AC Milan 4-2 Celtic: Five things we learned – duo building momentum and star proving his worth

By Ivan Stoev -

AC Milan hosted Celtic in the fifth group fixture of the Europa League in what was essentially a must-win game to try and secure their qualification for the next stage of the tournament.

The game started off poorly for the Rossoneri as they conceded twice in the first 15 minutes after a woeful mistake by Rade  Krunic on the first goal followed by Dalot ruining the offside trap and allowing Edouard to double Celtic’s lead.

Milan shifted gears after the initial shock and managed to equalise, scoring twice in just two minutes through a brilliant free-kick by Calhanoglu and a Castillejo strike.

It was mostly one-sided after that, although Donnarumma did have some work to do until the end of the game, but it was a fantastic solo goal by Jens Peter Hauge that gave Milan the lead.

The Norwegian picked up an assist later on as he played a lovely through ball to Diaz with the Spaniard making no mistake.

Here are five things we learned…

1. No touching the Norwegian

Hauge had his chance from the start last time out in the Europa League against Lille, but failed to impress. However, due to the absences of both Zlatan and Leao, the youngster continued to have more playing chances and he had his breakout game against Celtic.

The Norwegian was a constant threat on the left and managed to score an amazing goal to give his team the lead after leaving five Celtic defenders for dead.

Hauge also racked up an assist for the fourth goal to make his night even better and will hopefully build on this performance. With a young player like Jens Petter, confidence is key, and this will do him a world of good.

2. Romagnoli building momentum 

The captain was rested at first, but an injury to Kjaer forced him into action early in the game. Romagnoli had a good game against Fiorentina to silence the critics temporarily, but he followed it up against Celtic.

Coming on in a delicate moment, Romagnoli led his team to a comeback, stabilising Milan’s defence after they conceded the second goal with the captain being solid in defending himself to build on his Fiorentina performance.

3. Flexing squad depth

While Milan squad seemed to have depth at the beginning of the season it was slightly more complex than it looked. Hauge was still adapting to the team and the league while Tonali was struggling as well to get up to speed.

Ante Rebic was out injured for a couple of weeks as was captain Romagnoli, and Diogo Dalot wasn’t match fit after joining from Manchester United.

Now, however, it seems that all the players in the squad are match fit and building confidence. While Celtic’s poor form is hard to ignore, it’s important to see that while Milan were resting some key players they still looked pretty competitive and reacted brilliantly to come back from 2-0 down.

The depth will be important going forward as the Rossoneri are expected to go far in the Europa League while battling it out domestically, with the main target being top four.

4. Blank cheque

Donnarumma did concede two goals, but he was the victim of individual mistakes rather than at fault. Gigio on the other hand made some crucial saves throughout the game keeping his team-mates in it – especially at 3-2 up -and his form has been brilliant for quite a while now.

Obviously, the back drop of all of this is that Donnarumma is still negotiating his renewal with Milan, led by agent Mino Raiola. The better he performs the more everything points towards a substantial pay rise, but how can you argue that he hasn’t earned it?

5. Gathering steam

We’ve spoken a lot about Sandro in the past few weeks, but he is one of the most scrutinised names in this team in terms of expectations.

After a slow start to the season the youngster is finally getting some more playing time and looks to be building confidence and understanding more and more the team’s system.

Sandro has managed to build on his performances after a tough one against Lille a week ago and is bringing excitement to the fans who can’t wait for him to unleash his potential.

 

Tags AC Milan Milan Celtic