Arsenal 2-1 AC Milan: Rossoneri fall to defeat in first Dubai friendly

By Oliver Fisher -

AC Milan lost the first of their two friendlies in Dubai 2-1 against Arsenal, and they were also beaten in the penalty shootout that followed.

Milan took to the field with what can be described as an experimental line-up of sorts given the absentees due to injuries and international participation. Tommaso Pobega started at left-back, Aster Vranckx was in the double pivot, while Ante Rebic, Yacine Adli and Divock Origi all started in attack.

The first big chance of the game was one that was almost entirely Origi’s own creation. Not long after having taken a rough tumble, the Belgian forward received a pass from Rebic and span his man just outside the edge of the box before curling a shot that was heading for the top corner but clipped the crossbar and went over.

Milan’s pressure continued as Adli saw a near post attempt blocked out for a corner, one that was not cleared properly and eventually feel to Pobega who also saw an attempt blocked. A run of four corners ended with Kalulu’s near post shot being saved.

Despite Milan’s early pressure, it was Arsenal who took the lead from a free-kick. Odegaard whipped an inch-perfect effort over the wall from just over 20 yards out, leaving Tatarusanu rooted to the spot as he watched it nestle inside the near post.

Milan really should have drawn themselves level in the 28th minute as Adli served a beautiful cross into the box where Origi got the better of his market but headed wide of the far post.

Arsenal doubled their lead minutes before the break as Tatarusanu gave the ball away while trying to play out from the back, allowing Vieira to stroll into the box and find Nelson, who finished via a deflection from Gabbia.

A couple of changes were made ahead of the second half by Pioli as Tomori and Saelemaekers were withdraw for Thiaw and Brahim Diaz.

Milan started the second half brighter but spurned a couple of opportunities to halve the deficit and get themselves back into the game, and in the 56th minute Origi was taken off as Lazetic took his spot.

Arsenal had the better of the second half chances prior to the second water break with Vieira sending a shot wide and an Elneny shot being deflected narrowly over.

With just over 15 minutes left, Pioli made the decision to bring on Bozzolan, Bennacer, Krunic and El Hilali for Pobega, Vranckx, Adli and Rebic.

In the 78th minute, Milan got themselves back into the game through a rare bit of set piece quality. Tonali whipped in a free-kick from the left and it was met by the head of Tomori, who glanced it inside the far post.

Milan were unable to force an equaliser in the end as goals from Odegaard and Nelson were enough to win Arsenal the three points in 90 minutes, but what followed that was a penalty shootout for a bonus point.

Brahim Diaz missed Milan’s second penalty but Tatarusanu produced a save to deny Smith who could have won it for Arsenal, giving Krunic the chance to send it to sudden death, but he rolled his effort wide from 12 yards to leave Milan with no points.

Tags AC Milan Arsenal Milan
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