Franck Kessie was the standout performer while Zlatan Ibrahimovic got sent off as AC Milan defeated Parma 3-1 on Saturday evening.
Chasing neighbours and league leaders Inter, AC Milan made a strong start to the game against Parma away at Stadio Ennio Tardini with Franck Kessie testing the goalkeeper early in the game before Ante Rebic put the Rossoneri in front in the 8th minute after being set up by Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
Stefano Pioli’s men continued to control the proceedings and managed to find the second goal on the cusp of half-time through Kessie. The second half, however, was not off to the best of starts for Milan as Ibrahimovic got sent off for arguing with the referee. Parma made the most of the numerical advantage with Riccardo Gagliolo pulling one back for his team.
However, the Rossoneri held on to their narrow lead up until the stoppage time before Rafael Leao added a third to put the game to bed. The result means, that Milan are still eight points behind their arch-rivals. Here’s how we rated the performances of Pioli’s men on Saturday evening.
Gianluigi Donnarumma: 6/10
Not much to do in the first period but pulled off a fine double save to deny Juraj Kucka and Graziano Pelle early after the half-time break. Couldn’t have done much about the goal.
Pierre Kalulu: 6/10
Preferred over Diogo Dalot at right-back, the 20-year-old did what was needed of him in the defensive side of things effecting two interceptions along with a tackle and an interception each. Didn’t offer much in terms of attacking outlet on the right.
Simon Kjaer: 6.5/10
Solid defensively as the veteran defender read the game well to cut out any threats. Made a game-high three interceptions along with three clearances. Misplaced just two of his 34 passes, playing some nice balls into the forwards.
Fikayo Tomori: 6.5/10
AC Milan manager Stefano Pioli abour Fikayo Tomori: “We are so happy with Tomori, our plan with him is so clear. We want to confirm Fikayo and our plan is to keep him next season. Let’s see what happens with Chelsea”. 🔴 #ACMilan #CFC
— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) April 10, 2021
Much like his defensive partner, the Chelsea loanee put in another assured and steady display at the heart of the Milan backline. Strong and aggressive in his challenges, calm and accurate when on the ball. Has grown into a vital player for Milan in a short time.
Theo Hernandez: 7/10
Got forward with his usual vigour on the left and made a couple of dribbles and key passes, while also getting the assist for the all-important second goal close to half-time. Buckled down and defended well after his team were a man down, making a game-high five clearances.
Franck Kessie: 7.5/10
The standout performer for AC Milan on the evening, the Ivory Coast international was up for it from the word go, forcing Luigi Sepe into a save just six minutes into the game. Drove the team forward when on the ball, did his bit off the ball as well and scored the second goal on the cusp of half-time – his tenth of the season. Completed 90% of his passes, played one key pass and worked extremely hard following Ibrahimovic’s sending off.
— Milan Reports (@MilanReports) April 10, 2021
Ismael Bennacer: 6.5/10
Solid if not spectacular. Kept things in check in the middle of the park, making a game-high four tackles. Precise with his passing, Bennacer started the move for the opening goal. Seemed to get fatigued with time, which is expected given the time he spent out on the sidelines.
Alexis Saelemaekers: 5.5/10
Back on the right-wing after starting as a full-back last game, the Belgian had a few positive moments on the ball but wasn’t able to make much of an impact in the final third. Completed two dribbles but failed to take a single shot or play a single key pass. Did put in the hard yards off the ball.
Hakan Calhanoglu: 6/10
Still not quite at his best after his injury layoff, the Turkish international showed some flashes of quality, playing in a couple of key passes. But in an overall sense, did not have the impact that is expected of someone of his stature.
Ante Rebic: 7/10
Back into the starting XI, the Croatian AC Milan up and running with a well-taken goal early in the game. Played one key pass and wasn’t shy of doing the dirty work off the ball, which was needed after Milan were reduced to ten men.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic: 5/10
Zlatan Ibrahimovic has been directly involved in 17 goals in just 17 Serie A appearances for Milan this season.
What an assist that was. 🤩 pic.twitter.com/L3JHJkZzit
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) April 10, 2021
Started the game on a promising note, setting Rebic up for the opening goal with a nice pass. Was involved in the buildup to the second goal as well. However, got into an argument with the referee and was sent off for dissent in the 60th minute, letting his team down in a huge way. Thankfully, Milan held together and came out on top.
Soualiho Meite: 5/10
On for Bennacer in the 72nd minute. Had just five touches and did not play a single pass.
Diogo Dalot: 6.5/10
Sent on in place of Saelemaekers in the 72nd minute. Got the assist for the third goal. Looked good in attack and solid in defence, winning some important duels before setting up the third goal for Leao.
Rade Krunic: N/A
Replaced Calhanoglu in the 77th minute.
Matteo Gabbia: N/A
Came on to replace Kalulu with less than 15 minutes left.
Rafael Leao: N/A
On for Rebic in the 84th minute, put the game to bed with the third goal in stoppage time.