Olivier Giroud put in an accomplished display to take AC Milan into the Round of 16 after a massive victory over Red Bull Salzburg at San Siro.
AC Milan put Red Bull Salzburg to the sword with a massive victory at San Siro. The Rossoneri needed to avoid defeat to progress, while the visitors had no choice but to get three points on the last matchday. In the end, Milan secured qualifications with a terrific win by four goals.
Olivier Giroud proved his worth and brought his immense experience on the pitch. The French striker netted a brace and set up the other two goals to cap off a brilliant night at San Siro. The veteran forward opened the scoring with an early header that settled in the bottom corner.
We are AC Milan and we are here to stay! 🔴⚫💪#ACMSAL #UCL #SempreMilan pic.twitter.com/oXVXkFXcae
— AC Milan (@acmilan) November 2, 2022
That goal gave Milan the impetus in the second half after ending the first period in a rather nervy fashion. At half-time, the game was still open, and Red Bull Salzburg carried expectations to come back stronger. Giroud had different plans as his headed lay-off found Rade Krunic, who doubled the lead within 43 seconds of the restart.
Giroud then doubled his tally with a brilliant finish after good work from Rafael Leao to set the Frenchman. Junior Messias then came to the fore with a terrific solo goal in stoppage time to allow Milan to register a massive win over Red Bull Salzburg.
The result takes Milan into the knockout phases as they finish as group runners-up behind Chelsea. As for Red Bull Salzburg, they drop into the UEFA Europa League and will play in the Round of 32 next. The Hard Tackle now runs the rule over Stefano Pioli’s men.
Ciprian Tatarusanu: 7.5/10
Tatarusanu kept consecutive clean sheets in the competition and had to work hard to achieve it. He commanded the box well and made several decent saves along the way, which helped Milan keep the scores in their favour, particularly in the first half.
Ciprian Tatarusanu’s game by numbers vs. RB Salzburg:
84% pass accuracy
14 long balls completed
6 saves from close range
1 high claim
Complete goalkeeping. 🧤 pic.twitter.com/WTWjiPTFMW
— Statman Dave (@StatmanDave) November 2, 2022
Pierre Kalulu: 7/10
Kalulu is proving a good option at right-back, and this was yet another good game to project that. Defensively, he displayed calmness while giving his side a chance when in the final third. He was tireless on both ends and should continue without first-choice players.
Simon Kjaer: 6/10
Kjaer was average at best but showed great defensive awareness whenever called into action. His passing was good on the night, with the defender sending a few long hopeful ones along.
Fikayo Tomori: 8/10
A surprise inclusion ahead of Matteo Gabbia, Tomori put a magnificent display at the back. He needed a performance like this one following a terrible UEFA Champions League campaign. Tomori’s early block in the game probably set him up for a solid night at San Siro.
Theo Hernandez: 7/10
Another game that will help Hernandez boost his confidence. He looked more in his usual stride on the flank than before. The full-back bombed up and down the wing, causing plenty of problems for the Red Bull Salzburg defenders.
Ismael Bennacer: 8/10
Bennacer was instrumental in the win after a solid performance in midfield. Like Tomori at the back, Bennacer controlled the middle areas precisely. His work on the ball gave Milan momentum in keeping the play in forward areas, as he dictated the game’s tempo.
La storia di un club, la forza di un gruppo, la passione dei tifosi… dando vita ad un'atmosfera da brividi ❤️🖤
Grazie a tutti, voliamo agli ottavi di finale! 👊🏽 #ForzaMilan pic.twitter.com/8OFIPDLXOt
— Ismaël Bennacer (@IsmaelBennacer) November 2, 2022
Sandro Tonali: 6/10
There were plenty of ups and downs in Tonali’s display. He worked hard throughout but needed the usual composure to maintain consistency.
Ante Rebic: 6/10
Stefano Pioli took a different approach and afforded Rebic a start. His performance could have been better, as there were many ups and downs. He did end the evening with a sloppy assist, which was arguably crucial.
Rade Krunic: 7/10
Krunic took his goal well from a Giroud assist, and that strike proved crucial for AC Milan to set a solid second half. He was tactically sound and proved a menace to the Red Bull Salzburg defence with his movements.
Rafael Leao: 7/10
Leao, the player to watch in our preview, struggled to influence the proceedings despite being the terrific player he is. The problem was where he received balls, which needed to be in areas suitable for a winger to make much of it. He did weave his magic for the work he did for the third goal, which bumps his rating.
Olivier Giroud: 9/10
Olivier Giroud's game by numbers vs. Salzburg:
8 touches in the opp. box
5 duels won
4 aerial duels won
2 chances created
Sealed with a kiss. #UCL pic.twitter.com/pyILNFzgwr
— Squawka (@Squawka) November 2, 2022
Giroud was the man on the night with a brilliant performance that ended with two goals and as many assists. The experienced striker needed such an evening to boost his confidence and help AC Milan get into the next round of the Champions League.
Junior Messias: 6/10
Messias came on as a substitute but was anonymous until scoring a stunning solo goal in stoppage time.
Tommaso Pobega: 6/10
Pobega helped in keeping control of the midfield after coming on.
Charles De Ketelaere: 5/10
A near-anonymous performance from the attacking midfielder, who will continue to attract criticism for displays like this one.
Fode Ballo-Toure: 6/10
Ballo-Toure had a decent outing after coming on, making valuable runs down the left flank and providing support on both ends of the pitch.
Matteo Gabbia: N/A
Gabbia came on as a late substitute to shore up the defence.
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