AC Milan 3-3 Genoa: Five things we learned – defensive disappointments and pleasant surprises

By Ivan Stoev -

AC Milan and Genoa played out a 3-3 draw at San Siro on Sunday evening in what was far from a defensive masterclass by either side.

Genoa went ahead when Mateo Retegui converted a penalty after a clumsy foul by Fikayo Tomori, then Alessandro Florenzi headed in to make it 1-1, but the visitors retook the lead through Caleb Ekuban as Milan’s defensive woes continued.

It looked like a Matteo Gabbia header and a volley from Olivier Giroud had bailed the Rossoneri out as they took a late 3-2 lead. However, there was to be yet another late sting as Retegui popped up again to get a late equaliser which meant Genoa left with a share of the spoils.

Even though Juventus dropped points against Roma, the draw does little to help the quest to secure second place in the table nor to ease the worries about letting in too many goals. Here are five things we learned…

1. A pleasant surprise

Alessandro Florenzi hasn’t had the best of times over the past couple of seasons as he has struggled with injuries and is 33 years of age now making his future a question mark.

However, against Genoa he seemed well up for the challenge in Davide Calabria’s absence, scoring a goal to bring his team level and then providing the assist to make it all square for a second time.

Florenzi also did his job at the back with the goals not really his fault and you can’t ask more from the right-back who managed to lead his side towards a comeback that unfortunately ended in just a point.

2. Shaken up

Fikayo Tomori has been a pillar at the back for Milan since joining, but then picked up an injury in the middle of this season season that forced him to spend a long time out.

Unfortunately for him – and as seen with Malick Thiaw too – he is finding it hard to put in consistently high level performances since his recovery, and against Genoa it was far from his best game.

Tomori was at fault for the penalty with a tackle he didn’t really need to make. He then struggled to mark Ekuban, with a sloppy clearance on the second goal and an unlucky involvement in the third.

Fortunately the result doesn’t really change the position in the standings, but the Englishman needs to work hard in pre-season to be ready to lead his team when the new season kicks off.

3. Another disappointment

Aside from a few times where he tried to run at his man, Rafael Leao produced very little. He was very predictable in truth, always looking to cut inside onto his right foot and failing to get any dangerous effort off.

When he was subbed off his replacement – Noah Okafor – made an immediate impact with some driving runs that really stretched Genoa. That came after Leao had decided to head straight to the changing room too, after being jeered by some fans.

The former Lille star is struggling in the decisive moment of the season. After starting 2024 so well for club and country, his form has drastically dipped and he is yet to recover after those very difficult games against Roma and Inter when the team needed him most.

4. The right time to part

Olivier Giroud will leave the club in the summer and it’s pretty clear that it is the right time to part ways, because at 37 years of age he is not mobile enough or efficient enough to make a difference in this Milan side.

He wasted a clear cut chance from after excellent work from Okafor and offered little except that goal that he did score, which was a nice volley at the far post but it meant he should have had a brace.

The question now is who his successor will be as it’s a position that clearly needs investment. Many names continue to be linked, but it does feel like it is an addition the management cannot get wrong.

5. Pioli gets it wrong again

Whilst we can’t blame the coach for the individual sloppiness at the back, we can blame him for the manner in which he reacted when his team finally got in the lead.

Playing against a relatively weaker side in the face of Genoa, Pioli made the decision to change formations to preserve the lead, something that has backfired many times already.

With an extra defender on it created a huge gap in the middle, inviting the pressure on, and the fact Genoa were able to force a late equaliser was a damning reflection.

It further proves that Pioli is just not the right person for the job any more because he is struggling to manage games and adapt to the opposition. He seems to get outcoached most weeks now, with Alberto Gilardino admitting his side targeted a weakness they had identified in advance.

