AC Milan suffered a rather costly defeat to FC Porto, which puts their hopes of qualifying into the next round of the UEFA Champions League in doubt.
A third consecutive loss in this UEFA Champions League group stage has cast huge doubts over AC Milan’s progression into the next round of the competition. The Rossoneri fell prey to a Luis Diaz strike this time, which secured three points for FC Porto.
Atletico Madrid’s loss certainly increased Liverpool’s stronghold at the top of the group while opening up the race for second place. Porto’s win boosts their chances, and the Portuguese giants will be hoping they take this performance to San Siro in the next matchday.
Milan had a lacklustre evening, as the players failed to turn up on a night they desperately needed a victory. Only Simon Kjaer and probably Ismael Bennacer produced some promise, as the rest of the team faltered in their bid to take themselves off the foot of the group.
Milan’s attackers, in particular, were lacking in their display and gave their side little chance in the game. Porto held their own against Stefano Pioli’s men to secure the first victory of their Champions League campaign. Milan now have a mountain to climb, while Porto have given themselves a slim chance of progressing. Here’s how Milan’s players fared in their loss to Porto.
Ciprian Tatarusanu: 4.5/10
Milan are missing Mike Maignan as Tatarusanu showed his below-par quality again. Not that he could have done much about the strike by Luis Diaz, although his uncanny distribution could have helped matters.
Davide Calabria: 4/10
Calabria might have had decent performances in recent weeks, but Diaz shredded him to pieces in this game. The Italian defender’s lack of pace against the Colombian was evident. The game’s deciding goal came from the player he was supposed to be marking all evening long.
Simon Kjaer: 7/10
A top-class performance from the centre-back, who showed his leadership qualities all through the game. He kept getting angry at his teammates for their consistently sloppy displays. Sometimes it felt he was the only one who wanted to win the game, as his teammates barely helped him in critical situations.
Fikayo Tomori: 5/0
Barring one crucial block, there was not much to Tomori’s game to comment about. A yellow card in the first half ensured he was walking the tightrope for much of the game, wherein he failed to offer anything of substance.
Fode Ballo-Toure: 5/10
Milan are certainly missing the flair and output of Theo Hernandez as Ballo-Toure had yet another below-par game from left-back. Credit to him for improving on previous performances, although it remains much below what is expected. Overall, Ballo-Toure is yet to prove he fits into Milan’s system.
Ismael Bennacer: 6.5/10
Bennacer was the only player other than Kjaer who stood out in the match. He was everywhere, trying to create chances for the forward players. His performance deserved a better fate than what transpired. He should have had a free-kick before Porto’s eventual winner.
Sandro Tonali: 5.5/10
Toni’s performance outlined a typical problem that has been brewing in this Milan side. While the midfielders were working hard to make something happen, the reaction from Milan’s attackers to his balls was virtually invisible.
Alexis Saelemaekers: 5/10
Saelekaekers’s talent cannot be questioned, but he has been enduring a dip in form in the last few games. Here too, he ran a lot, working hard for the team but created far less than anticipated.
Rade Krunic: 5/10
Krunic has shown comfort while on the ball, but the number of times he loses possession only hurts the team. Moreover, he needs to work hard on his end product and show the manager he could become a viable option when Brahim Diaz is unavailable.
Rafael Leao: 5/10
Leao has to be more consistent in his displays. During this game, he was quiet for most parts but produced a telling cross for Giroud, who decided to pass it instead of going for goal. Otherwise, he was contained well by the Porto backline.
Olivier Giroud: 5/10
Giroud was very ineffective in the game for most parts, and when the cross, as mentioned earlier, came from Leao, he failed to take advantage. His hold-up play was terrible on the night, as he kept losing the ball often. He was rightly subbed off early in the game.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic: 5/10
Ibrahimovic came on for Giroud and did not change anything in the game. We had tipped him to be the star of the game, but like the Frenchman, the veteran striker could not affect the game positively.
Alessio Romagnoli: 5/10
Romagnoli was sent in to stabilise things at the back and prevented another late goal from being scored. However, due to the less time on the pitch, there was hardly any play for him.
Pierre Kalulu: 4/10
Kalulu replaced Ballo-Toure, and it looked like an odd decision from the manager. Strange because Kalulu failed to offer anything important to the side, something Ballo Toure was at least trying to do. He almost conceded a penalty after coming on, which could have compounded the decision to introduce him.
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