A superb second-half strike by Raphael Guerreiro helped Bayern Munich to a 2-0 win against Koln and keep the champagne on ice in Leverkusen.

Defeat for Thomas Tuchel’s side would have confirmed Bayer Leverkusen as Bundesliga champions but the current holders claimed a hard-fought victory.

It had been a difficult period for Bayern, who had lost both league fixtures since the international break, but they battled to a 2-2 draw at Arsenal on Tuesday night in the first leg of their Champions League quarter-final tie.

While Bayern’s focus was on more European glory this season, they were determined to return to winning ways domestically and they hit the post twice in the first half, once through Harry Kane.

Kane was unable to add to his tally, but the hosts were eventually indebted to Guerreiro’s outstanding 65th-minute effort before Thomas Muller added a late second to ensure all eyes are now on Leverkusen to see if they can clinch the title with victory at home to Werder Bremen on Sunday.

Tuchel made a raft of changes, with Bayern’s priority being next week’s tie with Arsenal.

Manuel Neuer and Leroy Sane were not in the squad but Kane did start and helped Munich dominate possession in the opening exchanges.

The first clear-cut chance when to Koln but fortunately for Bayern, Faride Alidou fired wide from a tight angle.

It was a sign of things to come, though, as Sven Ulreich, recalled for the rested Neuer, produced a superb save to keep the score goalless when he clawed away a header by Sargis Adamyan midway through the half.

Bayern had yet to seriously test Koln goalkeeper Marvin Schwabe until he denied Guerreiro on the half-hour mark following an excellent ball by Kane.

Slowly Kane’s influence was beginning to grow and he hit a post shortly afterwards when Muller flicked the ball through to the England captain, but his low effort smashed against the woodwork.

Further chances went Kane’s way but he drilled one effort wide before diverting another header off target.

Koln responded well and should have taken the lead on the stroke of half-time when Maz Finkgrafe produced another excellent ball into the area, but Alidou could only head wide.

An action-packed first 45 at Allianz Arena concluded with a Mathys Tel curler striking a post to ensure it stayed level at the break.

Bayern were dealt a blow early in the second half when Kingsley Coman went off to make him an immediate doubt for the midweek visit of Arsenal.

Jamal Musiala replaced Coman and his first involvement almost resulted in the breakthrough, but he fired over.

The pressure continued and Tel’s forced Schwabe into an excellent diving save soon after before the opener did arrive in the 65th minute.

A short corner by Joshua Kimmich found Guerreiro who let fly from 25 yards and watched his dipping left-footed effort nestle into the corner.

There was a sense of relief around the stadium, but Koln were not about to roll over and Ulreich had to save a long-range effort from substitute Benno Schmitz.

Better was to follow when Ulreich thwarted Steffen Tigges from close range after a poor pass by Bayern defender Dayot Upamecano, before the hosts did seal the points when Muller slotted home deep into stoppage time.

I Am Maximus was an emphatic winning favourite of the Randox Grand National, storming clear of his rivals to give the all-conquering Willie Mullins a second victory in the Aintree showpiece.

Successful with Hedgehunter 19 years ago, Mullins was responsible for eight of the 32 who headed to post in Liverpool, but I Am Maximus was well-touted to follow up last year’s success in the Irish Grand National.

An impressive tune-up in the Bobbyjo Chase saw punters latch onto the Grade One-winning eight-year-old and Paul Townend rode the 7-1 market leader with supreme confidence down the inner as I Am Maximus showed no sign of previous jumping frailties.

In a race with early drama when defending champion Corach Rambler unshipped Derek Fox at the very first fence, there were a plethora still in contention heading down to two out, where I Am Maximus was inching into contention.

However, the complexion of the race would change at the elbow where I Am Maximus scooted clear of the Rachael Blackmore-ridden Minella Indo and the staying-on Delta Work, who picked up second place in his third attempt at the famous race.

It was a first Grand National triumph for Townend, while owner JP McManus was striking at Aintree for the third time after Don’t Push It (2010) and Minella Times (2021).

Newcastle boss Eddie Howe has warned Newcastle they would have to start again if they sold star striker Alexander Isak this summer.

The 24-year-old Sweden international, the Magpies’ £63million record signing, has been linked with both Arsenal and Tottenham in recent weeks amid the perception that the Saudi-backed club may have to trade to comply with profit and sustainability rules.

