another exciting display from winger Rafael Leao, and big game display from Giroud, who has struck some of the most important goals of Milan’s charge to the title despite only netting 11 times all season in the league.
Sassuolo immediately wilted in the face of a Milan onslaught and practically handed Giroud the chance to net an almost identical double in the first 32 minutes, both laid on by Leao.
And four minutes later Leao burst down the right and cut back for Kessie, who smashed in the third to sign off in perfect fashion ahead of his move to Barcelona as a free agent in the close season.
“When I came here (over Christmas 2019) I said that I would take Milan back to the top and that I would win the title,” said Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who was at Milan the last time they won the league.
“This is a great group of players. We’ve worked hard, quietly and in the end we’re the ones who have won, because two years ago the situation was very difficult.”