Zlatan Ibrahimovic was the Man of the Match as AC Milan continued their brilliant start to the season with a 2-1 win over Udinese.
AC Milan continued their remarkable start to the campaign with yet another win this weekend – this time against Udinese. The 2-1 win saw them extend their unbeaten record to 23 games in all competitions while helping them retain their position at the top of the league table.
However, it wasn’t an easy game for the Rossoneri by any means as clear cut chances came few and far between, even though the away side did get an early lead through Franck Kessie. Udinese fought back well too, although they also struggled to provide that end product to create any goalmouth opportunities.
The hosts ultimately needed a foul from Alessio Romagnoli, following which the referee awarded the penalty early on in the second half. Udinese’s creator-in-chief Rodrigo de Paul did not make any mistake in converting the spot-kick, thus levelling the score.
— AC Milan (@acmilan) November 1, 2020
But just when it seemed that the game was heading for a 1-1 draw, Zlatan Ibrahimovic came up with a moment of brilliance as he scored from an overhead kick to seal a late winner for the league leaders. The Hard Tackle now runs the rule over the AC Milan players following their narrow win over Udinese on Sunday.
Gianluigi Donnarumma: 6.5/10
Came back into the side after returning from quarantine, but will be disappointed to have missed out on the clean sheet, even though he had very little chance in saving the penalty. He did, however, make one good save and can only improve in the upcoming matches.
Davide Calabria: 6/10
With Theo Hernandez being given the responsibility of marching forward, it was only natural that Davide Calabria stayed back. The Italian was competent in dealing with the Udinese forwards, though there were a few nervy defensive moments here and there.
Simon Kjaer: 7/10
Kjaer’s imposing frame at the back was critical in dealing with the Udinese forwards like Stefano Okaka. The Dane made a host of important clearances throughout the game while excelling in physical and aerial duels.
Alessio Romagnoli: 6.5/10
Romagnoli was incredibly unlucky to be penalised for the penalty. Even though he did get a slice of the player, it was harsh from the referee’s part. Nonetheless, the Italian international did not really make any other notable errors after conceding that penalty and remained fairly solid, thus helping Milan see through the Udinese attack in the last few moments of the game.
Theo Hernandez: 5/10
It was an average performance by Theo Hernandez, who could not add much to the side on the left flank. His forays down the flanks were not proving to be effective as Milan ultimately had to rely on two brilliant strikes from Ibrahimovic and Kessie to find the back of the net. Should have been better defensively as well.
Ismael Bennacer: 6.5/10
Following a sublime display against Sparta Praha in midweek, Ismael Bennacer was once again a vital cog in the Milan setup. It was he who provided the ball out wide to Ibrahimovic, with the move leading to Kessie’s opener. Although Bennacer was restricted to an extent by the Udinese midfield, it wasn’t a bad performance by the creative lynchpin.
Franck Kessie: 7.5/10
Returned to the side at the expense of Sandro Tonali and had a gem of a game. Scored the early goal with a brilliant strike but more importantly, the Ivorian remained solid throughout the game. Although Kessie was not flawless by any means, he still played a key role in minimising the impact of players like Rodrigo de Paul with his good defensive positioning.
Kessie vs Udinese:
93% passing accuracy
1 key pass
2/4 long balls
0 dispossessions pic.twitter.com/zh7niJghCN
— Rossoneri (@rossonero_fans) November 1, 2020
Alexis Saelemaekers: 6/10
It was perhaps not the best of games for Alexis Saelemaekers, who appeared sloppy on many occasions. And much like Samu Castillejo in midweek, the Belgian simply failed to provide the penetration that was needed to break the shackles of the Udinese defence.
Hakan Calhanoglu: 6/10
It was an uncharacteristically bad performance from Hakan Calhanoglu, who was almost anonymous for a fair chunk of the game. The Turkish international failed to create anything of note as Udinese employed a strong and deep defensive line.
Rafael Leao: 5.5/10
Following two great performances, Rafael Leao failed to capitalise on his form and was rather inconsistent against Udinese. Did not add much as far as breaching the Udinese defence was concerned and was subbed off midway through the second half.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic: 8.5/10
Led the line with aplomb, providing a lot of physical presence in the final third, as always. The Swede also motivated his team, especially at a time when they were finding it difficult to breach the Udinese backline.
39-year-old Zlatan Ibrahimović so far this season:
⬢ top of Serie A
⬢ top scorer in Serie A
⬢ scored in every Serie A appearance
⬢ involved in 10 goals in seven games across all competitions
A living legend. 🦁 pic.twitter.com/uAdknQxqD2
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) November 1, 2020
Needless to say, Ibrahimovic was involved in both the goals, including the first one where he provided the pass to Kessie. As for the second, it was truly a stunning effort for a 39-year-old, who just seems to get better and better every game. A true legend of the game!
Sandro Tonali: 6.5/10
Replaced Bennacer around the hour mark to provide more freshness into the setup. The Italian did well in tight spaces while providing assurance during the possession phases with his brilliant range of passing.
Brahim Diaz: 6.5/10
Bringing on Brahim Diaz just before the hour mark was a smart move by Stefano Pioli as the on-loan Real Madrid playmaker offered some dynamism in the final third for Milan.
Diogo Dalot: 6/10
Replaced Calabria to provide more attacking impetus from right-back. Nothing spectacular, however, after coming on the back of a remarkable midweek display against Sparta Praha.
Ante Rebic: 6/10
Made his return from injury in the 71st minute, replacing the ineffective Leao. Did not make much of an impact, though it was his effort on goal that unintentionally found Ibrahimovic for the winner.
Rade Krunic: N/A
A late replacement for Calhanoglu. Did not play enough to warrant a rating.