Isak enhanced his blossoming reputation further with a superb double in a 4-0 Premier League victory over Champions League-chasing Spurs at St James’ Park on Saturday to take his tally for an injury-interrupted season to 21.

Asked about the need to retain his services, head coach Howe said: “We are trying to build a team, we are trying to grow everything, really, upwards and to do that as quickly as possible and as efficiently as you can, you need to keep your best players, otherwise you enter a different period where you go into transition and you have to start again.

“Your top players, the elite ones, are so difficult to recruit, they’re so difficult to find, so when we get them, we’ve got to try to keep them.”

Isak left Micky van de Ven sitting on his backside to open the scoring on the half-hour and when Anthony Gordon did the same two minutes later, the visitors were in trouble.

Isak’s equally accomplished 51st-minute finish put the result beyond doubt and Fabian Schar added the flourish at the death with a thumping header on a day when the Magpies’ game-plan worked to perfection.

For long periods, they were content to allow Spurs possession – they had just a 27 per cent share – and back themselves both to deny them clear-cut chances and to hit them on the break, and Howe could not have asked his players to execute his instructions any more comprehensively.

Asked how good Isak could be, Howe said: “For me, he’s so exciting to work with, he’s got so many facets to his game we can explore and try to make better.

“First and foremost, he has the undeniable quality that he wants to score, he needs to score – that’s a great characteristic for any striker to have.

“But he also plays for the team, he doesn’t play for himself, which is rare. You can see him linking play and doing things that the team needs, not just what he needs. I thought it was a great performance from him today.”

It proved a testing day for Ange Postecoglou’s men, who were trounced 6-1 in the corresponding fixture last season before his arrival, although the Australian played down the significance of that result.

Postecoglou said: “I think there are other explanations beyond that as to why we didn’t perform. Some of it is down to the opposition, some of it is just down to us.

“We didn’t really get a control of the game, like we have been, and we paid a price for that.”

Antoine Griezmann struck in both halves as Atletico Madrid consolidated fourth spot in LaLiga with a 3-1 victory over rivals Girona.

The capital club got off to a slow start, falling behind in the fourth minute when a slick move finished with Yangel Herrera rolling through to Yan Couto, whose strike from a narrow angle was turned in at the back post by Artem Dovbyk.

But they were back on level terms in the 34th minute after Miguel Gutierrez handled in the area, with Griezmann dispatching the resulting penalty despite Girona goalkeeper Paulo Gazzaniga guessing the right way.

In the sixth minute of added-on time at the end of the first half, Alvaro Morata kept the ball in play on the left touchline and his cross led to Angel Correa stealing in between two defenders to head home.

Griezmann then gave Atletico some breathing room in the 50th minute, firing high beyond Gazzaniga after Rodrigo De Paul’s cross had fallen into his path following a deflection from Jhon Solis.

Atletico are now five points clear of Athletic Bilbao, who are fifth, and moved to within four of third-placed Girona, whose hopes of pipping Barcelona as runners-up suffered a setback.

Daniel Farke admitted the killer instinct of Blackburn’s Sammie Szmodics was lacking from his Leeds side after Saturday’s 1-0 defeat dealt a blow to their automatic promotion hopes.

Leeds dominated the Championship encounter at Elland Road but could not turn possession into goals.

Farke’s side remain third in the table when a win would have seen them seize the initiative from top two Leicester and Ipswich.

Farke said: “When you face a side like Blackburn with a player like Szmodics, he showed the quality which we didn’t show today and he needed just one chance to score.

“So many balls went through the box, but you also need to show the quality to put the ball in the net.

“If you don’t score you have so much more risk. There is also a danger there will be one moment for your opponent and they can score. It’s pretty disappointing and frustrating for us.

“We didn’t put the ball into the net. If you don’t score, you can’t win the game.”

Despite his players missing the chance to steal a march on their rivals, Farke refused to put the blame on them.

He said: “It’s up to me if we don’t score – to find solutions. I have to work with them so that in the next game we create more chances.

“It’s up to us in training to work on our efficiency and create more chances. Today we have created more than enough chances to score. I’m not the guy to point the finger at the players when we don’t score.

“If a team fights to survive and fights against relegation, if they try to annoy us with time wasting and whatever, it’s nothing that I can influence.”

Szmodics dealt the killer blow with a cool finish eight minutes from time as the visitors went route one.

