Zlatan Ibrahimovic went from hero to zero as AC Milan lost 2-1 to Inter Milan in the Coppa Italia quarter-finals courtesy goals from Romelu Lukaku and Christian Eriksen.
Both teams had some decent chances in the first half, but it was AC Milan who broke the deadlock just past the half-hour mark as Zlatan Ibrahimovic fired a low finish into the back of the net. Tempers flared in the derby with Ibrahimovic and Inter Milan striker Romelu Lukaku involved in an ugly altercation leading to a booking for both men as half-time arrived.
Early in the second period, Inter Milan were handed an advantage as Zlatan was sent off for a dubious second yellow card for an alleged foul on Aleksandar Kolarov. And the Nerazzurri made their advantage count with Lukaku equalising from the spot in the 71st minute after Rafael Leao had fouled Nicolo Barella in the box.
AC Milan stayed in the game thanks to some brilliant goalkeeping by Ciprian Tatarusanu denying the likes of Lukaku and Lautaro Martinez. However, deep into stoppage time, Inter Milan’s forgotten man, Christian Eriksen, scored the winning goal with a top-notch free-kick to send his team to the semi-finals of Coppa Italia.
Samir Handanovic: 5.5/10
Had to make one save in the first period which he did without any trouble. Not a lot he could have done to keep Zlatan’s strike out. Spectator for the rest of the game with AC Milan unable to threaten the Nerazzurri goal.
Milan Skriniar: 6/10
Had a few issues early on when Milan poured forward, but stuck to his task and did well to deny the Rossoneri goalscoring opportunities. Passed well from the back as usual.
Stefan de Vrij: 6.5/10
The most reliable of the Inter Milan defenders, the Dutchman kept things tight and organised at the back ensuring that little got past him. Strong in his challenges, composed on the ball.
Aleksandar Kolarov: 5.5/10
Starting in place of Alessandro Bastoni as the third centre-half, the veteran defender wasn’t tested a great deal but switched off for Ibrahimovic’s opening goal. Came close with a free-kick early in the second period before playing a part in Zlatan’s sending off.
Matteo Darmian: 5/10
Starting ahead of Achraf Hakimi as the right wing-back, the Italian wasn’t able to provide the same level of attacking penetration as the man he replaced. Slowed things down when he was on the ball and was hooked off at half-time. Was secure defensively, though.
Nicolo Barella: 7/10
Nicolò Barella vs AC Milan
1 penalty won
93% pass accuracy
3 key passes
5/5 accurate long balls
2 tackles won
1 aerial won
The best Italian midfielder at the moment. ⚫️🔵 pic.twitter.com/1uBlgSGzKY
— Football Talent Scout – Jacek Kulig (@FTalentScout) January 26, 2021
A bundle of energy in the middle of the park for Inter Milan. Took up good positions, played some nice passes forward as he looked to get his team on the front foot. Won the all-important penalty that allowed the Nerazzurri to get back on level terms.
Marcelo Brozovic: 7/10
Controlled the game from the deep midfield role, breaking up play effectively and spraying passes forward for his attackers to run onto. Came very close to scoring with a fine half-volley late in the first half. Booked early in the second half but kept his discipline.
Arturo Vidal: 5.5/10
Did not offer much in terms of creativity, but did well to keep Franck Kessie quiet in the first period. Looked to push upfield more regularly after the opponents were down a man, but to little effect.
Ivan Perisic: 6/10
The Croatian was preferred over Ashley Young at left wing-back and he put in a solid shift. Worked hard defensively and constantly got the better of Diogo Dalot on his flank. Delivered some dangerous crosses but nobody got on the end of those.
Romelu Lukaku: 6.5/10
Zlatan and Lukaku are going at it 😳 pic.twitter.com/yMLFI72tiz
— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) January 26, 2021
Forced a save from Tatarusanu in the first period, which was his biggest involvement until getting involved in an ugly scuffle with Zlatan on the stroke of half-time and could have been easily sent off. Stayed on the pitch though and scored the equaliser from the spot. Could have had one or two more if not for Tatarusanu in the Milan goal.
Alexis Sanchez: 6/10
May not have been directly involved in a goal, but the Chilean caused problems with his movement at the top, winning a number of fouls. Had an effort saved in the second period.
Achraf Hakimi: 6.5/10
Replaced Darmian at half-time. Offered so much more going forward, with Inter Milan looking much more purposeful with him on the field. Booked.
