Zlatan Ibrahimovic reached 500 club career goals with a brace that fired AC Milan to a win against Crotone taking them back to the top of Serie A table.
AC Milan regained their place at the top of the Serie A table with a dominating 4-0 win over Crotone on Sunday.
The Rossoneri had a slow start to the game as the bottom club looked extremely dangerous in front of goal. They were even lucky not to concede an early goal, though the club did eventually settle down and started to dominate the game. A 30th-minute opener from Zlatan Ibrahimovic took some of the pressure off as Milan went into the first half with a 1-0 lead.
Having gained that one-goal cushion at half-time, the Serie A giants were a different team in the second half. They imposed their authority on the pitch with relentless attacks that barely provided any respite for the Crotone defenders. It was only a matter of time before Ibrahimovic netted his second in the 64th minute.
Milan added further gloss to the scoreline when Ante Rebic found the back of the net midway through the second half. The former Eintracht Frankfurt man then doubled his own tally a minute later – a goal that sealed the win for his side while helping them bridge the gap in terms of goal difference with Inter Milan.
Gianluigi Donnarumma: 6/10
Gianluigi Donnarumma was rattled during the first ten minutes of the game thanks to some excellent pressure from Crotone. Unfortunately for the bottom club, they failed to provide any real threat to the Milan goalkeeper afterwards, ending up with only two shots on target in the game. An easy yet lucky clean sheet for Donnnarumma, as Crotone should have scored early in the proceedings.
Davide Calabria: 7/10
Davide Calabria operated in a passive, defensive role, as usual, offering support to the two centre-backs. He was solid for large parts of the game, keeping Pedro Pereira at bay. The right-back also impressed with his aerial and tackling prowess this afternoon.
Fikayo Tomori: 7.5/10
Fikayo Tomori had one dull moment early on in the game but eventually settled into the proceedings. His imposing presence at the back made it difficult for the likes of Adam Ounas and Samuel Di Carmine to make an impact in the defensive third for Milan. The Englishman is appearing to be a great signing so far.
Alessio Romagnoli: 7/10
While Tomori impressed the onlookers with his defensive qualities, it was Alessio Romagnoli’s leadership and experience that were key in keeping Crotone at bay. The Italian international also played a vital role in the build-up play and was a threat from set-pieces, notably attempting two shots on goal.
Theo Hernandez: 8/10
Theo Hernández vs Crotone
90% pass accuracy
3 key passes
5 successful dribbles
1 tackle won
1 aerial won
9/13 duels won
Piece of cake for him. One of the best left-backs in the world. 🔴⚫️ pic.twitter.com/ENn6i8PuSb
— Football Talent Scout – Jacek Kulig (@FTalentScout) February 7, 2021
Theo Hernandez was once again one of the star performers for Milan this evening. The former Real Madrid full-back offered a lot of ball-progression and his running was top-notch, as usual. He also created a bunch of opportunities in the final third, one of which led to Ibrahimovic’s second of the game. Easily one of the best full-backs in Europe right now.
Soualiho Meite: 7/10
Starting in the absence of Ismael Bennacer, Soualiho Meite played a key role in the middle of the park. He distributed the ball around the pitch, and though the creativity of Bennacer was missing, he did just enough to keep things ticking. A decent afternoon for the 26-year-old.
Franck Kessie: 7.5/10
Franck Kessie did what he does best – intimidate the opposition with his tenacity and aggression. In addition to his ability to win back possession for his team, the Ivorian offered a lot of assurance in possession, notably threading the third-highest number of passes in the game. The midfielder was also quite effective with his forays into the final third, providing the extra body for Milan.
Obviously Ibra and Kjaer’s arrivals made a huge difference, going from Giampaolo to Pioli was a big upgrade, but Kessie’/Bennacer/Calhanoglu becoming an elite midfield unit in Serie A is maybe biggest reason for Milan’s rise- when even 2 of the 3 are there it changes everything
— David Amoyal (@DavidAmoyal) February 7, 2021
Alexis Saelemaekers: 6/10
It was not the best of performances from Alexis Saelemaekers who looked off colour, at times. Driving from the right flank, the young Belgian may have done a little better in offering the penetration that was required. He was ultimately taken off at half-time, in favour of Samu Castillejo.
Rafael Leao: 6.5/10
Rafael Leao also didn’t enjoy the best of matches, despite registering the assist for Ibrahimovic’s opener. The young forward looked clumsy at times, and couldn’t really offer the penetration going forward. He was taken off around the hour-mark as well, in what turned out to quite a masterstroke by Stefano Pioli.
Ante Rebic: 8.5/10
With Leao and Saelemaekers failing to make too much of an impact, it was Ante Rebic who offered the spark in the final third for AC Milan. The former Frankfurt star was, in fact, a menace for the opposition with his direct style of play. He was eventually rewarded with a couple of goals in quick succession in the second half. Rebic is indeed a better fit in the left-wing position.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic: 9/10
5⃣0⃣0⃣ club goals.
— B/R Football (@brfootball) February 7, 2021
Zlatan Ibrahimovic was, without a doubt, the best player for the league leaders, especially during the second and third quarter of the game when the veteran centre-forward truly showed his quality. Two well-taken goals were enough to create an easy path to victory for the Rossoneri while the player himself registered his 500th club career goal. A legend indeed.
Samu Castillejo: 6/10
Castillejo replaced the ineffective Saelemaekers at half-time. The Spaniard didn’t really make too much of an impact, though.
Hakan Calhanoglu: 8/10
Hakan Calhanoglu’s introduction around the hour-mark was a game-changing one for Milan as he assisted both of Rebic’s goal within ten minutes after coming on. Oh, how Milan have missed him!
Jens Petter Hauge: N/A
A late replacement for Rebic. Did not play enough to warrant a rating.
Mario Mandzukic: N/A
A late replacement for star man Ibrahimovic. Did not play enough to warrant a rating.
Rade Krunic: N/A
A late replacement Kessie. Did not play enough to warrant a rating.