Pulisic goal the difference as AC Milan beat Sassuolo 1-0

Christian Pulisic ensured AC Milan ended the year on a high by scoring a second-half goal that secured a 1-0 home win over Sassuolo in Serie A on Saturday.

In the 59th minute, the American broke the deadlock by skillfully chipping the ball over Sassuolo keeper Andrea Consigli after receiving Ismaël Bennacer's defence-splitting pass.

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With six goals this season, Pulisic broke Weston McKennie's record -- set for Juventus in 2022-21 -- for the most Serie A goals in a single campaign by an American player.

Milan are in third place with 36 points, narrowing the gap on leaders Inter Milan to nine after they played out a 1-1 draw at Genoa on Friday. Sassuolo are 16th with 16.

Milan manager Stefano Pioli fielded a depleted back line, with Fikayo Tomori, Malick Thiaw and Pierre Kalulu all sidelined due to injuries.

"We can play and create even more but I think we had the right approach today. I am happy with the way we played and suffered together and how we won this game," Pioli told DAZN.

"This is the team's victory. This is a group that, during my time here, has never given up in difficult moments."

Christian Pulisic scored his sixth league goal of the season.
Photo by Giuseppe Cottini/AC Milan via Getty Images

The hosts had an early effort disallowed when Olivier Giroud was offside as he delivered a cross for Bennacer to slot home.

Another Milan attempt on goal was disallowed as Rafael Leão's finish was cancelled out for offside in the build-up.

Sassuolo had their best chance moments later when Domenico Berardi's curling shot required a diving save from keeper Mike Maignan who tipped it over the bar.

The hosts sat back after Pulisic's goal, limiting Sassuolo to long-range attempts, and they comfortably held out for the win.

Earlier on Saturday, Bologna's recent momentum was ended as they suffered a 3-0 loss at Udinese.

Thiago Motta's side, vying for a top-four spot, were left in fifth place, trailing Fiorentina in fourth by two points.

Milan will start the New Year by hosting Cagliari in the Coppa Italia round of 16 on Jan. 2. Bologna entertain Genoa in Serie A three days later.