AC Milan responded superbly to their Champions League disappointment in midweek by putting five goals past a sorry Sampdoria team at San Siro on Saturday night.
The Rossoneri took an early lead through Rafael Leao but Fabio Quagliarella soon made fans wonder if it would be another rough night.
It proved not to be as an Olivier Giroud hat-trick and a goal from Brahim Diaz meant that it was a calm and emphatic 5-1 win for Milan.
Milan started the game swiftly and inside eight minutes, Theo Hernandez felt that he should have had a penalty having been tripped in the box. There was a brief VAR check but play quickly resumed with minimal fuss.
Rafael Leao quickly made sure that Milan weren’t focused on that decision for too long. Brahim Diaz produced a fine piece of play to take the ball over one player and then lobbed another to release Leao in on goal.
The Portuguese forward stayed cool and slotted that ball past Nicola Ravaglia. There was no offside and Milan had the early goal that the players and the fans alike were craving.
Despite the way that goal lifted the mood in the San Siro stands, it was quickly dampened. Alessandro Zanoli did very well to burst into the box from the right and he pulled the ball to the edge where Fabio Quagliarella was waiting to sweep the ball into the bottom corner.
That goal meant that the 40-year-old striker has scored in 18 consecutive Serie A seasons, an incredible achievement.
Sampdoria’s joy was incredibly short-lived though as Milan swiftly turned the game back in their favour, and in dramatic fashion. The Rossoneri went down the other end and won a corner which led to Olivier Giroud easily heading Milan back into the lead. It was an incredibly soft goal to concede from a Sampdoria perspective.
Things then got even better for Stefano Pioli as Giroud found himself on the scoresheet again. Leao was brought down in the box after another impressive Milan move. Giroud stepped up and calmly dispatched the penalty to make it 3-1.
The second half at San Siro started very slowly and it was clear that both sides saw little need to push too hard. That changed suddenly as a wonderful move involving Charles De Ketelaere, Leao, and Sandro Tonali was then finished off by Diaz who deserved a goal for how well he played on Saturday.
Not content with just being 4-1 up, Giroud decided to add another hat-trick to his career tally as ended up bundling the ball into the back of the net after a cross from Leao. It was a scruffy goal, but the Frenchman will not care.
It became clear that the game was a great opportunity for the team as a whole but also some specific individuals to rebuild their confidence after a very difficult patch of form.
It was clear from De Ketelaere’s play when he came off the bench that he was desperate to play a key role in a goal. The effort levels were certainly there and the Milan crowd showed their appreciation when he went on an impressive run that ultimately ended with the ball being lost.
The massive victory, albeit against the team at the bottom of the Serie A table was exactly what Milan needed. It was a result and performance that will have helped to put the Champions League defeat out of the players minds, and it also will have boosted the confidence of the entire team as they were untouchable in short spells without seeming to exert too much energy.
The win means that Milan are now just a point behind Lazio in fourth place with the Biancocelesti set to play their game in hand on Sunday evening. Milan are guaranteed to end Matchday 36 in fifth place.
Samp left too many spaces on the midfield, Milan will eat this type of team easily. That’s why we could see Diaz roamed free everywhere in midfield, where he usually had to face with more than 1 pressing players.
Good game and off we go to the next crucial match against Juventus.
I told you before game Giroud will score. I could say how many but at least 1.
Diaz still needs to go though.
We all know he need to go but appreciate his performances tonight first.
Diaz will go. Real want him back to then use him for another trade. But I actually regret it.
Certainly he is very irregular but he does contribute to the team (and often in very important games) which is more than what can be said of many other Milan players. He does have moments of brilliance, and in these he is almost Messi-like, like today in his phenomenal assist for Rafa.
Of course his main defect (other than being irregular) is that he is too small and gets easily thrown to the ground. Brahim should hit the gym and develop a bigger muscle mass, to compensate for his small stature so that big defenders can’t bully him as much. But he is far, very far from being useless.
Actually we wouldn’t have reached the Champions semis without him. A team that has truly useless players like Origi, CDK, Ballo, Bakayoko, Tatarusanu, Mirante, Dest, and Vranckx and some not fully useless but still mediocre ones like Messias, Florenzi, Gabbia and Pobega, all of whom are worse than Diaz, shouldn’t see his departure with anything other than regret.
It’s also a question of how to use him. It’s harder for him to be a CAM because he faces CBs who are too physical for him. He is better suited as a RW who can play with more space and facing typically smaller LBs. So some of his irregularity has to do with the coach not making the best use of his talents.
Brahim sometimes is brilliant; he also has great work ethic and effort; I will see his departure with regret and wish him the best.
I know someone that will be angry with Diaz performance tonight.
For the record I can proudly say Leao had a wonderful season despite the set back.
13 goals and 7 assists so far
Cowards will always hate though.
For the time being he has been free from their mouth and nightmares.
Yeah. He is improving every season.
All the respesct to Samp but they are the Serie A team so the performance of Diaz is nothing special i know that is fanboys are gonna defend him but if we was something were was he against Inter nowhere to be found so dont come here saying we need him at any cost or that he is better then CDK or Adli the two of them are in is first year at Milan meanwhile Diaz is in his third and has been the same thing over and over plays well in one game then the next 5/6 his nowhere to be found is like we are playing with ten players on the field!