Most of the fixtures were lopsided in the weekend, but Udinese-Milan, albeit decided by a single goal, was intense and certainly a ton of fun. The Bianconeri were coming off a 2-2 tie against Genoa on the road, which gave Julio Velazquez some breathing room after four losses in a row. The Devil prevailed in the midweek make-up game against the Griffon and therefore racked up four wins in the past five games.
The Argentinian coach tinkered with his system, using Ignacio Pussetto as trequartista, giving Hidde Ter Avest his first start on the flank and deploying Rodrigo De Paul in the midfield over a more defensive option. Gennaro Gattuso does not have much to work with these days because of the injuries to Lucas Biglia, Giacomo Bonaventura, Hakan Calhanoglu, Davide Calabria and Mattia Caldara. The manager confirmed the 4-4-2 he closed the last match with, featuring Suso and Diego Laxalt as wingers, Franck Kessie and Tiemoué Bakayoko in the midfield and picked Christian Zapata over Mateo Musacchio in the back. They also lost Gonzalo Higuain in the first half, as he subbed off after being kneed in the back and was replaced by Samuel Castillejo.
Suso was the protagonist of most of the Rossoneri chances and in the early going he managed to shake a pair of defenders, but his curled attempt went wide. Udinese almost opened the score when Samir connected with a cutting Kevin Lasagna in the box, but his half volley went past the first post. Just before half time, Laxalt sprung Patrick Cutrone loose on a counter, but Juan Musso brilliantly parried away his cross-shot.
The goalkeeper had an encore early in the second half on a very dangerous attempt from distance by Castillejo. After about an hour of play, the Spaniard charged down the left flank and perfectly set up Suso with a square ball near the penalty spot, but the wide-open no.8 incredibly skied it. Lasagna again escaped the defenders in the box, but Gianluigi Donnarumma intervened with his legs on his effort from angled position. Ignacio Pussetto had a pair of good attempts as well, but he could not put it on goal.
In the final portion of the game, Velazquez inserted Bram Nuytinck and Andrija Balic for a more defensive look, but in the stoppage time the centre-back received a straight red card for stopping a fast-break by blatantly tripping an opponent. This extended the game and it proved to be extremely costly for the home game. Two minutes later Nicholas Opoku lost the ball in the final third, Milan outnumbered the opponents in the subsequent action manufactured by Castillejo and Cutrone and Suso and Alessio Romagnoli had the time to pass the ball to each other a couple of times in the box before the centre-back smashed it past Musso.
Milan kept a clean sheet for the first time this season and this gave five bonus points to the defenders, even though most of them were also booked, two to the defenders and seven to Donnarumma. Suso added two more because of yet another assist. No points for any Udinese player.
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