Milan continued their winning streak earlier this evening by beating Crotone away from home, scoring two goals just like in the league opener. Once again, the performance wasn’t spectacular from the Rossoneri but they did the necessary, keeping a clean sheet as well which is important for the defence.
Franck Kessie gave Milan the lead in stoppage time of the first half, safely converting a penalty after Ante Rebic was brought down in the box. The Rossoneri also had a few chances prior to that, including a Simon Kjaer header that struck the bar after Hakan Calhanoglu picked him out from the corner flag.
Brahim Diaz, who played his first game as a starter, doubled the lead early in the second half with a finish from close range. The ball fell to him in the box after Calhanoglu and Alexis Saelemaekers combined well on the right flank, breaking through the Crotone defence.
Stefano Pioli’s men could have scored more, but the game finished 2-0 and they are now on six points after two games. A very good start to the season, in other words, and down below are three positives to highlight from tonight’s clash.
1. Got the job done again
As mentioned, the performance was far from spectacular and the tempo of the game was really low at times. Milan worked as a team, though, not getting too hung up on the esthetics. Rather, they continued their consistent run of form and did what was necessary to secure yet another win.
This is something the Rossoneri have lacked over the years, probably as a result of the many managerial changes. They say the big teams win even when the performance isn’t great and this can be said about Milan, although they controlled the game today and deserve a bit of credit for that.
2. The defence looked much better
With Alessio Romagnoli injured, adding the absences of Mateo Musacchio and Leo Duarte to that, Milan have struggled a bit in the back at the start of this season. The schedule has been very tight and thus Simon Kjaer and Matteo Gabbia have certainly been put to the test.
The Danish international has been very impressive ever since his arrival in January, but the Italian youngster has received some criticism in recent weeks. This evening, however, he was very good and Crotone had no chance in the box. Good for Milan, as the home side focused a lot on crosses.
3. Pioli was able to rest a few players
The manager decided to give Sandro Tonali and Diaz their first starts for the club this evening, resting Ismael Bennacer and Samu Castillejo. Having depth is always important for a team, especially when the schedule is this tight, and despite the overall injury/COVID crisis Pioli was able to rotate a bit.
Once the squad is back to full strength, this will obviously be a regular occurrence, but being able to do it now is a sign of improvement. Losing a few key players certainly affects the way Milan play, but not the outcome of the games by the looks of it. Hopefully, it will continue like this.
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