A typically tense clash unfolded at the Marassi between Genoa and Milan, with Andre Silva becoming the hero as he scored a last-minute winner.
The 1-0 victory for the Rossoneri closes the gap further on the top four thanks to other results, with a crucial second-leg in London to come on Thursday.
Here’s what we learned from Sunday’s victory…
1. A long time coming
Finally! The Portuguese boy, adored by everyone but who was yet to score his first goal in an Italian competition, has finally delivered his first goal and in some fashion. The former Porto man had already scored eight goals with the Rossoneri in the Europa league (including play-offs) but had never even got close to do so in our domestic league.
Yesterday, he picked up Suso’s cross with a beautifully powered header that ended past an amazing Mattia Perrin on the night. There’s no doubt that the team can thank both Suso and Silva for awarding us three points in the dying moments of the game. This will without doubt boost the young man’s morale and encourage him to work and get even more into dangerous position.
2. Ending a bad run at the Marassi
Yesterday’s game marked an end to a disastrous three-year spell at the Marassi for the Rossoneri. In fact, the team had failed to score a goal there (facing Genoa) during three consecutive seasons and ended losing all these games.
As the Rossoneri can’t afford to drop any more points on the road to Europe, victory was the only option. While the game could easily have gone the other way, the players were brave enough to go against that tide and find the resources to score a late deserved winner.
3. Four in a row
The team started the game with Bonaventura and Kalinic having chances to open the scoreline but none of the shots could unfortunately find Perrin’s back of the net. The rest of the game was perhaps less inspired for the visitors and the home side tried to go forward at several occasions.
Laxalt yielded a very dangerous cross from his left side, Rigoni was ruled offside through VAR after he scored a header on a dangerous free-kick and Zukanovic then missed an open goal header that could have well haunted the Milanisti. Apart from that, the team has been defensively solid and a deservedly clinched a fourth consecutive clean-sheet in four consecutive wins, something which did not happen since March 2013.
4. Another glimpse at 4-4-2
With Hakan Calhanoglu and Jack Bonaventura finding it hard to create chances down the left-flank on the day, it was pretty clear that the 4-4-2 formation was a potential switch for Gattuso.
He wasted no time in the second period to withdraw Calhanoglu and field Cutrone, switching to a 4-4-2 before Silva eventually replaced Kalinic. After Thursday’s second period where the coach tried the same, we clearly foresee a potential pattern of change in formation mid-game or even a brand new starting line-up.
With Biglia and Kessie being complementary in midfield, it has its chances to be effective as well, leaving the chance to wingers and fullbacks to be very creative by crossing the ball to the two attackers.
5. Forza lotta, vincerai!
It was perhaps an even more important victory than for collecting the 3 points. The celebrations suggested more than just a last minute winner, more than Silva’s first goal in Serie A.
It was an important week-end to lift up the minds after a heavy Arsenal defeat and, whatever happens next Thursday, it had to help them stay with their feet on the ground in the league. It’s now up to Gattuso’s men to give their everything on the return leg at the Emirates before next week-end’s home game against Chievo Verona.