Sam Gallagher headed on a long ball from Aynsley Pears before Tyrhys Dolan turned and fed Szmodics and he did the rest with a composed finish past Illan Meslier.

The Leeds goalkeeper had saved from Szmodics with Blackburn’s only effort of the first period, while Pears had saved from Crysencio Summerville, Wilfried Gnonto and Connor Roberts as the home side failed to make their dominance pay.

Blackburn head coach John Eustace was full of praise for his side.

He said: “I was very proud of the effort the boys have given me since I came in, it has been outstanding.

“To come here and play like we did was great. We had a game plan without the ball. I am delighted with the effort and very proud of them.”

Blackburn bounced back from a 5-0 defeat at Bristol City in midweek and that resilience was what pleased Eustace the most.

He added: “Wednesday was a bit of a blip. That certainly wasn’t a team that I have been a part of. We have been very difficult to beat.

“It’s very important that we keep working hard, sticking together. We have three games left and we still need points.”

Eustace praised Szmodics, adding: “Sammie, without his goals this season, we really would have been in trouble. The rest of the group have created those chances for him.

“Since I’ve been here he has been magnificent. To score 30 goals in the Championship is a fantastic effort.”

Freshness was the order of the day as Strong Leader landed a telling blow in the JRL Group Liverpool Hurdle at Aintree.

Olly Murphy’s seven-year-old had hit the frame on his first attempt at three miles in January’s Cleeve Hurdle and his handler’s decision to skip the Stayers’ Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival was rewarded in Liverpool as the mount of Sean Bowen produced a brilliant display.

Towards the rear in the early stages as Aintree regular Flooring Porter was disputing the lead with the evergreen Dashel Drasher and King George hero Hewick, Bowen made a notable move aboard Strong Leader heading down the back side on the second circuit, soon joining those towards the head of proceedings.

Buddy One was another to take close order rounding the bend for home, with Jack Gilligan setting sail aboard the Irish raider. But Bowen was holding on to plenty of horse and after powering his way to the front jumping the last, he galloped on to score by four and a quarter lengths at odds of 8-1.

Buddy One bravely kept on for second, with Henry de Bromhead’s Hiddenvalley Lake third, but they were never a match for Strong Leader who gave his trainer just a second Grade One victory after Itchy Feet back in February 2020.

LeBron James said "every seed matters" for the Los Angeles Lakers after he combined with Anthony Davis to power them past the Memphis Grizzlies and go eighth in the Western Conference.

The Lakers entered Friday's game – their penultimate outing of the regular season – on a two-game losing streak and jockeying for position with the Sacramento Kings and Golden State Warriors. 

However, James put up 37 points, nine rebounds and five assists, while Davis added 35 points as the injury-hit Grizzlies failed to hold on after going 118-117 up with one minute and six seconds left.

James sank six points in the final minute to lift Los Angeles one game clear of Sacramento and Golden State, both of whom suffered defeats later on Friday.

"Every game matters. Every seed matters. Wherever you fall, you can't play in the past," James said.

"I can't say I would much rather be where we are today than be the number one seed. That would be a lie. Seeds matter, and wherever you fall, you take that challenge."

The Lakers emerged from the Play-In Tournament to reach the Western Conference Finals last year before being dispatched by the eventual NBA champions, the Denver Nuggets.

With coach Darvin Ham plotting a route through the postseason, he left James out on the court for 41 minutes on Friday, while Davis played 43 minutes on his return from a left eye injury which kept him out of Tuesday's loss to the Warriors. 

Asked about the risks of keeping the duo out there, Ham said: "In the moment, you're not worried about that. You're worried about securing the victory you came to get. 

"Everyone knows what time it is. It's that time of the year. Everyone knows what's at stake. 

"Whatever we need, and however long we need to push guys, we've got to have it, and they understand that."

Memphis are guaranteed to end a frustrating campaign 13th in the West, and Scotty Pippen Jr. said they were simply playing for future opportunities after scoring a career-high 28 points.

"The emphasis going into the game was to play hard," Pippen said. "We knew they were playing for something, and they probably thought we were playing for nothing. 

"But a lot of guys here are playing for opportunities. That's our motivation."

Sammie Szmodics dealt a crushing blow to Leeds’ automatic promotion hopes as Blackburn claimed a late 1-0 Championship win at Elland Road.

Defeat stopped the home side going top of the table as Rovers defended for long periods of the game.

