Alessio Romagnoli disappointed as AC Milan conceded a late draw against ten men Crvena Zvezda in the Europa League on Thursday.
AC Milan fumbled a lead against ten men Crvena Zvezda to draw 2-2 at the iconic Red Star Stadium on Thursday. It was still a positive result for the Serie A giants but they will be disappointed to have failed to seal a narrow victory that could have given an ideal edge heading into the second leg at San Siro.
For Crvena though, it was a promising result as the game was much more open than anticipated. The home side did well to pressurise a patchwork Milan defence, notably amassing 20 attempts on goal, though a majority of them came during the late stages of the game. It was Milan, though, who scored the opener through an own goal from Radovan Pankov.
Crvena Zvezda equalised during the early stages of the second half, thanks to Guelor Kanga’s penalty after Alessio Romagnoli was penalised for a handball. It didn’t take long for the Rossoneri to get back into the game, with Theo Hernandez converting another penalty which was conceded by a Red Star player in Pankov.
During the final stages of the game, Milan opted for a conservative approach, looking to keep hold of their slender lead. They were even aided by Milan Rodic’s double yellow in the 77th minute. Yet, Stefano Pioli’s men couldn’t hold on as forward Milan Pavkov scored during injury time to seal a vital draw for the home side.
Here, at The Hard Tackle, we will run the rule over the Milan players in their performance against Crvena Zvezda this midweek.
Gianluigi Donnarumma: 7/10
Gianluigi Donnarumma was far busier than he’d have anticipated as the AC Milan goalkeeper was forced into making a few excellent saves, especially in the first half. He couldn’t do much to save any of Crvena’s two goals, both of which came from set-pieces. A good performance overall from the Italian.
Pierre Kalulu: 7/10
Starting ahead of Diego Dalot and Davide Calabria as part of Pioli’s overhaul, Pierre Kalulu produced a decent effort in the right-back position. He clearly has more attacking prowess than Calabria which is an exciting asset as far as Milan is concerned. However, the defender needs to work on his ball-retention.
Kalulu deserves to be playing more games as RB going forward. Far better than Dalot and certainly good enough to threaten Calabria’s starting role.
— Chris Torrano (@ChrisTorrano) February 18, 2021
Fikayo Tomori: 6.5/10
Fikayo Tomori performed rather well in defence, despite the pressure from the opposition. His imposing presence at the back made it difficult for the Crvena Zvezda attackers to make consistent inroads into the final third. The Chelsea loanee needs to improve on his ball-playing quality, though.
Alessio Romagnoli: 5/10
Romagnoli produced a disappointing display at the heart of the Milan backline, struggling to marshal the defence while also conceding the penalty that helped Crvena equalise. The Italian international certainly needs to improve his overall temperament as well as his error-prone nature if he is to retain his place as a first-team regular under Pioli, especially with the likes of Kalulu and Tomori making waves.
Theo Hernandez: 7.5/10
Theo Hernandez was quintessentially brilliant on the left-hand side of the AC Milan defence. His motoring runs forward troubled the opposition, making it difficult for the Crvena full-backs to play their natural game. The former Real Madrid star also won the penalty and later converted it to restore Milan’s lead around the hour mark.
— SempreMilan (@SempreMilanCom) February 18, 2021
Ismael Bennacer: 6.5/10
AC Milan were dealt with another injury problem as Ismael Bennacer was forced off the pitch with a knock, just before half-time. The midfielder fared well prior to his knock, acting as a solid number eight. He will likely miss the Milan derby and perhaps another extended spell on the sidelines.
Soualiho Meite: 6/10
Soualiho Meite wasn’t particularly impressive or consistent in the AC Milan midfield. Especially during defensive phases, the midfielder simply wasn’t involved enough and needs to improve on his overall involvement in the game. That said, the Frenchman was decent in possession, helping out his partner in the middle of the park.
Rade Krunic: 7/10
Rade Krunic looked quite promising on the ball, often looking to create things in the final third. His ability to drift past opposing defenders also made him a valuable asset in the final third. Although the midfielder wasn’t involved in any of the goals, he certainly deserves consideration for the upcoming Milan derby, especially with Bennacer likely ruled out.
Samu Castillejo: 6.5/10
Samu Castillejo wasn’t as impressive as he was during the group stages. He did look menacing at times with the ball at his feet and also provided a dangerous cross that led to the own goal from Pankov. The Spaniard could have provided a bit more penetration in the final third, though.
Mario Mandzukic: 6/10
Another Milan attacker who didn’t really excel against Crvena, Mario Mandzukic certainly isn’t as imposing as Zlatan Ibrahimovic despite his tall figure and that played a key role in his team’s overall temerity in the final third. The Croat offered more versatility and movement going forward, but it didn’t help much in breaking the opposition defence apart.
Mario Mandzukic makes his first Milan start 🔴⚫️ pic.twitter.com/6goaX5rj2C
— Goal (@goal) February 18, 2021
Ante Rebic: 6.5/10
Ante Rebic looked bright while he was on, often looking to take on the defenders and create chances in the final third. The attacker was taken off at half-time, though, in light of the upcoming Milan derby on Sunday. Definitely a wise move by Pioli.
Sandro Tonali: 7/10
Sandro Tonali replaced the unfortunate Bennacer just before half-time. The Italian did a brilliant job as well, orchestrating the game and offering excellent ball progression in the middle of the park. He also provided the through ball to Hernandez that led to the penalty around the hour-mark. It appears Tonali is the likely starter alongside Franck Kessie this weekend.
Rafael Leao: 6/10
Replaced Rebic at the start of the second half. He wasn’t as impressive as the Croat and struggled in offering the penetration in the final third.
Diogo Dalot: N/A
A late replacement for Hernandez. Didn’t play enough to warrant a rating.
Hakan Calhanoglu: N/A
A late replacement for Mandzukic. Didn’t play enough to warrant a rating.