Tags AC Milan Milan-Genoa


  1. Pioli is the most incompetent Coach we have ever had, everyone clearly see’s the 4231 system is not good for us, our midfield is always exposed, isn’t it better for him to use 3 midfielders instead of 2, and have 3 men in attack, every time we get the ball and go forward we normally are disjointed and out of ideas, in my opinion we could go for a 3421 or 352 next season, have Tomori, Thiaw and Gabbia at the back, then Kalulu on the right side of the midfield, and Hernandez on the left, we would be very secure, and have a midfield of Bennacer, Adli and Reijnders , that way the quality of our midfield improves, and we then use 2 strikers.
    We need a new Coach and new ideas, all we need is very precise buys, no need for an overhaul…

  2. Florenzi probably played his best game as a Milan player. He showed effort, commitment, and professionalism. 👏 👏👏Defensively, he didn’t have to do much because, as Gilardino said, Genoa was trying to expose Milan weakness defensively, which is the left side.
    Tomori lack of focus is also a big problem. Prior to having a brain fart and for no reason fouling a defender in the box, he was too busy fixing up his socks while the ball was only a few meters away.
    There’s not much to say about Leao. My opinion about him is already well known. He has made more noise for his social media posts than his play on the pitch. He couldn’t wait to go straight to the locker room so he could tweet, even though he said he was doing his talking on the pitch.
    When criticizing Giroud, we need to keep in mind that he is 38 years old, and he should by no mean be every day starter for a club like Milan. Also, he is still the most productive Milan player this year. Leads Milan in goals and assist in serie A. That was an awful miss, but his effort is never under question, unlike the effort of some of his teammates young enough to be his sons.
    Pioli. We still see people who continue to say that he should stay because he has Milan in 2nd place. Milan isn’t 2nd because Pioli is doing a good job, but because serie A is a$$ cheeks. Milan drew vs Genoa at home and the 3rd,4th and 5th placed team didn’t gain any points on Milan. Milan hasn’t had a win in the last 6 games, but Juventus is out$hithousing them by only having 3 wins in their last 16 games and 1 of those wins happened in Copa Italia. And yet we have some Milan and some Juventus fans that want to keep Pioli and Allegri. 🤷‍♂️
    Inter isn’t some super team, just like Napoli wasn’t a super team last year. They won because their competition was/is trash. Especially the poor coaching job by their rivals.

    1. Inter isnt super? In the league, yes. Definitely! I don’t know if you’ve noticetbut they’ve steamrolled through the league this year. Only the record breaking Juve side has had better form than them up to now. Just one more win and they’re top 4 all time in points (3pt era). If they win the rest of their games, second best… ALL TIME 🤷‍♂️
      You’re looking at an exceptional Inter bro

      1. Napoli steamrolled thru the same league last season. They finished 18 points ahead of inter and with exactly the same team, minus Kim, they are currently 38 points behind inter and 20 points behind Milan after finishing last season 20 points ahead of Milan.
        Inter, just like Napoli, took advantage of bad serie A. Even according to inter own players they thought that they had a better squad last season than they do this year.
        Nothing super about Napoli, justl like there is nothing super about this year’s Inter.
        Juventus, the biggest club in Italy has 2 wins in their last 14 serie A games. That’s 2 wins over a 3rd of the season and they are 3rd.
        Serie A is a$$ cheeks.

      2. Inter “looks” super because everyone is getting weaker. Aside from us and them, no team really attempted to strengthen their squad during the summer.
        Juve suffered from sanctions, couldn’t play in Europe and also collapsed mi-season. They have 2 wins in serie A since february and are still 3rd !!
        Lazio was ahead of both us and inter last season, look at them now. Take also a look at Napoli. Roma was also collapsing until they fired Mourinho and got De Rossi. All these teams used to be contenders for UCL spots.
        Motta’s Bologna was impressive but their ranking can be explained by the absence of true competition.
        Now of course this isn’t inter’s fault nor their problem, and in the end you can only beat the teams put in front of you, but I have the sentiment that many are trying to use inter’s “exceptional” season to justify our absence from the scudetto’s race, in other words “we are good but inter is simply too strong”, which I think is a faulty way of looking at things that doesn’t take into account the weakening of serie A this season.
        Heck, last season we had 3 Italian clubs in UCL quarter finals, and this season not a single club made it past the 1/8. And the “exceptional” inter who are “top 3 in Europe” finished second to a club who won’t even be in UCL next season (Real Sociedad) and got eliminated by the fourth club in Spain who is already eliminated.
        TLDR: We don’t have excuses this season.