Crysencio Summerville, Wilfried Gnonto and Connor Roberts all tested Blackburn goalkeeper Aynsley Pears in a dominant first half for Leeds.

The home side also had chances after the break but were punished by Szmodics with eight minutes to go.

Leeds were on the front foot from the off as Joel Piroe’s shot was deflected for a corner.

Hayden Carter tripped Summerville and his free-kick from a narrow angle was saved by Pears, who also punched away the follow-up shot from Gnonto from the edge of the area.

The game was being played mostly in Blackburn’s half and Leeds forced two corners in succession with 20 minutes gone – but they were unable to break the deadlock.

Ethan Ampadu headed a Roberts free-kick off target as Leeds kept up the pressure with nearly half-an-hour on the clock.

Ilia Gruev missed the best chance so far but his near-post shot from Gnonto’s low ball following a corner did not trouble Pears.

Roberts was the next to test the Rovers stopper with a curling shot from outside the area which he saved high to his left at the expense of a corner.

Szmodics forced Illan Meslier into action for the first time from a Blackburn breakaway with the goalkeeper diving low to his left to keep out the shot, five minutes before the break.

Gruev fired at Pears with the first effort of the second half after Joe Rodon’s vital interception and surging run.

Gnonto shot wide across the face of goal but with nearly an hour gone, Leeds were still looking for the opening goal.

Meslier put his side under pressure when his throw went to a Blackburn player but luckily for him when the ball was passed to Joe Rankin-Costello, he fired wide.

Blackburn sensed a chance and Szmodics crossed low from the right but he could not find a team-mate with the Leeds goal gaping, with Roberts stretching to stop Tyrhys Dolan getting a touch.

Georginio Rutter’s shot into a crowded area saw Pears dive low to his left then claim the loose ball.

A cross from Gnonto spun onto the post and then the winger just failed to get a touch to a Dan James cross.

Substitute Patrick Bamford headed over as Leeds cranked up the pressure and they were made to pay when Szmodics struck the decisive blow, eight minutes from time.

Sam Gallagher nodded on Pears’ kick, Dolan turned and released his team-mate and Szmodics finished coolly past Meslier.

Alexander Isak smashed his way through the 20-goal barrier as Newcastle boosted their European hopes by denting those of Tottenham.

The Magpies’ £63million record signing produced two sumptuous finishes either side of Anthony Gordon’s strike to take his tally for the campaign to 21 before Fabian Schar’s thunderous late header secured a 4-0 win at St James’ Park.

It was their third victory in four Premier League outings and ended fourth-placed Spurs’ three-match unbeaten run, and while it might not have been as spectacular as last season’s 6-1 rout in the corresponding fixture, it was equally emphatic.

Head coach Eddie Howe once again set up his team to suck in the visitors and then hit them on the break, and the plan worked to perfection on an day defender Micky van de Ven in particular will want to forget quickly.

With both sets of players wearing black armbands in memory of former Newcastle boss and Tottenham defender Joe Kinnear, who died last weekend, Gordon caused early problems and Elliot Anderson had a third-minute header blocked at source as Spurs found themselves under pressure.

However, they soon settled and turned the Magpies with seven minutes gone when Rodrigo Bentancur put Brennan Johnson in behind Dan Burn, although Timo Werner was unable to adjust quickly enough to volley his cross towards goal.

The visitors looked menacing and Magpies keeper Martin Dubravka was relieved to see Werner shoot straight at team-mate Son Heung-min after the South Korea international had picked out the striker with a fine pass before continuing his run.

Dubravka enjoyed another escape with 18 minutes gone when Werner side-footed wastefully across goal from James Maddison’s inviting cut-back.

But it was the hosts who took the lead on the half-hour later when Gordon robbed Destiny Udogie and slid the ball into Isak, who sat Van de Ven down before firing firmly past keeper Guglielmo Vicario.

Newcastle’s joy was doubled within two minutes when full-back Pedro Porro tried to play Burn’s header back to Vicario and Gordon intercepted before rounding the hapless Van de Ven as he went to ground once again and beating the keeper.

Van de Ven did intervene to prevent Isak from converting Anderson’s 35th-minute through-ball and then again as he went for goal two minutes later, and Vicario managed to pluck the ball off the Sweden international’s toe as he controlled Harvey Barnes’ fine cross with the Londoners in tatters at the back.