Lautaro Martinez: 6/10
On for Perisic in the 67th minute. Had a shot saved and created a couple of chances as well.
Christian Eriksen: 7/10
Normally players coming on after the 75th minute aren’t given a rating. But, Eriksen’s contribution to the game – a fine free-kick that proved to be the winning goal gets him a 7/10. Can he revive his Inter Milan career now?
Ashley Young: N/A
Stoppage time substitute for Kolarov.
Ciprian Tatarusanu: 7/10
Ciprian #Tatarusanu acknowledges a ‘great goal’ from Christian #Eriksen and #ACMilan reduced to 10 men proved the difference for #Inter. https://t.co/f3TcXnEuFS #InterMilan #FCIM #ACMilan #Milan #CoppaItalia #Calcio pic.twitter.com/4pawlhENcr
— footballitalia (@footballitalia) January 26, 2021
The hero for AC Milan in the last round against Torino, the veteran goalkeeper was at it once again pulling off some brilliant stops on both sides of half-time. If not for his presence in goal, the scoreline would have been much different on the night. Not a lot he could have done to stop Lukaku and Eriksen, however.
Diogo Dalot: 5/10
Had a difficult challenge going up against Ivan Perisic and the Portuguese came second-best in the duel. Did not offer a great deal moving forward either.
Simon Kjaer: 5/10
A rash challenge on Sanchez meant he was handed an early booking. In the process, the experienced defender injured himself and had to be taken off just twenty minutes in.
Alessio Romagnoli: 7/10
One of the few Milan players who can hold his head high after the game, the Rossoneri captain was solid and composed at the back, hardly putting a foot wrong. Helped debutant Fikayo Tomori settle in as well. Not at fault for any of the goals.
First time in since forever that Romagnoli has played with personality. Usually quiet in big games, but today he decide to make Lukakus day a hell.
Only goals we conceded today were set pieces too pic.twitter.com/NjESQUwxx4
— Saturnion (@Saturnion96) January 26, 2021
Theo Hernandez: 6/10
Not at his effective best marauding forward which deprived Milan of a key outlet, but stuck to his task defensively for the most part.
Soualiho Meite: 4/10
Having struggled at the weekend against Atalanta, it was more of the same for the January signing from Torino. Caught out of position on a number of occasions, gave away the ball cheaply and conceded the free-kick from which Eriksen scored the winning goal. Poor.
Franck Kessie: 6.5/10
Worked hard in the middle, especially after Milan were reduced to ten men, covering a lot of ground, breaking up play and trying to launch attacks. Reliable performer for Stefano Pioli’s side.
Alexis Saelemaekers: 5/10
Back from suspension, the Belgian created an early chance for Leao which wasn’t taken. Didn’t offer much in terms of chance-creation, especially with Milan forced to defend deep after going a man down.
Brahim Diaz: 6/10
Had a chance early in the game but couldn’t get the desired connection. Took up some good positions and looked like he could cause problems to the Inter Milan backline. However, was sacrificed after Ibra’s sending off.
Rafael Leao: 5/10
Looked dangerous each time he got on the ball, although could have done better with an early chance. Created an opportunity for Diaz and was generally a bright spark in attack while also tracking back effectively. However, gave away the penalty from which Inter equalised.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic: 5/10
ZLATAN IBRAHIMOVIC SENT OFF! 🟥
After clashing with Romelu Lukaku in the first half, he's shown a second yellow card for a foul 😬 pic.twitter.com/o47FpkNz33
— Goal (@goal) January 26, 2021
Opened the scoring at the half-hour mark to hand Milan the advantage. Got himself involved in a heated clash with Lukaku, which earned him a booking. Twelve minutes after the break, was shown his second yellow card, although it appeared a bit harsh. Nevertheless, his sending off hit the Rossoneri hard. Let his team down on the big occasion.
Fikayo Tomori: 6.5/10
Made his debut for Milan, replacing the injured Kjaer in the first period. The on-loan Chelsea defender showed good signs as he displayed good positional awareness and made quite a few important blocks and interceptions. Promising debut.
Ante Rebic: 5/10
On for Diaz soon after Ibrahimovic’s sending off. Tried to make things happen, but little worked out for him.
Rade Krunic: N/A
On for Leao in the 85th minute. Did little of note.
Samu Castillejo: N/A
Replaced Saelemaekers in the 85th minute. Had little impact.