        1. That definitely was TDLR.


          You thought sacking Maldini & Co, Ibra retiring, selling our talisman and dismantling our midfield, signing 10 or so new players from mostly mid-table teams in other leagues, disastrous injuries, a group of death in the champions league, a near record breaking inter benefiting from highly questionable decisions, and the fans turning on the manager before a crucial EL tie, are NOT excuses.

          I look forward to the lack of excuses next season, the season after that and to your eternal misery as reality struggles with your totally unrealistic expectations….

          1. Still not excuses.
            We sold Tonali ? inter let go of Skriniar, Brozovic, Dzeko, Lukaku just to name a few and just last summer.
            We brought 10 players from weaker leagues ? How many players inter did buy ? Thuram was for free and many of their players were unwanted in their former teams ? Pioli was happy with the squad in september, they brought him the players he wanted and he even phoned some of them.
            Yet we didn’t fight for a single title and they are in a “record breaking” shape.
            Disastrous injuries ? We didn’t have that many since january, we were almost at full squad in april, so why are we in 6 games without a win ? Plus, we have a crisis of injuries every season since 2020, why hasn’t been adressed.
            A group of death in UCL, ok then we were in EL, why couldn’t we even manage to beat Roma of all teams in freaking EL ?
            You can keep making excuses, whining and crying all you want, in the end we won NOTHING and we are almost heading back to banter era. You can try to redefine what a successfull season is, try to set up arbitrary metrics to make something look better than it is and convince yourself that a season with 0 titles in which we didn’t even fight for a single one is somehow good, but you can’t fool anyone here.
            In 2021/22 we won the scudetto, everything was suppose to improve from there and yet here we are even further from any title.
            “I look forward to the lack of excuses next season, the season after that and to your eternal misery as reality struggles with your totally unrealistic expectations….”
            I will take your attention towards my posts as a compliment.

          2. @ Giga94 Take my attention to your posts as me defending the club against toxic fans like you with your totally unrealistic expectations that will damage the long term prospects for the club.

          3. @Maldini’s heir:
            I see you didn’t give up your condescending, disrespectful ways of posting despite several posters including myself on this website pointing to you this horrible habit of yours. You’re not very different from the keyboard warriors you claim to hate. He have a diverenge of opinion and your knee-jerk reaction was to insult me personally and try to devaluate my opinion to try to make yours sound superior. And when many pointed this to you, you ignored the complains and try to deflect the arguments back to them (us).
            In a previous article in which we both commented, I thought I requested that you NEVER call me any name whatsoever. What did you fail to understand ?
            Is it that hard for you to formulate an opinion without insulting someone ? You are an adult right ? Act like one and stop disrespecting people.
            I don’t really care what you think about me as a fan or whatever, so if you’re just posting to insult me to call me “toxic” “shameless” “spoiled”,… do yourself and myself a favor and don’t bother replying.

    2. Sorry if the actual league that we’re playing in doesn’t count, what’s the measure for your (not in any way arbitrary and totally unreasonable) expectations?

      Is Pioli to be measured, I don’t know, against the Premier league?

      Something like if Milan were in the premier league (like in the multiverse there must be a reality where Milan are in the premier league) then Pioli couldn’t get Milan to finish 2nd in that league….

      It’s just utter nonsense.

      Why did you watch a game you knew you were going to be deeply dissatisfied with?

      And then spend time commenting on it.

      Anything better to do?

    We don’t learn anything we didn’t already know.
    – Players are unmotivated at this point.
    – Defense is still a joke without any organization, 34 games in.
    -No defensive mid coverage.
    -Pioli still reinventing the wheel and tactically at his limit.

    Everyone just wants the season to end so we can undergo some change.

  4. #6. #7. #8. Chukweuze must’ve farted in an elevator with Pioli or something to warrant no starts until today – and then he gets subbed off… Florenzi’s “past it” and yet plays better than Calabria half the time… and Theo’s poor performance means he’s obviously already dreaming of bratwurst and dirndl because a newspaper says so.

    1. Re Chukweuze – heard of Pulisic?

      Re Florenzi – one good game doesn’t make him better than one of our most consistent starters who marked the world’s best player out of the game in the champions league.

