Hakan Calhanoglu and Zlatan Ibrahimovic were among those who were impressive as AC Milan ran out 2-0 winners against Benevento at San Siro on Saturday.
AC Milan made a superb start to the game, taking the lead just five minutes in as Hakan Calhanoglu finished off a fine move by scoring from Alexis Saelemaekers’ lay-off with a first-time shot. The hosts, thereafter, had plenty of chances to double their advantage, while Benevento threatened on occasion as well; but neither goal was breached heading into half-time, with Milan ahead by the odd goal.
Post the break, AC Milan were off the blocks quickly, only for Zlatan Ibrahimovic to be denied by Lorenzo Montipo. At the hour mark, Ibrahimovic was denied again, but the Rossoneri went on to double their advantage, as Theo Hernandez was in the right place at the right time to find the back of the net.
Benevento then pressed ahead to get a goal back and saw much more of the ball in the final quarter of the game. However, Milan held on to clinch the 2-0 win, which takes them to second on the table with Atalanta, Napoli and Juventus all slated to play on Sunday. The Hard Tackle now runs the rule over Stefano Pioli’s men.
Gianluigi Donnarumma: 7/10
Once again, Donnarumma did his part well, making a big save when called into action. Otherwise, the AC Milan no. 1 enjoyed a quiet evening while completing all but one pass that he attempted.
Diogo Dalot: 6/10
Reinstated to the starting lineup, Dalot suffered some nervy moments off the ball in the first half but improved as the game wore on, winning 3 duels while making 3 clearances as well. Carried a threat when he bombed down the right flank and even played a couple of key passes.
Fikayo Tomori: 6/10
Much-improved after a disastrous performance last time out against Lazio, Tomori was helped by the presence of Alessio Romagnoli at the heart of the AC Milan defence. His own output was a testament to that, as he won each of the duels he contested while making 5 clearances and a block. Completed 42 of the 48 passes he attempted as well, playing out from the back efficiently.
Alessio Romagnoli: 7/10
Back in the starting lineup in place of Simon Kjaer, Romagnoli was intent on showing just what AC Milan had missed in their two losses. A solid presence at the back, the Milan captain hardly put a step wrong and was imperious in the air as well, winning each of his 4 aerial duels. Made 4 clearances and a block as well, in what was a superb performance.
Theo Hernandez: 7/10
2-0 AC Milan. Theo Hernandez doubles the lead! pic.twitter.com/5mTFxcDmkU
— 𝐀𝐅𝐂 𝐀𝐉𝐀𝐗 💎 (@TheEuropeanLad) May 1, 2021
A top-notch effort by Hernandez, who was not called into action a great deal at the back, which, in turn, allowed him to charge upfield and add to the bodies in the final third. Boasted an excellent passing rate of 91 percent while also coming close to scoring in the first half. Did get his goal in the second half, though, when he scored from a rebound after Zlatan Ibrahimovic had his shot saved.
Franck Kessie: 7/10
In a brilliant start to the game, Kessie showed some neat footwork to spark the move that ended up with the opening goal of the game, even producing a dummy before Hakan Calhanoglu scored. Played a game-high 3 key passes and linked up brilliantly with Calhanoglu all throughout. A pass completion rate of 94 percent was simply outstanding while he was solid in defence as well.
Ismael Bennacer: 6.5/10
There was not a whole lot that Bennacer had to do on the defensive front in the opening 45 minutes as AC Milan were firmly in control. This meant that the Algerian international could take up positions higher up the pitch and he even conjured up a shot at goal, which was blocked. Completed most of the passes he attempted before being taken off at half-time.
Alexis Saelemaekers: 7/10
As ever, Saelemaekers was a bundle of energy high up the pitch and did well to set up Calhanoglu for the first goal that AC Milan scored. Linked up superbly with Calhanoglu and Zlatan Ibrahimovic and even created a chance for the latter, but did not get rewarded with a second assist. Recycled the ball smartly all throughout, misplacing just two passes through his stay on the pitch.
Hakan Calhanoglu: 8/10
Top notch effort by Calhanoglu, who linked up smartly with Kessie, including in the build-up to his goal and then made no error in finding the back of the net from Saelemaekers’ lay-off. Thereafter, the Turkish playmaker was at the heart of every move that AC Milan were involved in and played a couple of key passes as well. Decision-making was suspect at times, but this was a job well done by Calhanoglu.
50 – @hakanc10 is the fourth Turkish player able to score 50 goals in the top-5 European leagues since 1/1/2000, after Mevlüt Erdinç (92), Nihat Kahveci (76) and Halil Altintop (67). Sprint.#SerieA #MilanBenevento pic.twitter.com/ibww1LUQTh
— OptaPaolo (@OptaPaolo) May 1, 2021
Rafael Leao: 6.5/10
Back in the starting lineup, this was a much-improved showing by Leao, who got into dangerous scoring areas, although his finishing is still a bit lacklustre. Having said that, his output on the ball was surprisingly impressive, with the Portuguese forward misplacing just one pass all game. Step in the right direction.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic: 7/10
The Player to Watch in our preview, Ibrahimovic was purposeful in his display but endured a bit of a frustrating outing, with Benevento goalkeeper Montipo denying him on a number of occasions. However, it was on one such effort that the rebound kindly fell to Hernandez, who scored the second goal for AC Milan on the day. Will now hope to get that elusive goal.
Sandro Tonali: 6/10
On for Bennacer at half-time, Tonali was professional in his display, completing just about every pass that he attempted while also being solid in the defensive phases, making 3 clearances. Job well done.
Samu Castillejo: N/A
On for Saelemaekers, Castillejo hardly saw the ball in his brief cameo.
Ante Rebic: N/A
On for Leao, Rebic saw quite a bit of the ball in the final 15 minutes or so, but did not really make much of an impact.
Davide Calabria: N/A
On for Hernandez, Calabria helped see the game out without much of a fuss.
Brahim Diaz: N/A
A late introduction in place of Calhanoglu, Diaz barely had any time to make an impact.