Samu Castillejo was on target for AC Milan as they were held to a 1-1 draw by LOSC Lille in the UEFA Europa League at Stade Pierre Mauroy on Thursday.
The first half was a rather dull affair as neither AC Milan nor Lille conjured up very little in terms of chances in the first thirty minutes. But things improved as half-time closed, with Luiz Araujo testing Gianluigi Donnarumma on a couple of occasions in the AC Milan goal, but the scoreline remained intact heading into the break.
Milan seemed to have sparked into life after the restart as just sixty seconds into the second period, the Rossoneri took the lead as Samu Castillejo tapped in Ante Rebic’s pass. The hosts, however, were not giving in and after a period of sustained pressure, found their way back through Jonathan Bamba’s strike in the 65th minute.
There were no major chances for either team as the game petered out in the final phase, with both teams sharing the spoils. And, here’s how we rated the performances of Stefano Pioli’s men on the night in France.
Gianluigi Donnarumma: 6/10
Made a couple of decent stops in the first period to ensure that the scoreline stayed at 0-0. Not a lot he could have done about Bamba’s strike. Misplaced just one of his 41 passes on the night.
Diogo Dalot: 6.5/10
Replacing Davide Calabria at right-back, the on-loan Manchester United man provided a solid presence in defence, making three interceptions and four clearances on the night. However, he wasn’t able to provide an outlet down the right flank.
Simon Kjaer: 7/10
Led the defence well, organising things at the back and being a vocal presence. The centre-back also aided in Milan playing out from the back, completing a match-high 104 passes out of the 109 he attempted. In addition, he also made four clearances, three successful tackles and an interception.
Matteo Gabbia: 7/10
Starting ahead of Alessio Romagnoli, the youngster had a pretty much solid outing in France. Won the most aerial duels by any player (5), completed the most number of tackles as well (5) and ensured there were no late hiccups as Milan took home a point.
Theo Hernandez: 7/10
An impressive performance from the former Real Madrid man, who provided a combative presence on the left. Got forward with intent on occasions and made a key pass on the night, while remaining fairly solid at the back throughout as well. Completed a game-high five interceptions.
Sandro Tonali: 5.5/10
Given the nod in the midfield double pivot ahead of Franck Kessie, the midfield prodigy failed to provide the same sense of drive and energy that the Ivorian would. Did play a key role in the opener, with a peach of a pass to find Rebic. But apart from that, it was a very quiet performance from Tonali. Was dispossessed three times, while he also made an error that led to a chance for the hosts.
Ismael Bennacer: 6/10
Missed having Kessie alongside in the middle of the park and the fact that Tonali did not have the best of games affected his performance as well. Tried hard to stamp his authority in the middle, completing three of his six attempted tackles and three interceptions as well. But ultimately could not help Milan establish the control they needed.
Samu Castillejo: 7/10
Starting ahead of Alexis Saelemaekers on the right flank, the Spaniard impressed with his work-rate and industry. Pressed the opposition high, tracked back when it was required. But his most important contribution came early in the second period as he scored Milan’s only goal of the game with the simplest of finishes.
Hakan Calhanoglu: 5/10
One of the Turkish international’s poorer performances of the season. Calhanoglu never looked to be at the races. A player who is in the side to provide the creative essence, the 26-year-old, who has been linked with the likes of Manchester United, failed to carve out a single chance, while he completed just 75% of his passes. Did try to help out defensively, though, before making way for Brahim Diaz.
Jens Petter Hauge: 4/10
Making his full debut for Milan after a goalscoring performance at the weekend, Hauge was another player who never really got into the game. Had a fantastic opportunity in the first period, but squandered it. His passing left a lot to be desired, while decision-making was not always sharp either. Will see better days.
Ante Rebic: 6/10
Starting as the centre-back in the absence of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, the Croatian international did not always look comfortable in the position. Found it hard to get past his man, with the Lille defence holding firm. However, he did manage to get an assist, setting Castillejo up for the goal in the second half.
Brahim Diaz: 6/10
Sent on in place of Calhanoglu in the 61st minute, the Real Madrid loanee livened things up a bit in the final third. However, he couldn’t find that winning goal.
Lorenzo Colombo: 5/10
Came on for Rebic for the final thirty minutes. However, the youngster hardly got any service to make an impact.
Rade Krunic: N/A
Replaced Hauge with less than fifteen minutes left. Booked late in the game.