AC Milan topped group H of the UEFA Europa League as they overcame Sparta Prague 1-0 on a night where Lille saw defeat at the hands of Celtic.
AC Milan faced Sparta Prague in what was a low-scoring but enthralling match-up between the two sides. Jens Petter Hauge was the difference between the two sides with a brilliant solo goal that found the bottom corner in style.
Milan would be delighted with the result that saw them leapfrog Lille in Group H after the French team lost to Celtic. Milan and Sparta engaged in an entertaining end to end affair that should have resulted in more goals if it were not for brilliant goalkeeping and poor finishing to go with it.
Full-time! And we finish 🔝 of #UEL Group H
— AC Milan (@acmilan) December 10, 2020
Ciprian Tatarusanu made some crucial saves in the second half to defend Milan’s slender lead. Chances were plenty for both sides with the pick of Milan’s chances coming via Samu Castillejo and Hauge on either wing. Milan full-backs, too, had a field day with Diogo Dalot, especially, impressing.
Sparta would rue their missed chances, especially the one in the dying moments of the game that fell to David Moberg Karlsson via a simple long ball. Ultimately, Milan won all three points and sealed the top spot, which gives them a slight advantage for the long run.
Ciprian Tatarusanu: 8/10
Tatarusanu did justice to his rare start by producing a match-winning performance between the sticks. The Romanian made some fine saves on the night with the 1v1 versus Karlsson the pick of the lot. He was also dominant in the air.
— SempreMilan (@1SempreMilan) December 10, 2020
Pierre Kalulu: 6/10
His first start in AC Milan colours and Kalulu marked it with a clean sheet. The 20 year old French centre-back would be delighted with his performance despite not playing on his favoured right side. Kalulu did well to win 3 out of 4 of his aerial duels versus a physical Sparta Prague.
Leo Duarte: 6/10
Duarte, on the other hand, somehow seemed far less involved. He was a little nervous in possession and failed to win a single aerial duel. Despite making 3 clearances, it seemed like Kalulu covered a lot for the Brazilian.
Andrea Conti: 7/10
Captain for the night, Conti did well to capitalise on the few opportunities he gets these days. He did tremendously well to win combats all around the pitch and was on the receiving end of some harsh fouls. A fearless performance from the former first-choice full-back.
Diogo Dalot: 8/10
Dalot was one of the most impressive players on the pitch for AC Milan. He combined terrifically with the equally impressive Hauge on the left-hand side. Dalot was full of running as he got into several advanced positions and looked solid defensively as well. Dalot has strung together a run of strong performances which is an encouraging sign for Milan who currently boast a list of top-class fullbacks.
Diogo Dalot’s game by numbers vs. Sparta Prague:
100% tackles won
80% pass accuracy
6 ball recoveries
4 successful long balls
4/5 aerial duels
Continues to impress for Milan. 🇵🇹 👏 pic.twitter.com/aSnIWa4aJc
— Statman Dave (@StatmanDave) December 11, 2020
Rade Krunic: 6/10
After a disappointing performance versus Celtic, Krunic provided Milan with a much better performance this time out. Krunic showed his quality on the ball and completed 4 out of his 4 attempted long balls and matched the statistic when it came to dribbles completed too. Krunic still has a lot of work to do, as he tends to look sloppy at times and makes the wrong decisions.
Sandro Tonali: 7/10
One of the hottest prospects in Europe at the moment. Tonali, who started life at Milan rather slowly, is now settling in well and it shows. Tonali produced a commanding performance – winning 5 out of his 8 ground duels and passing at a success rate of 88%. He will be a crucial part of Milan’s plans over the season.
Daniel Maldini: 6/10
It was a rare start for Maldini in Milan colours. The youngster played 78 minutes and showed a lot of positive signs. He made some dangerous runs and showed a lot of intent to get into advanced positions. Would have preferred to get more involved with the game’s proceedings but nonetheless, a decent performance by him.
Jens Petter Hauge: 8/10
The star of Milan’s Europa League campaign, Hauge has notched up 3 goals and an assist this season and looks better with each passing game. Hauge scored a scintillating solo goal dribbling past two and finishing beautifully at the far post. The Norwegian proved to be the difference yet again.
— RouteOneFootball (@Route1futbol) December 10, 2020
Lorenzo Colombo: 5/10
The 18 year old had a difficult game and was the first player to subbed off. The Italian worked hard off the ball, but could not really create many chances or take the ones that he got. Good to see him getting chances in the Europe League nonetheless.
Samu Castillejo: 7/10
Despite not registering a goal or assist and looking rather wasteful, Castillejo looked extremely threatening. He continued his rich vein of form by creating opportunities for his teammates and driving at the opposition defence with aplomb. Castillejo did well to dribble in tight spaces and try to score.
Rafael Leao: 6/10
Returned to first-team action after being sidelined for an extended period. Leao looked lively and strong and earned the red card while starting a counter-attack for Milan.
Franck Kessie: 6/10
Replaced Maldini in the closing stages of the game and didn’t make much of an impact. Took a wild shot towards the end.
Brahim Diaz N/A
Did not play enough to warrant a rating,