Maddison forced Dubravka into a 42nd-minute save from distance at the end of a sustained period of pressure, but Isak glanced a Gordon corner wide with Howe’s men refusing to sit on their laurels.

Werner tested Dubravka significantly further within six minutes of the restart, but Newcastle increased their lead seconds later when Isak ran away from Van de Ven to collect Bruno Guimaraes’ inch-perfect ball over the top and drill a shot past Vicario.

Vicario parried an Anderson shot at his near post and Maddison blazed high over at the other end with the Magpies managing their lead in relative comfort despite seeing little of the ball, and they finished with a flourish when Schar powered Gordon’s 87th-minute corner home to make it 4-0.

Inter Milan go in search of the first of successive wins they need to wrap up the Serie A title on Sunday.

Cagliari are the visitors to San Siro and victory will mean Simone Inzaghi’s men can wrap up their first Scudetto in three years with a three-point return against their city rivals AC Milan in their following match on April 22.

Inter maintained their 14-point advantage over second-placed Milan on Monday, with Davide Frattesi’s late winner completing a come-from-behind victory at an Udinese side who had won just once at home all season.

Inzaghi had an eye on the remaining seven fixtures after that match when he said: “We’re playing clubs fighting against relegation or for the top spots… We can’t let our concentration slip.”

The Nerazzurri have won 12 and drawn one of their 13 matches since the turn of the year and have been beaten only once in the competition since the start of the season – a shock home loss to struggling Sassuolo in September the only blemish in an impressive campaign.

However, the leaders, who have scored in every match, will be without top goalscorer Lautaro Martinez against Cagliari because of suspension.

The Sardinians’ knack of picking up points from losing positions has aided their bid for survival.

Ten points from their last five matches have lifted Cagliari four points clear of the relegation zone as they bid to avoid an immediate return to the second tier of Italian football.

The last time they won this contest was in 2016 as two goals in the final 19 minutes turned the contest on its head against an Inter side who finished fourth, a distant 24 points behind champions Juventus.

However, Claudio Ranieri’s team are not at their best away from home in the current campaign.

They have picked up just seven points from their 15 games and netted a league-low nine goals on their travels.

Brighterdaysahead proved appropriately named when a bloodless winner of the Turners Mersey Novices’ Hurdle at Aintree.

Held in the highest regard by trainer Gordon Elliott, she headed into the Cheltenham Festival as one of the bankers of the week in the Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle.

The Gigginstown House Stud-owned five-year-old suffered a shock defeat at Prestbury Park when second to Golden Ace, but back up in trip and facing some quality opposition, the five-year-old confirmed she is a mare of the highest quality.

Settled in midfield by Jack Kennedy, Brighterdaysahead was always in the perfect position and having travelled menacingly into contention rounding the turn for home, she cruised effortlessly to the lead heading down to the last.

Kennedy could simply sit and savour the moment as the 6-5 favourite sauntered to a facile seven-and-a-half length success over stablemate Staffordshire Knott, who was giving Gigginstown a one-two in the Grade One event.

Chelsea’s wage bill rose to more than £400million last season – the second highest in the Premier League, according to accounts published by Companies House.

The Blues finished 12th in the Premier League last term but their salary costs have risen by 18 per cent to £404m, with only treble-winning Manchester City paying out more (£422.9m).

In the first full season under the new ownership of Todd Boehly’s Clearlake Capital consortium, Chelsea paid £747m on transfers up to June 30, 2023. Since then, they have spent another £454m on transfers.

Players who had initially cost the club £592m were sold for £203m although accounting regulations allow the West London outfit a profit of around £63m.

Chelsea announced pre-tax losses of £90.1million in March, an improvement on the previous years’ loss of £121.4m, but Premier League rules state a club can have made a loss no greater than £105m over a three-year period.

While certain costs can be deducted, it means there are likely to be further player sales required in the coming months in order to remain within regulations, particularly with qualification for Europe via their league position looking unlikely this campaign.

The sale of Mason Mount to Manchester United in July last year for £55m, with a possible £5m in add-ons, will be in the 2023/24 accounts although so too will the signing of Moises Caicedo from Brighton for a fee that could rise to up to £115m.

On Friday, it was announced Chelsea spent £75.1m on agents’ and intermediaries’ fees in the 12 months up to February 1, having brought in players like Caicedo, Christopher Nkunku, Romeo Lavia, Nicolas Jackson and Cole Palmer over the period covered – which was almost £32m more than previously spent.

