AC Milan 0-0 Torino (5-4p): Five things we learned – pleasant surprises and mercato headaches

By Ivan Stoev -

After facing Torino in Serie A just a couple of days ago, both teams clashed again in the Coppa Italia at the San Siro. Both managers made changes to their starting XI with Zlatan Ibrahimovic finally back into the lineup for Pioli.

The game itself, however, was somewhat boring as Milan were too slow and didn’t produce much in the first half. The second half saw a double change for Milan with Calhanoglu being one of the players brought in and the Turkish international did well to create chances for his team and get the tempo up.

Despite the more energetic second half though, Milan failed to score thus making the game go in extra time. The additional half hour was no different with no signs that any team would score and it all came down to a penalty shootout in which Tătăruşanu managed to save a crucial penalty for his team sending them to the quarter-finals.

Here are five things we learned from the game…

1. No need for Simakan? 

The last few days there have been a lot of rumours linked Simakan to Milan with increasing insistence, but is there really a need for a centre-back at this moment?

Both Kjaer and Romagnoli are now fit, and Kalulu is producing good performance after good performance every time he is given a chance. With Musacchio having a decent game too and Gabbia expected to return in the near future, it puts a question mark as to whether or not Milan should actually go for a centre-back in January.

Speaking of Kalulu, the youngster was voted as MOTM in yesterday’s game after an impressive showing in which he played as a right back to start off with and swiftly rotated into the middle in the second half without any problem whatsoever to adapt.

2. Light at the end of the tunnel

While Kalulu was the man under the spotlight for his stellar performance, Sandro Tonali was a silent leader in the midfield. He put in arguably his best performance in a Milan shirt as he was solid defensively, but also really good in distributing the ball forward with his long passes on point this time out.

The youngster looked more composed and not rushing his actions. It was a display that reminded of his performances for Brescia last season and one to build on. Sandro also went on to score a brilliant penalty.

3. A solid backup

Tătăruşanu was the man to start in goal for Milan and while there were still remnants of his error against Roma in the memory, he has since been solid when called upon.

The Romanian dealt well with any threat he came across during the game and had a crucial save in the penalty shootout to win his team the game.

With Donnarumma suspended for the quarter-final against city rivals Inter, Tătăruşanu looks like a solid replacement for the Italian.

4. Some rust in the machine

To the surprise of many, Zlatan Ibrahimovic was named in the Starting XI and not on the bench. The Swede was seemingly not at his very best and understandable so after being out for so long.

While he dropped deeper on a few occasions and help his team in the build-up phase he ultimately wasn’t sharp enough in the penalty box and will most likely need a couple of games to get going.

That being said, with Leao suspended against Cagliari, Zlatan will be the man to lead Milan’s attack and Pioli will be hoping for him to be clinical.

5. A pleasant surprise

Musacchio played his first game since February – therefore almost a year ago – and considering how long that is, the Argentine did quite well. Despite Torino’s lack of goals this season, Musacchio didn’t make any mistakes at the back and was solid throughout the hour he was on the pitch.

With that being said and already mentioned in the first point, Pioli has somewhat of a guaranteed four centre-backs in the face Kjaer, Romagnoli, Kalulu and Musacchio with Gabbia returning to action soon and making it five.

Considering that, Milan could invest money elsewhere in January as there was other positions that could do with some reinforcements as the midfield or right wing position.

READ MORE: SempreMilan speak to Milan Primavera star Marco Frigerio

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