Ciprian Tatarusanu and Pierre Kalulu stood out as AC Milan held FC Porto to a 1-1 draw in a Champions League Group B tie on Wednesday.

The game started on the worst possible note for AC Milan. After Evanilson found the side netting just a minute into the game, Luis Diaz scored for the second successive game against the Rossoneri after being put through on goal by Marko Grujic. Thereafter, FC Porto continued to be the stronger of the two sides, with the hosts managing just one shot on target.

AC Milan upped the tempo post the half-time break, as Pierre Kalulu replaced Davide Calabria, with the Frenchman providing more verve and defensive solidity. The 21-year-old would go on to make a telling impact as he showed tremendous awareness through a melee created in the wake of a free-kick by Ismael Bennacer to spray the ball into the box, with Chancel Mbemba then tapping it into his own net when attempting a clearance.

Late in the game, both sides had a few opportunities to break the deadlock for a second time, but the game ended level. The result means Porto have climbed up to second in the Group B standings, while Milan remain rock-bottom with a solitary point and in need of two wins in their remaining games to stand a chance of making the Round of 16. The Hard Tackle now runs the rule over Stefano Pioli’s men.

Ciprian Tatarusanu: 7/10

Tatarusanu has had some big boots to fill in recent weeks, and he finally came to the fore with a top-class performance in the AC Milan goal. The Romanian goalkeeper could not have done much to deny Luis Diaz, but he made a string of saves to keep out several dangerous efforts by Porto, keeping his side in the game in the process.

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Davide Calabria: 5/10

A game to forget for Calabria, as he failed to track Luis Diaz on a number of occasions, including in the build-up to the FC Porto goal, thereby putting Fikayo Tomori under pressure. The Italian international barely forayed into the opposition half and carried no threat with the ball at his feet.

Fikayo Tomori: 6/10

A difficult game for Tomori, who was put under pressure by Calabria’s poor defending in the first half, when he suffered against Luis Diaz. However, the English international managed to stand strong at the heart of the AC Milan defence, winning eight duels while completing three clearances. But he was sloppy at times with the ball at his feet.

Alessio Romagnoli: 6/10

Starting ahead of Simon Kjaer, Romagnoli made some questionable decisions, especially when organising the backline. In addition, the AC Milan captain had some disappointing moments when playing out from the back. However, he was crucial in alleviating the danger on several occasions, completing five clearances and a couple of blocks.

Theo Hernandez: 6/10

After a difficult outing against AS Roma, this was a much-improved showing by Theo Hernandez, who was the most potent outlet for Milan against Porto. Defensively, he suffered a couple of hairy moments, and some of his passing was lacklustre. However, the French international was the reason why several dangerous chances were created.

Sandro Tonali: 6/10

A game of hits and misses for Tonali, who was somewhat wasteful in possession but incredibly important off the ball. The young midfielder cut out quite a few budding Porto attacks courtesy of some smart positioning. Tonali continues to grow in stature with every passing game.

Ismael Bennacer: 5/10

Wednesday’s outing was a classic case of a game of two halves for Bennacer. The match started on the worst possible note for the Algerian international, as he lost the ball cheaply in the build-up to Luis Diaz’s goal and looked overwhelmed by the Porto press. However, he stepped up post the interval, playing a key role in Milan’s improved control over the game.

Alexis Saelemaekers: 5/10

Saelemaekers was a bright spark for AC Milan on the right flank and worked hard to help Calabria and Pierre Kalulu out on his side of the pitch. However, the Belgian made a meal of the chance that came his way, shooting off target while hardly ever creating an opportunity himself. He has to step up with his output.

Brahim Diaz: 5/10

A frustrating game for Brahim Diaz, as he was not found by his teammates nearly as much as what was ideal. A bit wasteful on a few instances, and it looks like he is still making his way back to peak sharpness.

Rafael Leao: 6/10

After a slow start, Leao grew into the game quite nicely, showing some nice chemistry with Theo Hernandez. The Portuguese forward even created a decent chance for Saelemaekers, only for the Belgian to miss the target. He put in the hard yards off the ball but lost it cheaply at times too.

Olivier Giroud: 6/10

Wednesday’s showing was a typically industrious performance by Giroud, who put in the hard yards and even dropped as deep as his own half at times to help his team out in a difficult first half. The Frenchman came close to scoring midway through the opening period, only to be denied by a fingertip save by Diogo Costa. However, some of his passing was clumsy and alleviated the pressure off Porto.

SUBSTITUTES

Pierre Kalulu: 7/10

On for Calabria at half-time, Kalulu proved to be a major upgrade on the Italian international. The Frenchman proved to be decisive in earning a point. Oddly, though, his assist came from the left-hand side instead of the right, but it got the job done in the end. The 21-year-old was also more solid on the day than Calabria, proving to be one of the better players for Milan.

Rade Krunic: 5/10

Despite being on the pitch for nearly 25 minutes, Krunic only managed eight touches on the ball, failing to provide that spark in the final third to complete the comeback.

Franck Kessie: 6/10

It was a surprising call to not Kessie him in the starting lineup. However, upon replacing Tonali, the Ivorian was a tad-bit wasteful on the ball, although he did provide some much-needed physical presence.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic: N/A

Introduced with 15 minutes left in the game, Ibrahimovic did not get too many chances coming his way. The veteran striker did have the ball in the back of the net late on, only to be denied by a fair offside call.

Daniel Maldini: N/A

A late introduction, Maldini barely got a touch on the ball late on.

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