AC Milan earned a crucial 2-1 comeback victory against Lazio, courtesy of a last-gasp goal from Sandro Tonali, to move back to the top of the Serie A standings.
The Serie A title race took another twist on Sunday night when AC Milan came from behind to defeat Lazio 2-1, thanks to a late Sandro Tonali goal in second-half stoppage time.
Reigning champions Inter Milan had moved to the top of the standings with a dominant 3-1 win over AS Roma on Saturday, putting pressure on Milan to react on a dicey trip to Rome to face an unpredictable Lazio side.
The Rossoneri quickly fell behind as Ciro Immobile tucked home from a Sergej Milinkovic-Savic cross in the fourth minute to put the hosts ahead. Milan piled on the pressure on the home side and had plenty of chances to find an equaliser in the first half, unleashing 12 shots on Lazio’s goal, but none of them were successful.
However, the visitors’ pressure paid off as Olivier Giroud levelled things up in the 50th minute after some good work by Rafael Leao down the left flank. But the game looked headed for a draw as Milan could not add to their tally, until they somehow found a way to get the winner in the second minute of stoppage time.
Lazio failed to deal with a cross after Ante Rebic won a 50-50 ball on the left-wing. Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who came off the bench in search of a winner, got on the end of the botched clearance and nodded it into the path of Tonali, who bundled it past Strakosha to trigger wild celebrations amongst the away supporters.
Third-placed Napoli have practically ruled themselves out of title contention after their latest slip-up at Empoli, meaning it will be cross-city Milan rivals battling it out for the Scudetto in the next five games. The Rossoneri left it late on Sunday and there were a few players to praise for what was a very important win in the context of the title race.
Mike Maignan: 7/10
Maignan had a fairly comfortable night as Lazio had just two shots on target. The French international had no chance to stop Ciro Immobile from scoring the opener. He was aggressive, took command of his box, and when Immobile played Mattia Zaccagni through on goal, Maignan raced out and executed a well-timed tackle to halt the attack. He was on hand to stop crosses and also did a good job of launching attacks from the back.
Davide Calabria: 6/10
The Milan right-back did not give Stefan Radu or Mattia Zaccagni much time or space to exploit defensively. But he was rather quiet on the attacking end of the pitch as his end product was lacking. Still, he worked really hard and was reasonably solid in his defensive duties, providing the critical balance in the game’s dying embers.
Pierre Kalulu: 6/10
A roller-coaster of a game for Kalulu. While the Frenchman was steady for the most part, he started the game poorly by failing to mark Immobile for Lazio’s goal. Otherwise, the 21-year-old was hardly troubled by any of the Lazio attackers and was a vital component in the build-up, showing composure with the ball at his feet.
Fikayo Tomori: 5.5/10
Like Kalulu, the Englishman had a terrible start to the game. He could have done a lot better to thwart Lazio’s opening goal, and later committed a huge mistake by gifting the ball away in the defensive third that nearly resulted in another goal. He did, however, improve in the second half, and eventually made up for his errors.
Theo Hernandez: 8/10
Theo Hernandez put forth a near-complete left-back performance both offensively and defensively. After Milan’s disappointing first half, he was off the shackles and took up more advanced positions.
The Frenchman provided quality attacking support, combined well with his teammates, and was very involved in the attack, as he played his part in the first goal with a superb long ball to Leao. Theo managed to create a couple of chances from dangerous deliveries and was defensively assured, making a match-high 4 tackles.
Sandro Tonali: 8.5/10
Sandro Tonali's 92nd-minute winner against Lazio puts Milan back on top of Serie A 💥 pic.twitter.com/Vu4q79LAG1
— B/R Football (@brfootball) April 24, 2022
A dominant performance from the Italian international, who is gradually establishing himself as a key player for Milan. Tonali was at his usual best, facilitating play well from the deep midfield position while also working his socks off to shield the back-four to good effect. And his winning goal right at the death could prove to be a crucial one for Rossoneri’s pursuit of the Scudetto, and that makes all the difference.
Franck Kessie: 6.5/10
Kessie, like Tonali, had some less-than-spectacular moments, but he was also absolutely critical for the team because of his physicality, which kept the lethal Lazio duo of Milinkovic-Savic and Luis Alberto quiet throughout the game, barring the opening five minutes. In that sense, Kessie had a strong game in the defensive midfield, winning multiple tackles and providing a much-needed, reliable box-to-box outlet.
Junior Messias: 7/10
The Brazilian was one of Milan’s more dangerous attacking players on the night. He was dynamic in the right-side channel, forcing the issue and creating several chances for the Rossoneri. In the second half, he had his best moment as he nearly scored the game-winning goal, but his low shot drifted just wide of the post, while his final touch was lacking on another shot that ended up just off target.
Brahim Diaz: 4/10
Brahim did not stand out again in this match, as he was not involved nearly enough, with only 26 touches in his 67 minutes before being subbed off the pitch. With the exception of a nice nutmeg, he did not offer much to Milan’s attack, lacking creativity and cutting edge, and the Spaniard’s poor form continued.
Rafael Leao: 7/10
Leao was Milan’s creative spark on the night, and was a real menace in the opposition third, as the Portuguese winger turned in yet another phenomenal performance. His break for the first goal was breathtaking before making a great back-pass to set Giroud up. His pace made him a nightmare to defend against in one-on-one situations, while he utilised his speed and technical skills to dribble past opponents effortlessly.
Olivier Giroud: 8/10
13 Goals & Assists in the Serie A having started 18 games whilst being a big game player.
— Dubois (@CFCDUBois) April 24, 2022
The French veteran demonstrated once again that, if given the right service, he can be a reliable finisher for Milan upfront. In the first half, Giroud had a few shots with his head but failed to hit the target. He took his chance well five minutes after the break, and his clinical nature to finish off opportunities could prove pivotal in the games to come.
The classic poacher’s goal also snapped his six-game goalless rut, and his return to form could not have come at a better time with Milan heading into the final stretch of the season.
Ante Rebic: 7/10
Rebic pushed for a second goal in the closing moments. He injected some directness and intensity into the Milan attack and had one shot that Thomas Strakosha stopped. He was also instrumental in the winning goal, having recovered the ball just seconds before.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic: 7/10
Ibrahimovic did not see a whole lot of the ball, as he had only 11 touches in his first appearance in some time, but he was decisive when needed. The Swede not only provided the winning assist but also had a shot saved by Strakosha. His presence will be key for this season’s finale and Milan’s Scudetto bid.
Rade Krunic: 6/10
The Bosnian did not do anything remarkable, but he kept his composure, which was precisely what Pioli needed in such a tense situation.
Alexis Saelemaekers: N/A
Did not play enough to warrant a rating.