Saturday, April 20, 2024
HomeSerie AOnly Rafael Leao's trick shot can overcome Carnesecchi

Only Rafael Leao’s trick shot can overcome Carnesecchi

A fantastic feat, an unnecessary penalty and the witch Carnesecchi – that’s how Milan’s home game against Atalanta Bergamo can be summarized. In the end, it was only enough for the favorites to draw 1-1.

After a good start to the new soccer year 2024, AC Milan have recently suffered a few setbacks – most notably the unnecessary 4-2 defeat in the Lombardy clash with Monza. And the 3-2 defeat in Rennes in the second leg of the Europa League knockout play-offs – even if it did not really jeopardize their progress – is unlikely to have put coach Stefano Pioli in a reflective mood.

The Milan coach from 2022 must have been all the more pleased with the opening phase of the next Lombardy Serie A clash – this time at home against Atalanta Bergamo. His charges stepped on the gas right from the start, exuding dominance and pushing hard.

An early and wonderful highlight included: Rafael Leao asserted himself strongly against two opponents on a typical dribble on the far left, moved inside and then flicked the ball into the top right corner from an acute angle. A dream goal that was duly celebrated. The fans paid homage to the Portuguese and his teammates hugged and hugged extensively

Giroud’s foul hurts Milan

What also made the goal in the 3rd minute of the game special was that it was only Rafael Leao’s fourth goal of the season – apart from eight assists – and his first since the 1-0 win over Hellas Verona at the end of September (!).

However, the lead meant that the Rossoneri were too complacent in the long run, and they did not do enough going forward from minute to minute – and made Atalanta, coached by Gian Piero Gasperini (most recently 3-0 against Sassuolo), strong.

However, apart from a Holm shot that Maignan did not save well (13′), Bergamo’s attacking efforts often came to nothing. This was also due to Theo standing his ground and making an outstanding save in a running duel with Koopmeiners with a sliding tackle in his own penalty area (38′). And yet Milan, who were the better side overall, had to live with a 1:1 score at the break because Giroud was unfortunate in his own penalty area against Holm and, after a VAR study and review area review by referee Daniele Orsato, there was clear contact. Koopmeiners converted the resulting penalty in the middle of the box to equalize (42′).

In the second half, the home side remained in control of the game – and were never to lose it. In the second 45 minutes, there was ultimately no good attacking phase from the visitors, who focused exclusively on defending and trying to keep the score at 1-1.

And that was exactly what Gasperini’s men ultimately managed to do, but it was basically all down to Carnesecchi. The strong keeper, who had replaced Musso on the bench and had become the clear number one, made excellent saves against Calabria (61) and Rafael Leao (80). Loftus-Cheek (68), Pulisic (69) and Giroud (80) also missed the best opportunities. The latter’s finish was saved by substitute Zappacosta with a header from just outside his own goal line

And so Milan had to live with a 1-1 draw despite their clear superiority, which means the following in the table: The Rossoneri underpinned their third place with this one point, but had to let second-placed Juventus go after their late 3-2 win over Frosinone. Bergamo, meanwhile, lost fourth place in the Champions League to surprise club FC Bologna (2:0 against Hellas Verona).

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