AC Milan ceded ground in the Serie A title race following a stunning 2-1 loss away to Torino on Sunday.
The longest active unbeaten streak away from home in the top five European leagues came to an end on Sunday when defending champions AC Milan lost to Torino.
Stefano Pioli’s men went into the game trailing early league leaders Napoli by six points. Any hope they had of closing the deficit was dealt a major blow as a quickfire double saw Torino head into the break firmly in the driving seat.
To concede two against a Torino side that had scored the same number of goals in their last seven games put together appeared to catch Milan off guard. While they tried to respond in kind, Stefano Pioli’s men lacked the cutting edge and dynamism in the final third.
This is represented by the fact that Milan had just one shot on target all game. An in-form Junior Messias pulled one back for the visitors in the 67th minute, but it turned out to be a mere consolation. The Rossoneri were unable to cause many more problems as Torino successfully saw out the game.
17 – AC Milan have lost a Serie A away game after 17 away matches without a single defeat (W12 D5), stopping the longest open run in the Big-5 European Leagues. Lacklustre.#SerieATIM #TorinoMilan pic.twitter.com/hO7iDZY4i2
— OptaPaolo 🏆 (@OptaPaolo) October 30, 2022
Whether they had an eye on the upcoming UEFA Champions League decider against Red Bull Salzburg or not, Milan had every reason to be upset with their performance on the night. A lot will now ride on their ability to bounce back on Wednesday night. The Hard Tackle looks at how the Milan players fared on the night.
Ciprian Tatarusanu: 5/10
The Milan stand-in goalkeeper could have done better for Torino’s second goal, but the very fact that Aleksei Miranchuk got where he did was because of a collective failure. Tatarasanu, however, failed to inspire confidence and was shaky all game. The lack of confidence also spread to the defence, and the whole backline was far from secure.
Pierre Kalulu: 4/10
It was a poor outing for the right-back, who struggled to keep up with Nikola Vlasic. Kalulu failed to pick up the Croat’s run for the second goal and also earned himself a yellow after bringing Vlasic down. It came as no surprise that Pioli pulled Kalulu for Sergino Dest at half-time.
We can’t keep playing Kalulu RB because when we do, our CB duo becomes average.
— Grego 🇧🇪 (@Grego_1899) October 30, 2022
Matteo Gabbia: 5/10
The Milan centre-back was partly responsible for both goals and failed to come to terms with Torino’s movement in the first half. He improved as the game went on, but the damage was already done.
Fikayo Tomori: 5/10
Restored to the starting XI after serving his suspension in the UEFA Champions League, Tomori showed that he was better off left out. He struggled with his defensive positioning and surprisingly also with the ball at his feet. If he is serious about making the England squad, this kind of performance will not fly.
Theo Hernandez: 4/10
It was an exceptionally poor performance by his standards. Hernandez struggled to get going all night and did not link up with Rafael Leao to overload the flank. His usual impetus in the final third was also shelved for the night in a thoroughly underwhelming performance.
Sandro Tonali: 5/10
There was no shortage of effort from the Italian, and he did his best. Unfortunately, it was not enough as Milan failed to secure a foothold in the middle of the park. Tonali was taken off for Ismael Bennacer in the 70th minute as Pioli’s side pulled a goal back.
Tommaso Pobega: 3/10
The 23-year-old was poor on and off the ball. His rash decisions nearly cost Milan dear, and he can consider himself lucky to not be sent off for several yellow card-worthy challenges. Just how he saw out the game and Tonali did not is a surprise.
Junior Messias: 6/10
The Brazilian was pretty average on the night but still came out as Milan’s best performer in the game. He made several mistakes but also contributed to the other end with a couple of good passes. Messias took full advantage of the indecisiveness in the Torino defence to score a goal that the visitors barely deserved. He was taken off for Oliver Giroud as Pioli sought a leveller.
Junior Messias takes advatange of a Torino mistake and Milan have life! 👀 pic.twitter.com/i2aniwUMmx
— CBS Sports Golazo ⚽️ (@CBSSportsGolazo) October 30, 2022
Brahim Diaz: 3/10
The Spaniard was anonymous on the night and might as well have been celebrating Halloween pretending to be a footballer. He lacked any sort of impact all game and was promptly taken off for Charles De Ketelaere at half-time.
Rafael Leao: 3/10
The reigning Serie A MVP missed two absolute sitters and did not have his cutting edge. Leao struggled to make an impact and grew frustrated as the game went on. His decision making in particular was atrocious and ended up with him getting pulled at half-time.
Divock Origi: 5/10
The Belgian striker started the game off well and was a lively presence up front. However, Origi faded into obscurity as service dried up, and Torino took the initiative.
Sergino Dest: 5/10
Dest fared better against Vlasic but never quite dominated his flank. Still a marked improvement on Kalulu.
Charles De Ketelaere: 5/10
The Belgian made a few promising dribbles but was otherwise silent.
Ante Rebic: 4/10
The Croatian attacker has a good record against Torino but failed to channel it on the night. It was a poor cameo off the bench that did Leao or Milan no favours.
Ismael Bennacer: 6/10
It was a decent cameo by the midfielder as he sought to bring some semblance of control to the chaos in midfield. Despite Pobega being next to him, Bennacer did his best in what was certainly a trying situation.
Oliver Giroud: N/A
The French veteran had little time to make an impact. The absolute lack of any service only compounded his misery.