GdS: Frosinone, Udinese and European nights – Pioli’s Milan are comeback specialists

By Oliver Fisher -

AC Milan know that they must win at the Stadio Olimpico tonight against AS Roma if they are to have a chance of reaching the Europa League semi-finals, but comebacks are something they are no strangers to.

As La Gazzetta dello Sport write, the task at the Olimpico will not be easy after the 1-0 defeat in the first leg, a game in which Roma showed a certain tactical superiority and executed a near-perfect away performance.

The Giallorossi have been reborn under the guidance of Daniele De Rossi, finding a new solidity, but this year the Rossoneri have already shown a certain predisposition to comebacks.

Lessons from Sunday

The last time it happened was just last weekend in the league against Sassuolo, with the Rossoneri down 3-1 at the Mapei Stadium after Pinamonti’s goal and Laurienté’s brace.

With half an hour to go, the team rolled up their sleeves and went into fifth gear, halving the deficit through Jovic and equalising through Okafor almost at the end, before missing a sensational chance to win it with Giroud.

To say that Milan often start playing when the situation becomes complicated and they have to react is perhaps frustrating but this year they have shown a fighting spirit on several occasions, bringing back into line matches that started the wrong way.

The data shows that Pioli’s group had not completed a comeback in a match with a two-goal deficit for over a year: Lecce away on 14 January 2023 when Leao and Calabria scored in the second half.

From Lecce to Frosinone

This season Pioli’s side have pulled themselves out of the quicksand when games seemed over. Starting with the away match in Cagliari last September 29th, with the 3-1 against the Sardinians (who took the lead with Luvumbo), goals from Okafor, Tomori and Loftus-Cheek.


Then there was the draw against Salernitana, on 22 December. The Granata led 2-1 through Fazio and Candreva, but Jovic scored late on to snatch a point. On January 20 Jovic and Okafor scored goals in the final part of the game to earn a 3-2 win, with the Rossoneri having been 2-1 down.

A couple of weeks later it was Frosinone’s turn. Soulé’s goal opened the scoring, Loftus-Cheek responded, then Mazzitelli made it 2-1. Milan roared back through Gabbia and Jovic to win a dramatic encounter.

European nights

The highest point of his management is arguably the 2-1 derby win during the Scudetto run-in, in which Giroud scored twice, but this season there are other contenders on the European stage.

In the Champions League group stages the Diavolo won against PSG and Newcastle, with performances that were in some ways similar. Both times the team overturned an early deficit, winning 2-1.

In the first case, on November 7, the postcards were Leao’s overhead kick and a ruthless Giroud’s header. In the second, goals from Pulisic and Chukwueze propelled Milan to third place in group F (with 8 points, the same as PSG, who qualified for the round of 16 on goal difference and are now in the semi-finals).

The thread reconnects here: to continue the journey in the second-tier European competition, a comeback will be needed again.


Tags AC Milan Roma Milan

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