Serie A Match of the Week – Milan vs Roma


Milan-Roma had the most buzz approaching the round and ended up being a pretty entertaining game. Another candidate could have been Sassuolo-Genoa, but, even though it was extremely high scoring, it was one-sided after the Rossoblù first goal. On the other hand, the San Siro clash was up for grabs until literally the final second.

Milan approached the fixture trying to shake off a disappointing final half an hour in Naples, where they squandered a two-nothing lead. La Lupa garnered four points so far, thanks to a clutch Edin Dzeko goal against Torino and then a spirited comeback versus Atalanta, where they had allowed three goals.

Gennaro Gattuso had Hakan Calhanoglu back from suspension and started him in the trident replacing Fabio Borini, while Mateo Musacchio and Davide Calabria won the respective duels in the back despite some imperfections at San Paolo. Eusebio Di Francesco drastically changed his line-up compared to the previous game and opted for a 3-4-1-2 with Ivan Marcano in the back, Rick Karsdorp replacing the injured Alessandro Florenzi, Steven Nzonzi as pivot alongside Daniele De Rossi, Patrik Schick coupling up with Edin Dzeko and Javier Pastore in the hole.

The Rossoneri had a better start while the opponents were trying to figure out how to properly fit into the scheme and had troubles getting everything in order defensively. Calabria had the first good chance on an Hakan Calhanoglu feed on the right side of the box thanks to a poorly executed offside trap, but badly skied it. Few minutes later, Gonzalo Higuain’s effort from the edge of the box and Suso’s long-range attempt were parried away by Robin Olsen. The only chance for the guests in the first half was an easily tameable header by Schick.

The Devil deservedly went up in the score with five minutes to go, as Giacomo Bonaventura sprung Ricardo Rodriguez on the left flank, who easily run around Federico Fazio and sent in a square ball that Franck Kessie buried on the far post.

Di Francesco tried to remedy at half time by inserting Stephan El Shaarawy for Marcano and moving to a more familiar 4-2-3-1. They tied the game just before the one hour-mark on a rather random action, as, on a corner kick, a Gianluigi Donnarumma’s punch and a short clearance by Calabria led to Fazio having the freedom to volley the ball into the net for favourable position.

A little later, Gonzalo Higuain found his first goal with his new team on a great through ball by Bonaventura, but it was called back because he was slightly offside. Roma had a score disallowed by VAR as well, as Nzonzi committed a handball before putting it past Donnarumma on a corner kick. Set pieces aside, Roma never really got it going offensively, while Milan looked sprier and Diego Laxalt and Samu Castillejo provided a spark off the bench.

In the final minute, Nzonzi misplaced a pass in own final third, Calabria pickpocketed it and slid it centrally to Higuain, who then perfectly picked out Patrick Cutrone, who shook free in the box and finished with aplomb, ending the game on a red-and-black jubilation.

In the fantasy game, Cutrone and Kessie brought home four points, Rodriguez and Higuain two for their assists, while Fazio got three.

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