The city of Milan was filled with a sea of celebrating red and black fans as AC Milan won its first Serie A title in 11 years with a 3-0 win over Sassuolo on Sunday.
Thousands of fans began gathering in Milan’s Piazza del Duomo, in front of the iconic cathedral, even before the Rossoneri won their 19th Scudetto.
And it was the man who excels in big events who helped Milan do it: veteran striker Olivier Giroud scored twice, ensuring his team’s victory.
Rafael Lean, 22, scored all three goals in the first half.
As a result, Milan were two points ahead of defending champion and city rival Inter Milan, who beat Sampdoria 3-0 at home.
The season-long duel between Milan and Inter in the Italian championship came down to the last day, with the rossoneri just one point short of winning their first scudetto since the 2010-11 season. The Rossoneri had a two-point advantage over Inter and a better away result, which is the deciding factor.
And even though it was an away game for Milan, there was a home game feeling as thousands made the trip and the Rossoneri fans greatly outnumbered the Sassuolo fans in the Mapei stadium and even more outside. After the final whistle, the field was invaded, delaying the trophy ceremony.
Relying on strong support, Milan led the game with high intensity from the start and had several chances to lead before doing so in the 17th minute.
Lean won the ball in midfield and raced down the flank, then broke through on the left and passed the ball to Giroud, who shot between the legs of Sassuolo defender Mert Müldür and goalkeeper Andrea Consiglia.
Giroud has a history of scoring goals at crucial moments. His crucial goals at the end of the 2019-20 season helped Chelsea qualify for the Champions League last season, and his six goals in that competition helped the London club win it.
Giroud, 35, has also scored in important matches this season for Milan, including against Inter and Napoli.
Giroud did it again in the 32nd minute in very similar fashion after crossing another cross from Leo down the left flank.
It was a one-way move, and Milan almost sealed the match win – and the title – four minutes later. This time Leao served from the right, and FRank Kessie scored from close range.
When he was replaced in the 72nd minute, he received a standing ovation. Veteran Zlatan Ibrahimovic entered the field and thought he had scored in possibly his last game for the club, but the goal was cancelled due to offside.