Lille 1-1 AC Milan: Rossoneri miss out on good opportunity despite impressive defensive display

Following the humiliating 3-0 loss in the reverse fixture at San Siro, Milan were hoping to get their revenge on Lille this evening by claiming all three points. However, despite taking the lead early in the second half, they failed to do so and thus remain second in their Europa League. 

It wasn’t the most entertaining game, with Milan taking control of the possession early on but doing little with it. They had patience, that’s for sure, playing it around to try to find an opening in between the midfield. Once Sandro Tonali or Ismael Bennacer got in that position, it always got dangerous. 

They should have taken the lead after just 24 minutes, as Jens Petter Hauge made a great run on the right-hand side. As Lille had tried to attack, the Norweigan was left with loads of space and only needed to square it to Ante Rebic, as Milan were three against one. However, he failed to do so, which was a big mistake.

Both teams headed into the break goalless, but it didn’t take long before the away side opened the scoring in the second half, 39 seconds to be exact. Sandro Tonali, who wasn’t particularly good tonight, played a wonderful through-ball to Ante Rebic and the Croatian unselfishly squared it to Samu Castillejo, 0-1.

The Rossoneri then continued to control the game, albeit not creating many chances, and looked very secure at the back indeed. In the 65th minute, though, Lille equalised after taking a quick throw-in. Milan were caught off guard, with Matteo Gabbia left alone to deal with the receiver of the throw (Tonali could have done better).

Towards the end of the clash, both teams seemed pretty satisfied with the result, but the Rossoneri did at least try to create some danger and decide the game. A few half-chances, and nothing more, resulted in the game finishing 1-1. Based on the goal Milan conceded, they perhaps feel they could have got more.

That being said, they are in a good position ahead of the last two rounds. Celtic are up next at San Siro, and since they have been eliminated already, they will have nothing to play for. Furthermore, Lille will play Sparta Praha and that means the group could be decided already next round.

It might not have been the best attacking display by the Rossoneri, but they sure looked good at the back. Gabbia came in for Alessio Romagnoli, who usually starts, and did really well Simon Kjaer. Unlike the reverse fixture, Stefano Pioli’s men actually managed to completely neutralise the French side.

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