AC Milan boosted their chances of qualification after a thorough thrashing of Dinamo Zagreb away from home.

After consecutive defeats to Chelsea home and away, AC Milan needed a serious result to bounce back and improve their chances of qualification into the knockout rounds. They did not harm those prospects after a thorough thrashing of Dinamo Zagreb on Matchday 5.

Four goals in the space of 20 minutes on either side of the break ensured Milan moved into the second spot in Group E. Chelsea beat Red Bull Salzburg earlier in the evening, which guaranteed their progression as group winners. Milan will seal their place in the Round of 16, should everything go their way on the final matchday.

Strikes from Matteo Gabbia, Rafael Leao and Olivier Giroud, and Robert Ljubicic’s own goal, ensured Milan collected three points. Stefano Pioli will be impressed by his side’s attacking intent in the game. However, there is no time to rest and relax, as Milan may have to win their final game to ensure qualification.

The win does put Milan’s season into perspective. Those defeats to Chelsea felt like they would have to do with Europa League football or nothing this season. However, Pioli’s men have a great chance to advance in the competition and probably stand a chance to go the distance, considering they have a favourable result on Matchday 6.

Ciprian Tatarusanu: 6/10

A fairly comfortable evening for AC Milan’s deputy goalkeeper, who did not have much to do all game barring a few moments. During those instances, Tatarusanu was comfortable taking on the danger and had full command over his box.

Pierre Kalulu: 7/10

Kalulu put in a solid shift at right-back and was excellent on both ends of the pitch. His decision-making throughout the game caught the eye and showed the awareness needed for a full-back.

Simon Kjaer: 7/10

AC Milan needed a leader, and Kjaer’s timely return gave them an example. The centre-back showed a calmness often missing this season in the Champions League. The Danish defender eased his way through stopping multiple threats and had good control over Dinamo strikers throughout the clash.

Matteo Gabbia: 8/10

It is always good to see defenders winning their duels, and Gabbia did just that. The presence of Kjaer as a partner kept things calm at the back, and the defender was Milan’s best player on the night. He began the proceedings with a well-taken goal in the first half.

Theo Hernandez: 6/10

Hernandez put in a decent shift from left-back, but most of his runs lacked the usual threat he offers. His display was good enough on both ends of the pitch, although Pioli would like to see more energy in his attacking elements.

Ismael Bennacer: 7/10

Bennacer did all the dirty work in midfield that allowed Milan to have much of the control. He was instrumental in the early periods when Dinamo began dominating a bit. It is safe to say this was one of his best displays in the current campaign.

Sandro Tonali: 7.5/10

A terrific night for Tonali, who was instrumental to everything positive Milan did in the final third. Apart from getting the assist for the Gabbia goal, he was brilliant with his deliveries from set pieces. Additionally, his run into the box won the penalty for Giroud to score.

Ante Rebic: 5.5/10

Rebic’s highlight would be that backheel for Tonali, eventually winning the penalty. Besides that, he was average as he continues to get the grips of the system after prolonged injury problems from last season.

Charles De Ketelaere: 5/10

Despite his ongoing struggle for form, Pioli continues to afford De Ketelaere regular starts. But the Belgian again found it difficult to get going while making many wrong decisions throughout the game. He certainly needs more time to settle in and adapt.

Rafael Leao: 7.5/10

Yet another solid display from the rising star of European football. Leao created the second goal on his own, and his work also resulted in the own goal. All in all, it was a terrific display from the forward.

Olivier Giroud: 6.5/10

A lacklustre first-half performance turned glossy with a spot-kick in the second period. Despite being offered many chances in the game, Giroud failed to take his chances, something he should be worried about.


Rade Krunic: 5/10

Krunic added something different after coming on but missed a sitter to extend Milan’s lead.

Fode Ballo-Toure: 5.5/10

Ballo-Toure added defensive solidity after coming on, and he will be pleased with his contribution to the game.

Tommaso Pobega: 5/10

Pobega added some steel in the midfield and saw a goal ruled out for offside.

Junior Messias: 5/10

With the floodgates open, Messias tried hard to get himself a goal but could not do so.

Divock Origi: N/A

Not involved enough to get a rating.

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