A San Siro return that, despite the result, will have made all Rossoneri proud. Against Atlético Madrid, AC Milan dominated for half an hour when both teams had eleven men on the pitch. Following Kessie’s sending-off, the Diavolo managed to keep the visitors at bay until Griezmann’s 84th-minute equaliser. Then, in added time, Kalulu was penalised for handball in the box and Suárez condemned Coach Pioli’s men to a defeat.
Nevertheless, the Rossoneri played excellently, controlling things early on and then displaying the courage to resist whatever Atlético threw at them. The result is a damaging one and not what the team deserved. There are, however, many positive aspects to build on, and another big clash awaits against Atalanta in Bergamo at 20:45 CEST on Sunday. The Rossoneri must channel their frustration in the right way and, like tonight, show no fear.
CHECK OUT THE GALLERY OF AC MILAN V ATLÉTICO
The Rossoneri were completely in control in the first 20 minutes. Pioli’s side started full of confidence and were often able to get at the Atlético back line. In the 17th minute, Brahim broke free and fired towards goal from around 25 metres out but hit it too close to Oblak. Then came the big chance for Rebić. Díaz played the Croatian in behind but Oblak stood firm and produced a fine save. The Rossoneri took the lead from the ensuing corner; Brahim danced on the ball and fed Leão, who took it in well and rifled a low driven shot into the back of the net. Oblak had no chance; 1-0 to us after 20 minutes. However, the Rossoneri’s joy turned to ash in the 29th minute when referee Çakır showed Kessie a second yellow card. The team didn’t let up and came close to a second through Leão, whose acrobatic overhead kick cannoned against the crossbar. A guilt-edged chance fell the way of Luis Suárez as the first half drew to a close but the Uruguayan fired just wide.
The Rojiblancos were much more positive in the second half and tried to bottled AC Milan up inside their own half. In the 54th minute, Suárez rose above Calabria and Saelemaekers but headed just off target. Simeone sent on all of the forwards at his disposal and Pioli reacted by bringing Ballo-Touré and Giroud on for Leão and Brahim. Atleti were, by now, provided a near-constant threat and went close against through Lemar, who forced Maignan into action from long range (77’). After half an hour encamped in their own half, the Rossoneri got back on the front foot but Theo and Giroud failed to carve out a chance. Atlético got their equalizer in the 84th minute; Lodi headed across goal and Griezmann volleyed home. A minute later, AC Milan threatened as Florenzi’s volleyed shot flew just off target. The killing blow came in injury time; Çakır blew for handball in the box against Kalulu and Suárez converted the penalty. Full time.
AC MILAN 1-2 ATLÉTICO
AC MILAN (4-2-3-1): Maignan; Calabria, Tomori, Romagnoli, Hernández; Bennacer (81' Florenzi), Kessie; Saelemaekers (81' Kalulu), Díaz (57' Ballo-Touré), Leão (57' Giroud); Rebić (34' Tonali). Subs.: Jungdal, Tătărușanu; Gabbia; Maldini. Coach: Pioli.
ATLÉTICO MADRID (4-4-2): Oblak; Trippier (40' João Félix), Felipe, Giménez, Hermoso (46' Lodi); Llorente, Koke (61' Griezmann), Kongodbia (64' Lemar), Carrasco (46' de Paul); Suárez, Correa. Subs: Christian, Lecomte; Camus, Vrsaljko; Herrera; Cunha. Coach: Simeone.
Referee: Cüneyt Çakır (TUR)
Goal: 20' Leão (M), 84' Griezmann (A), 97' Suárez (A).
Booked: 15' Kessie (M), 29' Rebić (M), 60' Kongodbia (A), 69' Hernández (M), 79' Saelemaekers (M).
Sent off: 29' Kessie (M).
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