Milan will head into next week’s return leg of their Europa League quarter-final tie against Roma with a mountain to climb after a 1-0 home loss. Stefano Pioli’s side seemed up the creek without a paddle at the Stadio San Siro despite winning seven consecutive games in the lead-up to this meeting. 

Roma got off to a better start and deservedly took the lead in the 17th minute. Gianluca Mancini outjumped his marker to head home Paulo Dybala’s inviting corner-kick delivery, putting Daniele De Rossi’s men in front. 

Milan assumed control of possession after falling behind but couldn’t find a way past Roma’s well-positioned backline. The closest they came to avoiding defeat was in the 87th minute. Olivier Giroud slammed the ball off the woodwork from point-blank range after Samuel Chukwueze’s cutback.

In addition to surrendering an eye-catching nine-game unbeaten run against Roma, Milan suffered their first home loss against Giallorossi since May 2017. 

But it’s not all lost for Rossoneri yet. Given their free-scoring form before tonight, Pioli’s lads are more than capable of overturning a narrow deficit. It won’t be straightforward at the Stadio Olimpico, though Milan have the quality to make a comeback as we look at our player ratings. 

Milan (4-2-3-1)

Mike Maignan – 6

Other than the goal, the French goalkeeper had little to do. 

Davide Calabria – 6

Though he didn’t enter the game well, he recovered to put a traditionally solid defensive performance. Nowhere to be seen in attack as always.

Matteo Gabbia – 3.5

In addition to nearly scoring an own goal midway through the first half, the Italian center-back lost almost every aerial duel against Romelu Lukaku.

Malick Thiaw – 6.5

Next to Gabbia, he looked like a seasoned campaigner. Fared much better against Lukaku and looked calm and composed when asked to help in the build-up play. 

Theo Hernandez – 6.5

After a relatively sluggish start to the game, the star left-back grew into the contest, showcasing flashes of his blistering pace and tenacity, especially in the second half. 

Ismael Bennacer – 5.5

Despite enjoying more possession than any other Milan player, the Algerian often looked clueless, with none of his attempted through balls finding their targets.

Tijjani Reijnders – 6.5

The Dutchman had far more energy than Bennacer, making several progressive runs down the middle, though his lackadaisical approach at times let him down. 

Ruben Loftus-Cheek – 5

He was Milan’s most decisive player against Rennes and Slavia Prague, but he was virtually invisible tonight.

Christian Pulisic – 5.5

It was an atypically quiet night for one of Milan’s best performers this season.

Rafael Leao – 4.5

It was a first half to forget for the quicksilver forward. Despite showing slight improvement after the break, he was far from his best this evening. 

Olivier Giroud – 5.5

The veteran came close to leveling the score, only to see Lukaku clear his close-range header off the line. Had an unfathomable late miss to salvage a draw. 

Substitutes

Yacine Adli – 7.5

Samuel Chukwueze – 7

Noah Okafor – 5.5

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By admin

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