Despite the outlay Mauricio Pochettino’s expensively-assembled squad have endured an inconsistent Premier League campaign – and were branded “blue billion-pound bottle jobs” by Sky Sports pundit Gary Neville late on during their 1-0 extra-time defeat against Liverpool in the Carabao Cup final.

A £76.5m property deal with BlueCo, a subsidiary of the club’s holding company, helped to reduce Chelsea’s losses, while their turnover increased to £512m, up from £481m over the previous year.

Dan Skelton improved his already impressive record in handicaps at the major meetings when Gwennie May Boy continued his rapid improvement in the William Hill Handicap Hurdle at Aintree.

Having won the Grand Annual and Coral Cup at Cheltenham with Unexpected Party and Langer Dan respectively, Skelton plundered another valuable prize on Merseyside with Kateira on Friday.

Last year’s winner West Balboa appeared the stable’s first string in the Grand National day curtain-raiser, going off a well-backed 11-4 favourite under the trainer’s brother, Harry, but this time around had to make do with minor honours behind a stablemate on a steep upward trajectory.

Gwennie May Boy, who had won both of his first two races since moving to Skelton from Jonjo O’Neill’s yard, looked like he had just joined in at the second-last under Charlie Todd and the 9-2 shot scooted clear from the final obstacle to score by seven and a half lengths from Lord Snootie.

“I have to say, I genuinely thought West Balboa would win, especially after Kateira won yesterday as there was nothing separating them when they last ran together at Kempton,” said Skelton.

“I am astounded at the improvement in this horse (Gwennie May Boy). He’s only a six-year-old and walking round beforehand I thought he looked a bit light and might be over the top, but what do I know – it’s clearly how he likes to be.

“I’ve not had him all that long and I hadn’t even worked him out before I ran him at Bangor, I just ran him. He won so well there I thought there’s a £100,000 race at Uttoxeter so we better go for that and then there was this here, it was just obvious.

“He has taken me by surprise as he works terrible at home, but he saves it all for the track and he’s just got on a roll. He’s been a remarkable little horse.”

Stefano Pioli knows AC Milan face a “steep climb” to rescue their season as reports the Rossoneri boss could soon be replaced continue to gather steam.

Milan have won their last five Serie A games and next face relegation-threatened Sassuolo on Sunday but Thursday’s 1-0 home defeat by Italian rivals Roma in the Europa League quarter-finals did nothing to help dispel talk of Pioli’s potentially-imminent departure.

Reports suggest former Real Madrid and Wolves head coach Julen Lopetegui is being lined up to succeed Pioli, whose contract at San Siro does not expire until June 2025.

It has been claimed the Parma-born manager has the next three games to save his job: at Sassuolo this weekend, the return leg at Roma and then crucially the derby against Inter Milan on April 22.

With the Nerazzurri 14 points ahead as the domestic campaign enters its final seven games, losing to Inter could effectively end the title race and leave Milan looking over their shoulder at Juventus – while their European adventure could already be over if they fail to remove Roma’s advantage, earned by Gianluca Mancini’s first-half goal at San Siro.

Pioli told reporters after the Europa League clash: “The climb is steep because the level has risen, but I’m convinced the team can play at a higher level and if we play at that level, we have every chance of playing.

“That’s what I told the team after the game.”

Midfielder Tommaso Pobega and defender Pierre Kalula are unavailable for Sunday’s Mapei Stadium showdown due to injury, with Theo Hernandez and Filippo Terracciano’s involvement in the balance. Tijjani Reijnders is more likely to be involved than English midfielder Ruben Loftus-Cheek.

In the Sassuolo camp, winger Domenico Berardi’s season is already over thanks to an Achilles tear and Norway defender Marcus Holmgren Pedersen is at least a few weeks away in his recovery.

The Neroverdi are two points from safety after being denied victory by Salernitana at the death last time out, Giulio Maggiore scoring a last-minute equaliser in a 2-2 draw to deny the Emilia-Romagna club their first away win since late November.

Well-travelled veteran boss Davide Ballardini took over in Sassuolo at the beginning of March and has taken six points from his five games so far.

The Watermelon Peel can perhaps take heart from one of the shock results of last term when they stunned Milan 5-2 at San Siro, but they have not won the home version of this match-up since March 2016, losing six of the seven subsequent editions.

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