Gianluigi Donnarumma was brilliant in goal and Franck Kessie made his mark as AC Milan narrowly eked out a 2-1 win over Bologna on Saturday.
AC Milan dominated the proceedings for much of the first half, but it was Bologna who got an early sniff at goal. However, the visitors ended up creating the first real opening when Theo Hernandez rattled the woodwork. Midway through the first half, Lukasz Skorupski brilliantly denied Zlatan Ibrahimovic with a double save before the deadlock was eventually broken.
Rafael Leao won a penalty ahead of the half-hour mark when he was brought down by Mitchell Dijks. Zlatan Ibrahimovic stepped up to take the spot-kick, only for it to be saved by Skorupski. However, Ante Rebic was quick to react to the rebound, slotting it home to give AC Milan the lead. Ahead of the half-time break, though, Bologna had a few chances to score but were thwarted every time.
AC Milan then went on to double their advantage early in the second half, when Franck Kessie scored a penalty after Adama Soumaoro handled the ball in the Bologna box. However, a nervy finale was in order when Andrea Poli pulled one back in the 81st minute. Milan, though, held on for all three points, to remain atop Serie A. The Hard Tackle now runs the rule over Stefano Pioli’s men.
Gianluigi Donnarumma: 8/10
The clear standout for AC Milan. The Italian goalkeeper was a rock between the sticks for the visitors and made a number of big saves to ensure his side never relinquished their lead. The late save to deny Roberto Soriano from close range was particularly delightful. Could not have done much to deny Andrea Poli for his goal, though.
Davide Calabria: 6/10
A game of hits and misses for Calabria. While the Italian international was quite purposeful in his forays down the right flank, his end product was not up to scratch. Engaged in an engrossing battle with Nicola Sansone, and did not always come out on top. Did enough in the end, though.
Fikayo Tomori: 7/10
The best of the lot at the back for AC Milan, Tomori enjoyed a solid full debut. The English centre-back was alert to react to any dangerous situations and made a huge block to deny Nicolas Dominguez in the first half, although a poor touch later on in the game nearly gifted a chance to Musa Barrow. Nonetheless, he did quite well to keep the Bologna attackers at bay for the most part.
Fikayo Tomori vs Bologna
90% pass accuracy
3 tackles won
1 blocked shot
4 aerials won
7/9 duels won
Really nice start to his new challenge. 🔴⚫️ pic.twitter.com/rBtJX54ZQO
— Football Talent Scout – Jacek Kulig (@FTalentScout) January 30, 2021
Alessio Romagnoli: 6/10
A somewhat disappointing performance by Romagnoli. Hardly seen when Milan were on top, which is a positive, the Italian international could and should have done better to keep his side’s defence organised when Bologna amped up the pressure, with Fikayo Tomori often having too much to do. Did make a couple of important interceptions, though.
Theo Hernandez: 7/10
A superb display by Theo Hernandez, who nearly opened the scoring early on before being denied by the woodwork. A constant outlet down the left flank, Hernandez played a game-high 3 key passes and was AC Milan’s best creative prospect. However, he is docked a point for losing the ball in the lead-up to Bologna’s goal.
Sandro Tonali: 5/10
Fit enough to start, but this was yet another sub-par display in midfield from Tonali. With Ismael Bennacer now making his way back, this was an opportunity missed for the Italian international, who could have done so much more to influence the proceedings and provide control to AC Milan.
Franck Kessie: 7/10
Once again, Kessie proved his credentials with a solid showing in the middle of the park. The Ivorian kept a check on Roberto Soriano for large parts of the game, winning 3 duels while making a couple of clearances. Most importantly, though, he coolly converted his penalty, ensuring there were no hiccups like in Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s case.
Alexis Saelemaekers: 5/10
Picked ahead of Samu Castillejo in the right-wing berth, Saelemaekers endured a difficult outing on Saturday. The Belgian flitted in and out of the game, hardly making an impact despite seeing quite a bit of the ball. However, a minor positive was his ball retention ability, which helped assert AC Milan’s control at times.
Rafael Leao: 7/10
Stationed in the centre of the attack, Leao was at home reprising the no. 10 role. Pulled the strings superbly in the absence of Hakan Calhanoglu and won the penalty in the first half, with his movement causing Bologna a lot of problems. Such an asset for Pioli.
Ante Rebic: 7/10
— AC Milan (@acmilan) January 30, 2021
Back into the starting lineup after recovering from his injury, Rebic was a bundle of energy and was quick to react to the rebound after Zlatan Ibrahimovic had his penalty saved. Did not see much of the ball, but did create a chance while putting in the hard yards off the ball, aiding Theo Hernandez during the defensive phases.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic: 5/10
After a hit-and-miss performance against Inter Milan, Ibrahimovic needed to step up for AC Milan. However, the Player to Watch in our preview seemed to be in business early on and was denied by Skorupski with a fabulous double save. However, his penalty was quite tame and Ibrahimovic subsequently faded out as the minutes ticked by.
Ismael Bennacer: 6/10
Making his long-awaited return to the side, Bennacer instilled a sense of calmness in the final half an hour or so, but could have done better to wrest control from Bologna late on.
Rade Krunic: 5/10
On for Rebic, Krunic struggled to impose himself in the middle of the park when Bologna were ramping up the pressure.
Mario Mandzukic: 5/10
On for Leao, Mandzukic did not get much of an opportunity to showcase his best abilities, with Bologna on top late in the game.