19-year-old Domenico Berardi buries AC Milan with four-goal performance
It's been a good day for young attackers in Serie A.
On the same day that 22-year-old Roma winger Alessandro Florenzi came through with an incredible overhead-kick goal, 19-year-old Sassuolo striker Domenico Berardi came through with all four tallies in his side's 4-3 stunner over A.C. Milan. Video of the goals after the jump.
The youngster's rise through the ranks of Italian soccer is actually an incredible story -- he wasn't seriously involved in any kind of club structure until the age of 16, and even then it was pretty much an accident. Berardi was visting his brother at college, and while he was there decided to take part in an informal five-a-side game among friends. One of those friends happened to have connections at Sassuolo, then in Serie B.
Three years later, here we are. A.C. Milan, desperate for points in a historically bad campaign, visited Sassuolo, now in their first season in Serie A. Within 12 minutes, Robinho and Mario Balotelli had Milan up 2-0. That's when Berardi took over with four goals showing ingenuity, speed, and a deft nose for the back of the net.
Zoom to 1:20 to get to his goals.
Berardi got his hat trick before the half, then added a fourth about three minutes after the break. That last one turned out to be the most important -- Riccardo Montolivo scored to pull Milan within one, but the Rossoneri couldn't complete the comeback. With such performances, it's easy to see why Italian giant Juventus purchased part of the player's rights from Sassuolo over the summer (They then loaned him back for this season).
With the result, Sassuolo climbs a little bit further outside of the Serie A relegation zone, while A.C. Milan gets drawn amazingly close to it -- manager Massimiliano Allegri's side is now just six points clear from demotion to the second division. (If you're interested in more Berardi background, James Horncastle has a nice piece at WhoScored.com here).