AC Milan 3-0 Lemine Almenno: Five things we learned – dynamic trio impress

By Oliver Fisher -

AC Milan began their preseason campaign in an ideal fashion as they beat amateur side Lemine Almenno in a 60-minute friendly at Milanello.

Instead of the usual two halves of 45 minutes the game was divided up into three periods of 20 minutes to help the players who are just over a week into their preseason camp. The Rossoneri scored three goals, all in the first period, through Junior Messias, Ante Rebic and Matteo Gabbia.

Of course the standard of opposition and the fact the likes of Olivier Giroud, Divock Origi, Rafael Leao, Alexis Saelemaekers, Sandro Tonali, Fikayo Tomori, Pierre Kalulu, Davide Calabria, Ismael Bennacer and Theo Hernandez were not available means there must be some nuance, but what did we learn?

Starting brightly

The player who stood out in the 20 minutes where everything happened was undoubtedly Yacine Adli. In his first real game action for the Rossoneri, the 21-year-old playmaker looked incredibly dynamic, appearing all over to opposing half to pick up possession and try make things happen.

He got an assist to his name for the first goal, showing great composure to resist the temptation of a shot from 20 yards, sliding in Messias instead who buried inside the far corner. There were plenty of nice pass-and-move plays involving the former Bordeaux man, and he also had a commanding physical presence in the final third that Milan have lacked with Brahim Diaz.

Determination on show

The upcoming season is a big one for Ante Rebic after a 2021-22 campaign that was disrupted with injuries and meant he only scored two league goals. There have been rumours of potential offers, but he has put it all to one side and wants redemption.

That was in display in the friendly today. The Croatian was very much a roaming centre-forward, dropping in to connect attacks, running deep to stretch the defence and also knowing when the right time was to pull the trigger as his goal to make it 2-0 showed. Positive signs.

Missed opportunities

We have to sandwich some bad in with the good, and unfortunately there were a couple of players that would have hoped to have grabbed their chances to impress a bit better than they did.

Both Daniel Maldini and Brahim Diaz got the chance to join the attack during the game as substitutes, and both of them missed glorious opportunities in fairly similar circumstances as the ball fell to them deep inside the box and they blasted over the bar.

Aside from that, the Spaniard did show some positive signs but on occasion again fell victim to thinking he could spin his man every time. We hope that his performances grow as preseason continues.

Lighting a spark

After the middle spell of 20 minutes produced virtually nothing in terms of action or clean cut scoring chances, it was the introduction of Chaka Traore that stood out in the final period.

The Ivorian winger was deployed on the left and he played with the kind of confidence that would make you forget he is 17. He didn’t get his name on the scoreboard, but showed lots of dynamism with his quick and direct turns and dribbles, demonstrating good footwork too.

It could be a big season for the former Parma man, one in which he will look to build on the 8 goals and 5 assists he amassed in 25 Primavera games last season, though other routes are open such as a loan spell.

Jury out

As mentioned above, Pobega did play a role in the first goal by getting a ‘hockey assist’ (pass before the assist), but the game left us with a few persisting question marks above his role for the season ahead.

By that we do not only mean his role in terms of best position on the field – be that as an attacking midfielder, a mezzala or in the double pivot – but also how much playing time he will get to round off those rough edges and get up to speed.

The games in Germany and Hungary that are coming up will be key to see exactly where the 22-year-old is at, but it does seem Milan have already made their choice to keep him around.

Tags AC Milan Milan Lemine Almenno


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