Franck Kessie and Amad Diallo were among those who impressed as AC Milan held Manchester United to a 1-1 draw in the UEFA Europa League on Thursday.
AC Milan were the better of the two sides in the first half and even had a couple of goals ruled out, one for offside and the other for handball, with Rafael Leao and Franck Kessie being left exasperated. On the opposite end, Anthony Martial’s volleyed effort was saved smartly by Gianluigi Donnarumma, though Manchester United should have been in front when Harry Maguire missed from a yard out.
Amad Diallo was introduced at half-time and the young Ivorian made an instant impact as he smartly looped his header over Donnarumma to break the deadlock in the game. Manchester United then had the chance to double their advantage, only for Daniel James to miss from close range.
Their profligacy would come back to haunt the hosts late on, as Simon Kjaer scored from a corner in injury time to grab a crucial away goal ahead of the second leg next week, where Milan will have the slightest of advantages of Manchester United. The Hard Tackle now runs the rule over both sets of players.
Dean Henderson: 5/10
With his run in the Manchester United goal extending, this was Henderson’s chance to nail down his spot. He did make a couple of decent saves but should have done better to keep out Simon Kjaer’s late header.
Aaron Wan-Bissaka: 6/10
A game of hits and misses for Wan-Bissaka, who hardly made an impact in the final third while also facing some hairy moments at the back. Won 4 duels and completed 3 important clearances, though.
Eric Bailly: 7/10
A solid effort in which he bailed out Harry Maguire a number of times. Bailly made 4 clearances while only losing possession thrice all game. Efficient performance.
Harry Maguire: 5/10
Sub-par from the Manchester United captain, who bizarrely struggled against long balls and never looked comfortable on the defensive front. Worse still, though, was his miss from point-blank range in the first half; should have buried that chance.
Alex Telles: 5/10
A major downgrade on Luke Shaw, Telles hardly created any openings and played just 1 key pass from a corner. Looked nervy at the back against Alexis Saelemaekers and just did not grab his opportunity on the day.
Scott McTominay: 6/10
Industrious as ever, McTominay put in the hard yards in the middle, but could not push Manchester United forward at a quick tempo, thereby forcing Bruno Fernandes to come deep.
Nemanja Matic: 6/10
Starting ahead of Fred, Matic was solid for the most part in the middle of the park, although he lost the midfield battle to Franck Kessie. However, he won 7 duels and 5 tackles in a decent individual effort.
Mason Greenwood: 5/10
An evening to forget for Greenwood, who flitted in and out of the game, although he did create a fine chance for James. Did not aim a single shot at goal, though, and needs to do better on that front.
Bruno Fernandes: 7/10
Bruno Fernandes’ game by numbers vs. AC Milan (73 mins):
85% pass accuracy
4/6 long passes completed
2 chances creates
2 ball recoveries
2 fouls suffered
Provided much-needed class. 🎩 pic.twitter.com/vWwNTSNCwD
— Statman Dave (@StatmanDave) March 11, 2021
An extremely ineffective display by Bruno Fernandes, although he did create the brilliant chance for Amad Diallo to score from, which bumps his rating. Otherwise, he just could not get into the game.
Daniel James: 5/10
A poor performance by James, who did not influence the proceedings much and inexplicably missed from close range when set up by Greenwood. Has to do better following Amad Diallo’s impressive display.
Anthony Martial: 5/10
Martial created one fine chance out of nothing when he sent a volley goalwards. Apart from that moment, the Frenchman hardly made an impact and was taken off at half-time with an injury.
Amad Diallo: 7/10
What a way to open your account for your new club! Diallo made an instant impact after being sent on at half-time, showing superb ingenuity to loop his header over Donnarumma for the opener. Continued trying hard thereafter, but did not get any chances to score.
1 – Amad Diallo's first goal for Manchester United came with his first ever shot for the club, and in just his third appearance (all as a substitute). Lift-off. pic.twitter.com/3GdcMcjVDN
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) March 11, 2021
Sent on in place of Bruno Fernandes as Manchester United looked to defend their lead, Fred was sloppy in the latter stages of the game.
Brandon Williams: N/A
On for Wan-Bissaka, Williams defended well in the final phase of the game.
Luke Shaw: N/A
On for James, Shaw did not get many opportunities to showcase his best abilities.
Gianluigi Donnarumma: 6/10
With AC Milan’s outfield players keeping Manchester United at bay, Donnarumma was not called into action a great deal, with the skipper making just one save all game. Could not have done much to deny Amad Diallo.
Davide Calabria: 6/10
A solid night’s work for Calabria, who typically posed a threat in the final third and could have grabbed an assist on another day. Won 7 duels in addition to completing 3 tackles and as many interceptions.
Simon Kjaer: 7/10
🇩🇰 SIMON KJAER YOU BEAUTIFUL VIKING! ⚽️pic.twitter.com/Rc2HByZGKu
— SempreMilan (@SempreMilanCom) March 11, 2021
The man who made the difference in the end for AC Milan, Kjaer popped up in the right place at the right time to grab the equaliser. Quite solid otherwise, winning 5 duels in addition to 4 tackles and 3 interceptions.
Fikayo Tomori: 6/10
A solid performance undone by a moment of lapse in concentration. Tomori was an immovable object for the most part against Manchester United but was caught out of position when Amad Diallo netted the opener.
Diogo Dalot: 6.5/10
Playing against his parent club, Dalot looked purposeful in his display and created some decent openings. Defended well on his side, with Greenwood seldom getting the better of him.
Soualiho Meite: 7/10
Given a chance to impress and that is exactly what Meite did, as he was extremely precise with the ball at his feet, completing 94 percent of his passes. Also put in a shift off the ball, winning 7 duels while completing 4 tackles and 3 interceptions.
Franck Kessie: 8/10
The clear standout in the game, Kessie was unfortunate to see a goal being ruled out. Otherwise, he was a colossal presence in midfield, disrupting Manchester United’s moves while pushing Milan forward with purpose. Such a critical player for the Rossoneri.
😣 Beautiful goal from Kessie disallowed. The right call?
— SempreMilan (@SempreMilanCom) March 11, 2021
Alexis Saelemaekers: 6.5/10
A bundle of energy on the right flank, Saelemaekers worked extremely hard on the pitch and even played a game-high 3 key passes. Looked to carve open spaces and helped Calabria in the defensive phase.
Brahim Diaz: 5/10
A game to forget for Diaz, who flitted in and out of the proceedings and just could not manage to make the sort of impact he would have wanted. Did play 2 key passes, but needed to do more from his role.
Rade Krunic: 7/10
Impressive yet again by Krunic, who was stationed on the left flank this time. The Bosnian was a nippy customer in the final third and did not misplace too many passes. Most importantly he delivered the assist for Kjaer’s equaliser.
Rafael Leao: 6/10
Nearly scored an early goal only to be pulled back by the offside flag. Leao used his movement to get those behind him into the game while also playing a key pass. Did not get many opportunities to score himself, though.
Sandro Tonali: 6/10
Sent on in place of Diaz, Tonali put a shift in off the ball while powering Milan forward when given the chance to do so. A bright cameo.
Samu Castillejo: 5/10
On for Saelemaekers, Castillejo was rather anonymous for the final 20 minutes, getting just 12 touches on the ball.
Pierre Kalulu: N/A
On for Calabria, Kalulu hardly saw enough action to be rated.