AC Milan will not give up. He has an excellent physical condition and thanks to his legs and fresh head he also beat Roma, hooking Napoli for the moment at 42 points and going up to -6 from Rome itself. Clear, well-deserved victory, with goals from Rebic and the rigor of Calhanoglu, conquered with a second half of good game. Roma, which had two days less to recover from the previous day, folded in on itself in the second half and while Pioli it put inside players alive like Saelemaekers e Paquetà, his colleague Fonseca removed Dzeko. It was like saying “we don’t believe it anymore”.
AN ITALIAN ROME – No change for the Rossoneri coach compared to the victory in Lecce also thanks to those 48 hours more than Roma to recover, a revolution for Fonseca with six new players compared to the success on Sampdoria. Three new defense quarters (Zappacosta, Mancini e Spinazzola), one in two medians (Cristante), two out of three in the midfielder line (Kluivert e Lorenzo Pellegrini), these were the news in the Rome that showed up at San Siro with a very Italian team: 6 out of 11. In the end all those changes took something away from Rome as a team identity.
32 DEGREES – At 17.15, when Giacomelli started the game, there were 32 degrees on the San Siro lawn and the temperature inevitably affected the pace. The first half was a tear, a bit of Rome, a bit of Milan, Dzeko’s first chance (for someone like him it was a wrong goal: header on a cross by Kluivert, ball out), with 20 ‘of good Rome, then two chances for Milan in the best moment of the Rossoneri. The first of these two opportunities came to the conclusion of the most beautiful action, all vertically, of the Pioli team: Bennacer, Calhanoglu, Rebic’s heel-assist, waving Bonaventure from the edge of the area, but aim too high. A goal was wrong too Calhanoglu, head, on a cross by Hernandez. There was nothing else in the first half, if not the effort of keeping an adequate rhythm. Bennacer seemed the most lucid of the four midfielders of the race, the outsiders suffered a lot from both sides. He pushed Hernandez, the best of the full-backs of the race, but the 45 ‘draw did not make a wrinkle.
MILAN IS BETTER – The two more days of rest and the changes of Pioli have made Milan grow in rhythm, intensity and danger. Saelemaekers brought dynamism and accelerations always accompanying the action, Paquetà a bit of technique and speed, so the Rossoneri around the middle of the second half took possession of the game and created two scoring chances. The one of Calhanoglu, after another action well conducted by the whole team and finished by Saelemaekers, was deflected for a corner by Viewpoint with a feat. It’s still Viewpoint he deflected a grassland finish back in the corner Paquetà. Fonseca also refreshed the team by removing Mkhitaryan (the best in Rome) and Dzeko, the protagonist of the victory over Sampdoria. With Perotti and Kalinic he was looking for something that Roma at that moment could not give. And taking Dzeko out, mah, didn’t seem like a great idea.
THE GUIZZO OF REBIC – Milan was fresher, had more energy than Roma, was brighter and took the lead when he had the game in hand. It was Zappacosta’s mistake (backward step too slow) to snap Pioli’s team towards Mirante’s door. As soon as Rebic has harpooned the ball, Saelemaekers, Calhanoglu, Kessie and Paquetà left as shards, confirming a still remarkable athletic strength. In the small area, after Paquetà’s cross from the left, everything happened and to overcome Mirante the third conclusion was needed in a few seconds: Saelemaekers assists, half turn by Kessie, rejected by the Romanist goalkeeper, Rebic tap-in, deflection of Mirante on the post, new attempt by Rebic and ball inside.
THE RIGOR OF CALHANOGLU – Fonseca tried with Pastore, but Roma was now off, without energy. Milan started again and a Calhanoglu-Hernandez exchange led to the 2-0 penalty for a Smalling foul on Hernandez, after a wrong touch by Diawara. Calhanoglu asked Kessie, the penalty holder, to beat the penalty and transformed it. Two final zero, just like that.
Milan-Roma (first half 0-0)
Markers: 32′ st Rebic (Mi), 44 ‘ st rig.Calhanoglu (Mi)
MILAN (4-2-3-1): G.Donnarumma; Conti, Kjaer, Romagnoli, Hernandez; Kessie, Bennacer; Castillejo (from 9 ‘st Saelemaekers), Bonaventura (from 9’ st Paquetà), Calhanoglu; Rebic (from 33 ‘st Leao). All.: Pioli. Available.: Begovic, A.Donnarumma, Calabria, Laxalt, Saelemaekers, Gabbia, Krunic, Biglia, Paquetà, Brescianini, Maldini, Leao.
ROMA (4-2-3-1 ): Mirante; Zappacosta, Mancini, Smalling, Spinazzola; Cristante (from 35 ‘st Pastore), Veretout; Kluivert (from 12 ‘st Perez), Pellegrini (from 35’ st Diawara) Mkhitarian (from 24 ‘st Perotti); Dzeko (from 24 ‘st Kalinic). All.: Fonseca. Available: Cardinals, Fuzato, Kolarov, Fazio, Bruno Peres, Ibanez, Perotti, Villar, Pastore, Diawara, Under, Kalinic, Perez.
Referee: Giacomelli from Trieste