AC Milan moved to the top of Serie A after a comfortable 2-0 win over bottom-placed Salernitana on Saturday.
AC Milan kept the pressure at the top and moved ahead of Napoli, who are due to play on Sunday. Inter Milan also won their clash against AS Roma, which could put further pressure on the Partenopei to win their matchday fixture.
On to the game, Milan never really lost control against bottom-placed Salernitana and breezed away to a 2-0 win. Two goals within a 20-minute span were enough to secure three points as Mike Maignan had a quiet day between the posts.
Milan kept almost 70 per cent of the possession during the clash, allowing Salernitana no room to build up or create many chances. The home team mustered 22 shots during the game, with nine directed on target while allowing their opponents a decent seven efforts, with only two on target.
While Franck Kessie opened the scoring early on, Alexis Saelemaekers was delighted to have scored his first goal for Milan this season, effectively wrapping up the game in the first half itself. The Rossoneri, having topped the table, for now, will be hoping for miracles on Sunday and pray for Napoli to lose ground, as they would be happy sitting at the summit heading into the next matchday. Here’s how the Milan players fared in their 2-0 win over Salernitana.
Mike Maignan: 6/10
Maignan had nothing to do all game as he comfortably saved the two paltry shots directed towards his goal. The Salernitana attackers lacked anything to trouble the French goalkeeper, who would be happy with the clean sheet.
Alessandro Florenzi: 6.5/10
Florenzi took to his role as right-back well in the game, making several forward runs and putting in some good crosses. His passing looked improved as the full-back provided the width and necessary impetus in attack.
Fikayo Tomori: 6/10
Tomori, much like the rest of the Milan defenders, had a comfortable day at the back. He kept possession and, alongside Alessio Romagnoli, he did not let the Salernitana attackers come close to creating anything dangerous.
Alessio Romagnoli: 6/10
Like Tomori, he had nothing great to deal with in terms of threats from the opposition. The AC Milan captain looked comfortable enough with his defensive partner as Romagnoli will have to play plenty of matches alongside him after Simon Kjaer sustained a season-ending injury.
Theo Hernandez: 7/10
Like Florenzi on the other flank, Hernandez was a constant threat getting forward. He played his part and would be disappointed not to have got a goal or assist against lowly opposition.
Franck Kessie: 8/10
Kessie was at his efficient best, with the midfielder creating all sorts of problems for the opposition. The Ivorian scored the opening goal with a low-driven finish and could have got a second from a volley.
Tiemoue Bakayoko: 5/10
Possibly the worst Milan player on the day, Bakayoko continues to make fans nervous when he is on the ball. He was sloppy in possession and a few wayward passes could have been punished if the opposition had the quality. He got himself booked for a stamp, which forced Pioli to haul him off.
Alexis Saelemaekers: 8/10
Saelemaekers’s hard-working performances were finally rewarded as the winger got his first goal of the season with a good curling finish. The strike should build up confidence in him to take on bigger challenges this season.
Brahim Diaz: 6/10
While his creative influence cannot be questioned, Diaz missed plenty of chances in the game, including one where he had an open net at his mercy. He needs to improve his finishing drastically.
Rafael Leao: 7/10
Leao had a productive time on the pitch, creating plenty of chances and getting an assist. Taken off at half-time as Pioli took the chance to provide him with some rest.
Pietro Pellegri: N/A
A sad day for Pellegri after going down injured around the 15th-minute mark. It is a setback for Milan, who are thin on their forward options.
Rade Krunic: 6/10
Considering Milan’s striker situation, Pioli replaced Pellegri with Krunic and played him out of position. He did well playing the advanced position, although he clearly is not the answer in the role if the injury troubles continue upfront.
Ismael Bennacer: 6/10
Bennacer replaced the out of sorts Bakayoko and did a better job in midfield. He created some good chances too, with a notable one for Diaz, who missed it badly.
Junior Messias: 6/10
An anonymous display after coming on at half-time, although the game was already won with Salernitana never looking threatening to overcome a 2-0 deficit.
Fode Ballo-Toure: 6/10
He replaced Hernandez as Pioli thought it best to rest the Frenchman. As for Ballo-Toure, he did a fine job in the position and played more in an advanced left-wing role.
Sandro Tonali: N/A
A late substitution to replace Kessie, Tonali did not do much to influence the game in the last ten minutes or so.