Roma v AC Milan is a fixture with great tradition in Serie A and the hallowed turf of the Olimpico has often borne witness to pleasant memories for the Rossoneri: for example, the 0-0 draw on 7 May 2011 that mathematically confirmed AC Milan's 18th Scudetto. A few months later, AC Milan stunned the Olimpico with a 3-2 win thanks to goals from Ibrahimović and Nesta. What followed, however, was a period of almost seven years without an away win against the Giallorossi. Victory finally came on 25 February 2018, which we are going to review today.
SETTING THE SCENE
The 2017/18 season saw a changearound at the helm from Vincenzo Montella to Gennaro Gattuso. After a difficult start - with four points from four games - Ringhio's AC Milan began to settle with the start of the girone di ritorno. A splendid run of form with 16 points taken in six games launched hopes of a Champions League finish, with Lazio and Inter also in the running. The match against Eusebio di Francesco's Roma - the first season without Totti - offered the chance to go toe-to-toe with a rival of the same standard, who almost reached the Champions League final that season.
The Rossoneri went with the - by then - usual 4-3-3, with Kessie returning to the heart of midfield and the in-form Patrick Cutrone up top. The Como native was decisive in the matches against Lazio and SPAL and cemented his place in the team ahead of Kalinić and André Silva. The Giallorossi controlled the first half but AC Milan remained alert and well set-up, so much so that Donnarumma was only called into action on a couple of occasions by Ünder and Perotti. The tune changed after the break and the Rossoneri took the lead through Cutrone; Suso cut inside and looked for the Como-born striker, who got there ahead of Manolas and slotted past Alisson to hand the Rossoneri a 1-0 lead.
The goal totally changed what had been, until that point, a very even match as Roma were forced to throw men forward. Romagnoli and Donnarumma thwarted Schick's efforts with aplomb, while Gattuso sent on Kalinić to slow the game down. The Croatian, who had come on for Cutrone, went close to doubling the Rossoneri's lead, forcing Alisson into a great save. Gattuso's side did get a second in the 74th minute. It was, for a few reasons, a historic goal, given that it was the first in professional football for AC Milan youth product Davide Calabria. The Rossoneri's number 2 brought it forward down the right-had side, combined with Kalinić and then lifted it over the onrushing Alisson into the back of the net. The 2-0 lead ended the match as a contest and saw the continuation of the Rossoneri's red-hot form in that stage of the season.
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