There was not really any proper cracker in this round, so let’s go with the most influential clash, Milan-Lazio, which had very heavy points on the line, as the two sides are right in the middle of the battle to secure a Champions League berth.
Both sides were looking to bounce back after unsatisfactory results, as the Rossoneri had not won in four rounds in a row, the Biancocelesti in the last two, which were quite feasible against SPAL and Sassuolo.
Coach Gennaro Gattuso trotted out the same XI used in the previous match, so with Fabio Borini completing the trident next to Suso and Krzysztof Piatek and Hakan Calhanoglu in the midfield. Pepe Reina filled in for the injured Gianluigi Donnarumma. Simone Inzaghi had to renounce to Stefan Radu and Adam Marusic due to injuries and replaced them with Bastos and Romulo, while Luiz Felipe beat out the competition to play as right centre-back. Marco Parolo was again benched to make room for all their technical players.
The Eagles came out guns blazing and Joaquin Correa right away set up Ciro Immobile in the box, who tried to surprise goalkeeper with a daisy-cutter on the near post, but Reina denied him with a great diving save. Luis Alberto challenged him from distance, but he again answered, then Immobile managed to tee up Correa at the edge of the six-yard box with a flying touch from the base line, but the onrushing Argentinian attacker skied it as he was being obstructed by Davide Calabria.
The Devil started to threaten the goal around the 30-minute mark with shots by Franck Kessie and Suso, one easily cradled by Thomas Strakosha and the other a little the bar. A minute later, Calabria found Piatek with a deep cross, but the striker put his header on the wrong side of the post.
Both teams had major chances before the end of the first half: Strakosha barely tipped a long-range strike by Calhanoglu, while Immobile hit the woodwork from angled position after wiggling free in the box.
After 60 minutes, Pepe Reina put his hands on a Romulo’s cross-shot, then Cristian Zapata tried to set up Piatek after an amazing incursion, but his pass was a little off the mark and Strakosha managed to close up the space coming out of the goal.
After a penalty for Milan was called back by a VAR review, they did get it at 77th minutes when Riza Durmisi run into Mateo Musacchio in the box. Kessie put the goalie on side and the ball on the other, giving his team the lead.
The guests could not really muster a reaction and Suso had actually the best chance in the remaining minutes, but Strakosha palmed it away with a stunning save. Lazio clamored for a penalty in the stoppage time for a tackle by Cristian Rodriguez on Sergej Milinkovic-Savic, but the images are inconclusive on whether the Serbia could have still kicked the ball after the defender grazed it and before being brought to the ground.
With this result, Milan remain in fourth position but with a narrow lead over Roma and earned two points over Atalanta. Lazio fell to eighth, six point behind the Rossoneri, but they will have an opportunity to cut it to three if they win on Wednesday, when they will finally play the Udinese game.
Kessie paced everybody in the fantasy game with his nine points, followed by Pepe Reina with seven, most of the defenders with five and the midfielders with two thanks to the clean sheet.
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