After losing one of the most important Matches this season against Inter at home, Milan travels to Turin to play against Torino. After a match full of wasted chances, Torino pulled off the 3 points making Milan travel home empty handed. Here is what went down:
Milan (4-3-1-2): Donnarumma; Calabria, Musacchio, Romagnoli, Hernandez; Calhanoglu, Bennacer, Kessie; Suso; Leao, Piatek.
Torino (3-4-1-2): Sirigu; Izzo, Lyanco, Bremer; Aina, Rincon, Baselli, De Selvestri; Vedri; Belotti, Zaza.
Space To Breathe
Milan started the game cautiously with the ball movement. It took few minutes to realize the difference in pressure btween Torino and the previous teams Milan played against. There is more space and the connection between the lines is easy. It is not a big surprise knowing that Torino’s coach is Mazzarri, a defensive minded coach. Milan took the advantage of the spaces especially in the midfield where Torino players were easy to beat but still Milan keeps suffering the attacking third. The only solution was the sides where Leao and Suso were very active and made a good number of crosses. In the 16th minute one of those crosses made by Piatek put Leao in a good position which forced the defender to push him causing a penalty. Piatek scores.
Improvement? Not Yet …
Mazzarri did not make any tactical changes after the goal which was noticable for Milan players, encouraging them to keep attacking. Milan players were overexcited and they wanted to finish the game as quick as possible. Continuous losing of the ball gave Torino the needed time to reorganize which made things harder for Milan. This is the point Giampaolo has been working on, to keep the players calm and control the ball to score. He was seen multiple times getting angry and shouting because the players tend to get rid of the ball as soon as possible. In the last minute of the first half, a long ball given to Belotti who almost broke the defense line. Knowing this weakness, Donnarumma ran as a sweeper to take the ball as usual but he failed which gave Belotti an open net but he surprisingly missed.
“If you don’t score, you will concede”
Second half began with the same rhythm and same odds. Mazzarri relying on counterattacks and patiently waiting for the chance to score. Milan had chances to score but they were wasted. Piatek still missing chances which may affect his confidence especially when the media and the fans start to attack him. After all the chances missed, Mazzarri’s plan worked. Torino needed 4 minutes to complete their comeback. Belotti managed to beat Musacchio in both chances and scored. Then, it turned into an open game where both teams started to miss chances and Milan players were desperate for a draw. In the last minute, a free header for Piatek could have given Milan 1 point but he couldn’t direct it well. Striking right in the middle where Sirigu was standing ending the game with the second consecutive defeat.
Despite the improvement in the line-up, Milan could not get to the expected level wasting 3 important and relatively easy points. Torino had a very weak midfield which was the key to win the game. Giampaolo has clear ideas and it was shown by his reactions, to play a balanced and smart football. The question is, how much time does he need ?
Donnarumma: 5.5 – Solid in corners and crosses in general. Could be man of the match if he saved the shots lead to goals especially the first because it was momentum shifting and it was relatively easy.
Calabria: 5.5 – was not tested hard defensively but he was supportive offensively, he was always in the overlapping position giving Suso more options.
Musacchio: 5 – Managed to stop Belotti in the first 70 minutes but his performance dropped in the last 20 mintues. He lost his concentration.
Romagnoli : 5.5 – Had an easier target than Musacchio (Zaza) which he could keep under control the whole game except the second goal where he got outpaced.
Hernandez : 6 – just like Calabria, defensively he was not really tested but offensively he was very active and had more responsibility because Leao changes his position to a second striker when needed.
Calhanoglu: 6 – Good chemistry with Henandez and Bennacer. Held his position well and was supportive in both offense and defense.
Bennacer: 6 – Good passing and vision, made a good link between centerbacks and midfielders. However, still suffers against strong players and arial balls.
Kessie: 5.5 – Average performance. Good runs and defensive support but still lacks vision besides being hotheaded.
Suso: 5.5 – Active and creative. Made a lot of chances but also lost the ball many times trying to find the hard solution instead of the easy one.
Leao: 6.5 – Most active player. Good positioning and good movement. Caused the penalty
Piatek: 5.5 – had a very good fist half. Very good positioning but very bad finishing.
Bonaventura: 5.5 – Started the game little rusty, heavy with and without the ball. Good vision and passing.