Goals from Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Junior Messias saw AC Milan snap their two-game Serie A losing streak against Genoa.
Serie A giants AC Milan brought their two-game losing streak in the Italian top flight to an emphatic end by winning 3-0 away to Genoa.
Goals from Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Junior Messias saw the Rossoneri come out as comfortable winners. The three points also see them keep pace with Napoli in the Scudetto title race.
Milan went into the game in the third spot in Serie A following arch-rivals Inter Milan’s win over Spezia. Thankfully Stefano Pioli’s side stuck to the task at hand and regained their second spot. In another positive for Milan, Serie A trendsetters Napoli dropped points against Sassuolo to cede ground at the top of the table. The Rossoneri are now just one point behind the league leaders with plenty of games to go.
Milan, however, will be hoping that the knee injury sustained by Simon Kjaer is not too serious. The Dane was stretched off after just three minutes, and his absence could be telling in the games to come. While it is too early to say if Milan are genuine title challengers, snapping the losing streak will do them a world of confidence. The Hard Tackle takes a look at how the Milan players fared on the night.
Mike Maignan (7/10)
Portanova tries to lob @mmseize from a long way out. Our shot-stopper gets back to push the ball over the bar! ?#GenoaMilan 0-3 #SempreMilan pic.twitter.com/wYvBfNM8o9
— AC Milan (@acmilan) December 1, 2021
Milan will be glad to have their number one back in goal, and the difference was visible. The Frenchman was called into action twice and, on both occasions, came out trumps. This solidity at the back was all the more pronounced, given Milan lost Kjaer early on to injury. Having a reliable last line of defence can make a difference on the field, and it showed.
Pierre Kalulu (7/10)
The French ace was an excellent presence on the right flank and caused Genoa numerous problems. Kalulu was shifted into a centre-back role in the second half and continued to perform with distinction.
Simon Kjaer (N/A)
The Danish ace was stretched off after just five minutes. His injury looked quite bad, and Milan will hope he recovers soon.
Fikayo Tomori (7/10):
The youngster coped well in the absence of Kjaer and played a key role in Milan keeping a clean sheet. He made excellent use of his pace, using it to great effect to win numerous duels. Milan look like a better team in defence, with both Tomori and Maignan back in the ranks.
Theo Hernandez (7/10)
The French international improved upon his patchy performance against Sassuolo and played a large role in the win. He was involved in the buildup to the third goal and was generally reliable all game. Hernandez can consider himself unfortunate not to have scored late on.
Sandro Tonali (6/10)
The Italian star returned to the starting lineup after being dropped to the bench against Sassuolo. While he did not particularly stand out, Tonali did enough to see off what was, in all honestly, a rather sub-par Genoa midfield.
Franck Kessie (6/10)
He proved to be the right foil for Tonali as the duo coasted through the game. Kessie did the bare minimum, but it was enough given the quality of the opposition. The Ivory Coast international must roll up his socks and improve to reach the levels he showcased last season.
Junior Messias (9/10)
A stellar performance embellished by his first 2 Rossoneri league goals. Tonight's heatmap is dedicated to Messias ⭐
Dominio sulla fascia e primi 2 gol in campionato con la maglia rossonera: la Heat Map questa sera è dedicata a Junior ⭐#GenoaMilan #SempreMilan@gruppo_a2a pic.twitter.com/Sqog8ZTX8C
— AC Milan (@acmilan) December 1, 2021
Alexis Saelemaekers will need to watch behind his back for the Brazilian star. The Belgian’s poor run of form coincides with Messias finding his feet at the San Siro. The 30-year-old scored his first goal for Milan in their 1-0 win over Atletico Madrid last week. He has now broken his Serie A duck, grabbing two on the night. It was a performance mixed with initiative and imagination. Messias could turn out to be Milan’s trump card this season.
Brahim Diaz (6/10)
Diaz looked much better on the night and even made a few darting runs into the opposition box. He showed exquisite touch and awareness to assist Messias’ second of the night. The youngster was far from his best but showed enough to suggest he could turn around his fortunes.
Rade Krunic (6/10)
A key cog in the Milan tactical setup, he makes the whole team play better as a unit. Krunic was involved in both of Messias’ goals on the night. A system player, he could prove to be a key cog for Milan when the setup needs to change.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic (7/10)
It was a much-improved performance by the veteran striker. The Swede opened the scoring on the night with a well-taken freekick and was a constant thorn in the side for the Genoa defence all night.
31 – Zlatan Ibrahimovic has equaled Silvio Piola as the best scorer in the #SerieA history counting only the goals scored after turning 38y (31 goals). Wine.#GenoaMilan
— OptaPaolo ? (@OptaPaolo) December 1, 2021
Matteo Gabbia (6/10)
He replaced the injured Kjaer and did well at the back. He was curiously replaced at halftime; perhaps as a precaution given the booking he picked up.
Alessandro Florenzi (6/10)
The Italian was unspectacular but solid on the night. He helped the visitors see out the game on the night.
Pietro Pellegri (6/10)
An industrious performance, he pressed when needed and did his part.
Alexis Saelemaekers (N/A)
The Belgian was not on the pitch long enough to warrant a rating.
Tiemoue Bakayoko (N/A)
Another player who didn’t play enough to get a rating.
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