AS Roma finally concede their first home defeat this season after losing 2-1 to AC Milan at the Stadio Olimpico.
Milan started brightly with their first chance being created in the 2nd minute, with Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s shot being palmed away by Pau Lopez, the following corner almost resulted in a goal but Fikayo Tomori was flagged offside after putting the ball in the back of the net.
A poor clearance by Lopez gave Ibrahimovic another crack at Roma’s goal but his backheel missed the goal by a whisker. Shortly afterwards, Ante Rebic’s run was found well by Alexis Saelemaekers, but the Croatian’s shot was saved by Lopez. Simon Kjaer almost broke the deadlock in the 26th minute from Hakan Calhanoglu’s corner but his powerful header hit the bar.
Chances were coming thick and fast for the Rossoneri, as Stefano Pioli’s men created another opportunity, after a solid run from Theo Hernandez setting Rebic up but his thunderous shot was straight at the keeper.
A rare chance at the other end saw Lorenzo Pellegrini’s two shots stopped by Fikayo Tomori and Sandro Tonali respectively. A couple of minutes later Rick Karsdorp played a wonderful through pass to Henrikh Mkhitaryan, but the Armenian failed to hit the target.
Milan dominated the early exchanges and were clearly the better team in the opening 45 minutes and soon they were rewarded with a penalty after Davide Calabria was fouled by Federico Fazio in the 41st minute. The resulting spot-kick was coolly taken by Franck Kessie.
The second half started in the same manner as the first, however, it was the Giallorossi that scored on the counter after some brilliant work by Leonardo Spinazzola in setting up Jordan Veretout, who slotted it beautifully into the top corner to score his tenth goal in the Serie A.
Milan took the lead in the 57th minute after some individual brilliance by Rebic who left Karsdorp wrong-footed with his skills and expertly placed his shot to the left of Lopez’s goal. Roma struggled to create a clear goalscoring opportunity. Although the Giallorossi did threaten on counters, they rarely worked Donnarumma into a save.
— AC Milan (@acmilan) February 28, 2021
With this crucial victory, Milan’s title race is back on track. Let us take a look at how Stefano Pioli’s men fared.
Gianluigi Donnarumma: 6.5/10
Looked comfortable all evening as Roma failed to create a clear goalscoring opportunity against the Italian goalkeeper. His distribution was top notch.
Davide Calabria: 7/10
Solid performance from Milan’s right-back, won most of his duels against Spinazzola and pressed forward with intent at every opportunity, made some crucial last-minute tackles to stop Roma’s counter-attacks.
Simon Kjaer: 6.5/10
Showed his experience as he dealt with Roma’s attacking threat really well. However, he could have done better in closing down Veretout for Roma’s equalizer. Struggled against Mkhitaryan’s runs.
Fikayo Tomori: 7.5/10
Fikayo Tomori made more passes (60) and made more clearances (6) than any other player on the pitch during Milan's 2-1 away win vs. AS Roma.
Thomas Tuchel, take note. 📝 pic.twitter.com/qls5f8ZhAU
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) February 28, 2021
Picked ahead of captain Alessio Romagnoli and the English defender proved that decision to be right as he showed dominance in the air and won most of the aerial duels against Roma’s forwards tonight. A solid display from the on-loan Chelsea man.
Theo Hernandez: 7/10
Made some brilliant runs into the opposition box and was unlucky not to have a goal or assist to his name. Roma’s defence struggled to handle his pace and trickery.
Franck Kessie: 8/10
Much improved performance this weekend from the Ivorian, who pressed and won possession in key areas of the pitch and was influential in most of Milan counters in first 45 minutes. Took his penalty with great precision.
⚠️ | QUICK STAT
Franck Kessié has now scored his 7th penalty in Serie A this season, at least 2 more than any other player in the league.
— SofaScore (@SofaScoreINT) February 28, 2021
Sandro Tonali: 7/10
Gave away possession dangerously in his own half a couple of times early on but slowly settled down as the first half wore on. Made some crucial runs in the opposition half and played a few key passes in the second period.
Alexis Saelemaekers: 6.5/10
Was underwhelming in the first half but displayed an improved performance after the break as he provided Rebic with the assist for the second goal. Subbed off the 82nd minute for Castillejo.
Hakan Calhanoglu: 5/10
A disappointing display from the Turkish creator as he failed to have any impact on the game in the first half, Subbed off for Brahim Diaz at half-time.
Ante Rebic: 7.5/10
Best Milan attacker on the night. Created space well to take a shot from outside the box but hit it straight at Lopez. Constantly beat his marker on Milan’s left side but couldn’t finish his chances in the opening half. Took his goal with aplomb after the restart, but the Croatian suffered from a hip injury and had to be subbed off in the 65th minute.
⚠️ | QUICK STAT
Ante Rebić's 58th minute strike was Milan's first league goal scored from open play in 258 minutes of football, since they scored in the 70th minute of their 4:0 win over Crotone on 7 February (also Ante Rebić).
— SofaScore (@SofaScoreINT) February 28, 2021
Zlatan Ibrahimovic: 7/10
Had two chances in as many minutes in the opening exchanges but couldn’t capitalize on them. Constantly troubled Roma’s defenders with his movement and link-up play. Made way for Rafael Leao in the 56th minute as he looked to be carrying a knock.
Brahim Diaz: 6/10
Subbed in place for Calhanoglu at half time. Had some neat interplay in the opponent half but did not create any opportunities for his team.
Rafael Leao: 5/10
Came on for Ibrahimovic in the 56th minute, and it was another disappointing display from the Portuguese forward. His touch was poor and he could not get himself into the game.
Rade Krunic: 5.5/10
Almost scored from 40 yards out after he spotted the keeper off his line. Did not have any impact apart from that.
Samu Castillejo: N/A
Came on in the 82nd minute for Saelemaekers and did not play enough to warrant a rating.
Soualiho Meite: N/A
Subbed in for Tonali in the 82nd minute and barely had any touch of the ball.