      Re Theo had a typical match – poor defensively and amazing going forward (except he lacked the final ball). It’s ok that he’s bad defensively because we have Calabria….

  5. ‘ struggled to mark ekuban’ when in fact Tomori was in no man’s land and didn’t actually mark him at all, what did Pioli see in training to start him? Thiaw was very good against Juve and should have started after that performance. The auto gol was not his fault but he was put in that position from another attack on the left.
    One thing I hope the new coach can instill in this team is actual team work . I honestly do not know why Pioli wants 4 to 5 players to attack the space when nobody ever passes to the open player . Wave after wave go wasted due to selfish players shooting wayword half chances when the free player is never even considered. Leao, Theo , Chuk, Florenzi and Giroud all wasted so many chances.
    We really need a coach who can make us a team as we were in Pioli’s second and third season.

  6. Atlist our season can be savage was just looking at man united playing currently I wonder how thier fans will be feeling with all the money spent this summer

    1. I think we can relate to their struggles at CB. At least we had a good Primavera player to put in so we could fill out and not have to play with a midfielder at CB. They have basically the whole defence out with injuries. Their most important player Luke Shaw has been out for a while again and when he’s not playing they are not winning. When he played they had several wins in a row.

  7. I don’t think we learnt anything we didn’t know from this match. It just reinforced beliefs.

    1. Pioli is done and the team needs a new game plan.
    2. Our defence is really bad.
    3. Pulisic looked great as a 10. Better than he has looked in recent weeks on the wing.
    4. Chuk played well as expected when he finally got a start.
    5. Too many of our attacks are wasted by players going for solo long range shots instead of playing in their team mates.
    6. Giroud is trying hard but is just too slow and should only be coming on as an extra forward late in games.

  8. Five things learned from the season:
    1. A step backward: We didn’t compete for the scudetto, out of the race before the winter break despite spending over a 100 million. We were out of the CL in the first round and lost an important player in Tonali (I know the gambling ban softens the blow).
    2. The summer recruitment was not good enough: Pulisic is the only player that was an upgrade to the starting line-up. . However, the three midfielders couldn’t replace Diaz or Tonali. Jovic did his job off the bench and Chukwueze is slowly coming along. Okafor did okay but had fitness issues and ultimately couldn’t displace Giroud. We missed out on Thuram (13 g, 13 a), and scoffed at Serie A experienced Scamacca (16 g, 5 a) and Zapata (12 g, 4 a). Stats don’t tell the whole story but watching the games, those guys have also been impressive in their link-up play.
    3. Inexperienced management: The mistakes in the transfer market aside, the management are showing their inexperience in handling the fans’ disappointment and in the appointment of a new coach. They may still pick a good coach but Maldini, Massara, and Boban acted quickly to remove Giampaolo and made a great choice in Pioli and stood by him against the fans’ twitter outrage and the Ragnick appointment because they know football.
    4. Unprofessional management: Firing Maldini was a huge mistake. The only thing worse, was the unprofessional manner in which it was done, disrespecting a legendary player and successful sporting director, not to mention leaving a new recruit (Kamada) in limbo.
    5. To end on a positive note, we got a chance to see many youth players shine and can hopefully lean on them as backups while focusing on strengthening our starting lineup for next season.

  9. Get rid immediately of Cardinale, Furlani, Moncada, Ibrahimovic, Pioli, Leao, Giroud, Bennacer, Calabria and Jovic and get back Maldini …..

    Some hope …… dream on guys ….

  10. 1. The media and therefore some fans are surprised that constantly attacking the manager to the point that he’s now a dead man walking has had a negative impact on the team.

    2. The media and therefore some fans were somehow expecting Milan to win the scudetto with this squad and Pioli’s failure to do so probably qualifies him for the death penalty.

    3. The media and therefore some fans don’t enjoy high scoring games when there’s not a lot to play for after Pioli so spectacularly failed to ‘only’ all but secure 2nd place with 4 games to go.

    4. The media and therefore some fans blame all individual player errors on Pioli.

    5. When the going gets tough some fans don’t quite get going but hang around moaning.

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