Two struggling teams,three points to fight for. After 3 consecutive losses, Milan returns home with 3 very difficult points in hand. Lucky Milan needed two incidents to change the game and Giampaolo’s job is safe for now. Here is what went down
Milan (4-3-3): Donnarumma;Calabria, Duarte, Romagnoli, Hernandez; Kessie, Biglia, Paqueta; Suso, Piatek, Leao.
Genoa (3-5-2): Radu; Romero, Zapata, Criscito; Ghiglione, Schone, Radavanovic, Lerager, Pajac, Kouame, Pinamonti.
Same Defeated Team
Despite having rumors all around of being sacked and changes in the line-up, Giampaolo sticks to many players in the line-up such as Biglia and Calhanoglu. The selected squad had slight improvements such as choosing Hernandez over Rodriguez, who brought speed and showed his quality. However, in the first half, especially the first 25 minutes, Genoa players were the best in everything while Milan’s defense was shaky and the counterattacks were very slow which is expected having Suso and Bonaventura on the wings. Even after Milan took control of the game, the same performance in the last 2 games was recreated again. Piatek being isolated, Bonaventura too slow to be creative on the far side of the pitch, Calhanoglu and kessie being too average, and Suso being very active but still not enough. Hernandez again showing least mistakes and highest activity. It is not a surprise because again Milan is playing against 3-5-2 which was used by every team defeated Milan this season. Giampaolo facing this formation for the fourth time and still could not find new tactics to beat it. A point of focus in this game for Milan and Brazil fans is the debut of Leo Duarte. The debutant has shown good signs in pace and tackles but he was struggling hard in aerial duels against Pinamonti. The first half ended with Milan behind after a freekick which Reina could not deal with the right way.
Third Time’s a Charm
Giampaolo made a double substitution from the first minute. Leao for Piatek and Paqueta for Calhanoglu. The left side was alive having Paqueta and Hernandez who both want to earn their starting spot for the rest of the season. In the 51st minute, Hernandez with same run he did in a per-season match and against inter, but this time, he found the net from a very tight angle leveling the game and giving Milan the momentum. It did not take long for Leao to start receiving long balls to use his speed and agility to beat the centerbacks and win a penalty with a red card to Genoa’s Biraschi. It was clear how the players performance got better when they got the lead, proving how much pressure is on them from the very first minute. As previously mentioned, Pinamonti was very dangerous especially in aerial balls. In the 73rd minute, he was subbed off for Favilli who is even more superior in aerial duels and caused many troubles to Milan’s defense. In the 79th minute, while Milan had control and possession, Calabria with a very amateur action, wrong pass followed by a shirt pulling to get his second yellow card in the game and second red card in this season putting Milan’s 3 points under danger again and making it 10 vs 10 match. Milan fought hard to keep the ball out of the box but in the 90th minute, Kouame wins a questionable penalty for Genoa. While the referee took almost 4 minutes looking at the screen for Milan’s penalty, he did not even check the VAR despite having an intentional dive from Kouame. Reina Saves the penalty and Milan keep their 3 points to reach the midtable again instead of being close to the relegation zone.
Milan did win the game but did not show the required performance. Therefor, Giampaolo stays under the fans and media pressure. Many things need to be fixed. defending against long balls, giving Piatek more support to score, putting players in their right positions, and most importantly, buying a right back.
Reina: 6 – He played very well even on ground to build the attack. However, he should have dealt better with the freekick that caused a goal.
Calabria: 4.5 – He always shows good offensive support but defensively he was very shaky again and the unnecessary foul he did could have caused Milan 3 points.
Duarte: 5.5 – He played fair for a debut in an away game match. Good passing, good tackling, and good speed but still needs to work on aerial duels because it is a huge part of italian football
Romagnoli: 6 – The most consistent player in the team this season. On the other hand, he is a part of Milan’s weakness in long passes due to his average pace.
Hernandez: 6.5 – The player with the least mistakes in the match. Good defending, good contribution, good runs and support.
Kessie: 5.5 – regardless of the penalty, he was very average and could not add much value.
Biglia: 6 – He was everywhere in the field. Defending with Milan’s centerbacks and pressing Genoa’s centerbacks when needed. Had good interceptions and as always he is good in controlling the midfield and passing.
Calhanoglu: 5 – another very average player in the mezzala role. He has hard competition with Paqueta but his hard work keeps him favorite for the managers.
Suso: 5.5 – He is showing the same mentality in every game this season. When it works, he can be the man of the match. When it does not, he can be the least useful.
Piatek: 5 – He was isolated most of the first half, but he could make some moves to help building the attack and feel more effective. He can be another player who gets destroyed because he does not get as many chances as other strikers.
Bonaventura: 5.5 – Very slow on the wing. However, his passing and physicality helps him to shine whenever he receives the ball.
Leao: 6.5 – Great runs, quick thinking, and good physicality. He has many qualities to become a top player but he needs to look up and pass more often rather than dribble.
Paqueta: 6 – He is the best player when he is off pressure. Very creative and strong. However, he still needs to improve because at the moment, he plays better as a sub.