Hakan Calhanoglu stood out while Theo Hernandez impressed again as AC Milan narrowly beat Lazio 3-2 to end 2020 as the Serie A leaders.
AC Milan made a fine start to the game as Ante Rebic headed in from Hakan Calhanoglu’s corner to break the deadlock within the first 10 minutes. The Rossoneri were then two to the good shortly after, as Calhanoglu converted from the spot after Rebic had been brought down inside the Lazio box by Patric.
However, midway through the first half, Lazio found a way back in the game. The visitors were awarded a penalty after Pierre Kalulu fouled Joaquin Correa inside the box. Ciro Immobile stepped up to take the spot-kick, only to see it saved by Gianluigi Buffon, although Lazio did pull the goal back through Luis Alberto, who nodded in the rebound.
Lazio steadily grew into the game thereafter and got the game back on level terms early in the second half, when Immobile produced a fine finish from close range. However, AC Milan had the last laugh as Theo Hernandez headed in a corner from Calhanoglu in injury time to seal all three points. The Hard Tackle now runs the rule over Stefano Pioli’s men.
Gianluigi Donnarumma: 7/10
A roller-coaster of a game for Donnarumma. While the Italian international had no chance to stop either Luis Alberto or Ciro Immobile from scoring, he did make the big save from the latter’s penalty in the first half. The rest of the stops that he made were mostly regulation saves, and he was positioned well to deal with them.
Davide Calabria: 7/10
Not the most expressive of performances by Calabria while charging down the right flank. With Lazio taking the game to AC Milan, Calabria was pinned back in his own half for large parts of the game. The Italian international, though, was reasonably solid in his defensive duties, keeping a check on Adam Marusic all through the game.
Pierre Kalulu: 6/10
A game of hits and misses for Kalulu. While the Frenchman was solid for the most part, he had a role to play in each of the goals that Lazio scored. The 20-year-old first conceded the penalty from which the visitors eventually scored their first before failing to stop Immobile in his tracks for the second. Otherwise, he was hardly troubled by any of the Lazio attackers.
Alessio Romagnoli: 7/10
The best defender on the night, Romagnoli was superb in his defensive duties, although he could have done better to organise the backline when Lazio were in the ascendancy. Won 3 duels in all while also keeping things tidy on the ball, misplacing just 5 passes.
Theo Hernandez: 8/10
Theo Hernández's last two home games for AC Milan:
◎ vs. Parma
⚽️ 90+1' equaliser
◎ vs. Lazio
⚽️ 90+2' winner
Coming up clutch again. ⏱ pic.twitter.com/QOfmHowVuR
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) December 23, 2020
Like his fellow full-back, Theo Hernandez did not have many opportunities to bomb the left flank, although he did manage to create a couple of chances from dangerous deliveries. Could have done better to stop the flow of crosses from his side, but was hardly beaten on the run. Scored the all-important winner late on with a thumping header to seal all three points for AC Milan.
Sandro Tonali: 6/10
Tonali made the starting lineup despite initial suggestions that he was not fit enough to do so. And, it seemed as if the Italian international was rushed back, as he seemed to be lacking sharpness in the defensive phase, although he did enough to win 7 duels. The teenage prodigy, though, was quite reliable with the ball at his feet, misplacing just 5 passes all game.
Rade Krunic: 5/10
Thrown into the starting lineup owing to the absence of Franck Kessie and Ismael Bennacer, Rade Krunic had big boots to fill against Lazio. The Bosnian, though, was not quite up to the task, as he was overrun in the middle of the park and made some unnecessary challenges. Having said that, he was tidy in possession, misplacing just 2 passes all game.
Alexis Saelemaekers: 5/10
A sub-par display by the young Belgian, who did not see a lot of the ball versus Lazio. Saelemaekers misplaced a third of his passes and his end product often left a lot to be desired when he did get in on the action. Needs to do better.
Hakan Calhanoglu: 9/10
The player to watch in our preview, Calhanoglu was the difference-maker for AC Milan against Lazio. The Turkish international was once again the creative supremo for the Rossoneri, playing the most key passes (4) on the night. And despite looking to break through the lines, he had a solid pass rate of 85 percent. Ended the game being involved in each goal (1 goal, 2 assists).
Most chances created in Europe's top five leagues this season:
⬢ Hakan Çalhanoğlu (53)
⬡ Jack Grealish (43)
⬡ Bruno Fernandes (41)
⬡ Memphis Depay (41)
⬡ Kevin De Bruyne (40)
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) December 23, 2020
Ante Rebic: 8/10
Another player who was back in the starting lineup despite initially being written off due to injury, Rebic made a great deal of difference against Lazio as well. The Croat showed brilliant movement to head in from Calhanoglu’s corner before earning the penalty that Calhanoglu converted. Thereafter, though, he steadily grew out of the game, as the effects of his recent injury started to show.
Rafael Leao: 6/10
Leading the line once again in the absence of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, this was a somewhat sub-par display by Leao. The Portuguese forward was isolated during the parts that were dominated by Lazio, with AC Milan pegged back for large parts. Aimed a couple of shots at goal, but was unable to convert them.
Samu Castillejo: 6/10
On for the underperforming Saelemaekers, Castillejo was an upgrade on the right flank, but he too saw very little of the ball. Hardly misplaced a pass, though, when the ball did find its way on to his feet.
Jens Petter Hauge: N/A
Given the final 12 minutes or so to spark a win, Hauge was not given enough opportunities to showcase his abilities.
Diogo Dalot: N/A
A late introduction, Dalot did not play enough to warrant a rating.
Daniel Maldini: N/A
Did not play enough to warrant a rating.