Udinese bounced back from a ten-game winless start to the new Serie A campaign with a shock 1-0 win over Milan at the San Siro. Gabriele Cioffi’s side stunned the Scudetto-bidding Rossoneri in their backyard, pouring more pressure on Stefano Pioli’s back.
Despite lacking a large chunk of first-team players, there was no excuse for another underwhelming performance from Milan. Udinese’s visit to Lombardy was seemingly a perfect chance for Pioli’s troops to recover from back-to-back league games without winning. However, the visitors managed to upset the apple cart with a spirited showing.
Referee Lucca Sacchi penalized Yacine Adli for a clumsy challenge on Fest Ebosele, with Roberto Pereyra sending Mike Maignan the wrong way to inspire Udinese to a stellar win at Milan. Pioli’s charges had over half an hour to get back into the match, but Marco Silvestri stood firm between the sticks to deepen Rossoneri’s crisis.
Let’s look at the best and worst performers of the game.
Dealing with Rafael Leao in one-on-one situations is perhaps the sternest test in Serie A, but Ebosele passed it with flying colors. In addition to winning multiple duels against the Milan No10, he had enough gas left in the tank to venture forward and make the Rossoneri backline sweat.
Despite being left on an island, he drew a penalty to send Roberto Pereyra to the spot.
Milan failed to test him properly in the first half but still made him pull off two diving saves to deny long-range attempts from Davide Calabria and Yunus Musah. However, his role in Udinese’s first league win of the season was crucial, as he thwarted Olivier Giroud’s close-range header with a superb stop.
Moments later, he fended off Alessandro Florenzi’s thunderous shot with another stunning save.
Despite failing to get on the scoresheet, Success’ contribution was paramount. His speed and strength often made Malick Thiaw and Florenzi look silly as he drew countless fouls and frequently helped Udinese retain possession by dropping back to assist in the build-up play.
Pioli may need to consider benching Jovic for good. Though a sizeable injury list forced the Milan manager to change formation again, the Serbian doesn’t fit the bill. In addition to being reduced to a marginal figure inside the Udinese box, his influence on the game was non-existent.
Adli came on at the start of the second half to replace Rade Krunic, who had a yellow card. But while the Bosnian had a rough first half, his successor fared even worse. It took the Frenchman less than 15 minutes on the field to give away a cheap penalty and lock Milan out of this fixture.
If you want to be treated as a superstar, you must act like one. Leao might have failed to grasp the concept as he let his ego get the better of him tonight. Without Theo Hernandez behind, the former Serie A MVP couldn’t do anything noteworthy despite enjoying more ball than any other player on the pitch.
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