europa-league17 September 2020


AC Milan through to the third round of Europa League qualification

AC Milan get back underway with goals from Ibra and Çalhanoğlu: at Dublin's Tallaght Stadium, the Rossoneri triumphed 2-0 over Shamrock Rovers, thereby securing their progression to the third round of qualification in the Europa League. As mentioned, the decisive goals were scored by Zlatan Ibrahimović in the 23rd minute, AC Milan's first official goal of the season, and Hakan in the 67th minute. It was a solid performance from the Rossoneri in their first competitive game of the season. The game was even in the first quarter of an hour but the quality and intensity of Pioli's side came to the fore as the half wore on, affording very few chances to the Irishmen. Time and time again, the Rossoneri found spaces, in which to operate and create chances. A fair few early opportunities were spurned but there were generally very good signs in a tough away match. So, we've conquered our first hurdle in our European journey and there was more cause for celebration as both Sandro Tonali and Brahim Díaz came on to make their AC Milan debuts. The Rossoneri face Norwegian side Bodø/Glimt in the next round of qualifying, after they beat Žalgiris Vilnius 3-1. Before that, however, the Diavolo begins its Serie A campaign with a home game against Bologna on Monday (20:45 CEST).


The first save of the evening was made by Gigio as he got down quickly to deny striker Aaron Greene (14'). AC Milan first threatened in the 17th minute; Saelemaekers laid it off to Hernández, whose shot was blocked. It was only a matter of minutes before AC Milan got themselves in front though; Zlatan received the ball from Çalhanoğlu inside the box and unleashed a powerful strike to make it 1-0 (23') - the Rossoneri's first official goal of the season. In the 25th minute, Castillejo missed a golden opportunity to double the Rossoneri's lead; Ibrahimović played him in with a beautiful ball and it looked certain the Spaniard would score, but Aaron McEneff scrambled back to clear the shot off the line. Donnarumma was alert once again on the half-hour mark as he denied Greene, who took the shot on from a tight angle when perhaps he could have squared it to a teammate. AC Milan continued to create chances; this time it was Theo, who in 34th minute attempted a difficult volley from Ibra's cross but, unfortunately for the Frenchman, Lopes cleared Rovers' lines. Two minutes later, Ibra and Hakan combined again; Zlatan headed down to the Turk, whose shot on the half volley flew over the bar. Ibrahimović had another go on the stroke of half time after some fantastic work down the left by Theo, but it went over the crossbar. It was more of the same after the break; Çalhanoğlu turned and shot but hit the crossbar, before Calabria called Rovers goalkeeper Mannus into action (53'). The Rossoneri got their much-deserved second in the 67th minute; Saelemaekers' assist to Çalhanoğlu, whose precise shot from the edge of the penalty area left Mannus with no chance. The duel between Greene and Donnarumma continued as the clock hit 70 minutes; Gigio made another fine save to deny the Hoops' number 9. As the game wound to a close, new signings Díaz and Tonali entered the fray for their official debuts with AC Milan.


Shamrock Rovers (3-4-2-1): Mannus;  O'Brien, Lopes, Grace; Finn, McEneff, O'Neill (70' Watts), Farrugia (83' Kavanagh); Byrne, Burke; Greene (87' Williams). Subs.: Pohls; Marshall, Callan, Oluwa. Coach: Bradley

AC Milan (4-2-3-1): Donnarumma G.; Calabria, Kjær, Gabbia, Hernández; Kessie, Bennacer (84' Tonali); Castillejo, Çalhanoğlu (84' Díaz), Saelemaekers (74' Krunić); Ibrahimović. Subs.: Tătărușanu; Duarte, Laxalt; Colombo. Coach: Pioli

Referee: Farkas (Hungary)
Goal: 23' Ibrahimović (M), 67' Çalhanoğlu (M)
Booked: 51' Grace (S)

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