It’s been a perfect week for AC Milan, who now sit top of the table following today’s 1-0 victory over Sampdoria. After the win in the Derby and progressing to the semi-finals of the Coppa Italia, the Rossoneri recorded another San Siro success thanks to Leão’s early goal. The Portuguese’s finish undoubtedly made things easier for the Diavolo, who, however, failed to definitively put the game to bed despite dominating proceedings. It was a deserved win for Coach Pioli’s side, who came close to doubling their advantage on numerous occasions and were never put under any real pressure. It was a performance of real substance.
Leão’s goal was his tenth of the season and his second in consecutive games. It was a brilliant piece of play, too, and came about thanks to Maignan’s fantastic assist. The Rossoneri are enjoying a great spell and are full of confidence, with the table looking particularly good at this current time. Indeed, after matchday 25 in Serie A, the Diavolo are in first place on 55 points, one ahead of Inter (who, however, have a game in hand) and two in front of Napoli (same number of games played). A fantastic early afternoon treat, then, as the team start to look ahead to their next league fixture: at 20:45 CET on Saturday 19 February, they’ll take on Salernitana in Salerno.
CHECK OUT THE GALLERY FROM AC MILAN v SAMPDORIA
Tomori returned to the starting line-up, Florenzi kept his position at left-back, while Bennacer and Messias were again named in the team. AC Milan started in the best way possible. Eight minutes in and the Rossoneri had the lead through Leão, who left Bereszyński in his wake and coolly slotted it into the bottom corner. Credit has to go to assist-provider Mike Maignan for an inch-perfect long ball. The goal gave way to a long period of possession but very few chances as Sampdoria dropped deep and the Rossoneri struggled to carve their way through the packed defence. It was a stop-start game but a flurry of opportunities fell the way of AC Milan as the half wound to a close: in the 42nd minute, Giroud fired off target before Messias' wicked attempt forced a good save from Falcone (44').
Messias was in the thick of the action again just after the break; Tonali played in the Brazilian, who sent his shot just past the post. The Diavolo pressed on and, in the 48th minute, Leão burst clear but couldn't get the ball out from under his feet in the box. Two minutes later, Giroud couldn't direct Calabria's cross on target. The Blucerchiati finally produced a chance in the 51st minute but Maignan denied Candreva. Pioli made a triple substitution as he sent on Saelemaekers, Rebić and Kessie. Ante started quickly, seeing his shot blocked in the 60th minute before crossing the ball into Giroud, who drew a save from the goalkeeper with a spectacular overhead kick. The Frenchman then tested Falcone's reflexes again with a header after latching onto Bennacer's ball in. From the ensuing corner, Kessie's header was blocked by Samp's number 33. A double chance fell to Rebić: he fired wide in the 80th minute before being denied from close range a minute later. The last ten minutes went by without any real action: full time.
AC MILAN 1-0 SAMPDORIA
AC MILAN (4-2-3-1): Maignan; Calabria, Tomori, Romagnoli, Florenzi (89' Kalulu); Bennacer (75' Krunić), Tonali; Messias (57' Saelemaekers), Díaz (57' Kessie), Leão (57' Rebić); Giroud. Subs: Mirante, Tătăruşanu; Ballo-Touré; Bakayoko, Castillejo; Maldini. Coach: Pioli.
SAMPDORIA (3-5-1-1): Falcone; Bereszyński, Magnani, Colley; Conti (53' Vieira), Candreva (85' Sabiri), Rincón (73' Quagliarella), Thorsby (53' Ekdal), Murru (53' Augello); Sensi; Caputo. Subs: Audero, Ravaglia; Bonfanti, Ferrari; Trimboli; Supriaha. Coach: Giampaolo.
Referee: Chiffi from Padua.
Goals: 8' Leão (M).
Booked: 10' Rincón (S), 19' Díaz (M), 60' Bennacer (M).
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