Monza 4-2 AC Milan: 10-man Rossoneri beaten after dramatic finale

By Oliver Fisher -

AC Milan had a nightmare evening against their Lombardy neighbours Monza as they conceded twice late on to lose 4-2 in a dramatic encounter at the U-Power Stadium.

Monza were well in control going into the break as a penalty from Pessina and a deflected shot from Mota had them two goals up, and then Luka Jovic’s red card early in the second half seemed to put the game to bed.

However, Milan roared back in the second half to level it with 10 men. Olivier Giroud came off the bench to halve the deficit with an instinctive finish, then Christian Pulisic’s rocket set up a grandstand last few minutes.

In the end it was the home side who were left celebrating as Bondo made it 3-2 and then Colombo scored against his parent club to finally put the contest to bed and secure Monza’s first ever league win against the Rossoneri.

Stefano Pioli elected to make six changes to the starting line-up that beat Rennes in midweek as Malick Thiaw, Yacine Adli, Ismael Bennacer, Noah Okafor, Samuel Chukwueze and Luka Jovic all came into the side.

The first chance of the game fell to Milan inside two minutes as a free-kick from deep on the left side was whipped in perfectly onto the penalty spot by Theo Hernandez, and though Jovic got a good connection Di Gregorio was there to save.

Monza then responded with a good spell of their own. First Mota found space to cut in off the left and shoot with his right but saw the shot deflect wide for a corner, and then from the resulting set piece Mari had an effort also deflect over.

It was a frantic opening to the game and Milan had another sight at goal inside the fifth minute following an excellent run from Chukwueze to the right byline, with a cut-back eventually finding Theo whose shot was blocked behind with the goalkeeper rooted.

The game then descended into a bit of a lull after such a wide open start, with the main incidents being a shot from Chukwueze just outside the box that did not trouble Di Gregorio too much.

Bennacer then had a nice give-and-go with Jovic, but the shot wasn’t the best from the edge of the area and he pulled it too much which seemed to negate any power or placement.

The home side were not far from taking the lead on the half-hour mark when a cross from the right was met by the head of Djuric who was only just inside the area yet still sent a looping effort that was narrowly wide of the upright.

There was a really nasty collision inside the Monza box that required a long stoppage as Carboni and Di Gregorio had a clash of heads defending a Milan cross. There seemed to be a fair bit of blood, and though the former was able to carry on with heavy bandaging, the keeper was forced off and was replaced by Sorrentino.

The break certainly benefitted the home side more as they won a penalty a couple of minutes before the interval. Thiaw made a clumsy challenge outside the box on Djuric and then decided to make another one inside the box on Motta. The ex-Milan man Pessina took the responsibility from 12 yards, sending Maignan the wrong way.

Milan had a final half-chance in the eight minutes that were added on when an Adli cross was knocked down to Jovic by Loftus-Cheek, though a brilliant diving block denied his first-time shot.

However, it was Monza who went into the break two goals up as they hit Milan on the break. A counter-attack down their right side saw Colpani get the better of Thiaw and then find Mota, who stuttered his way into the box and fired a shot that deflected off Thiaw and nestled inside the far post.

Pioli made three changes at the break as Tijjani Reijnders came on for Adli, Christian Pulisic took the place of Chukwueze and Rafael Leao replaced Okafor.

Things went from bad to worse for the Rossoneri as Jovic was given his marching orders just five minutes into the second half. After earlier clashing with Izzo, the two came together again off the ball and the Serbian seemed to slap the defender, resulting in a red card after a VAR review.

In the 53rd minute Pioli made another change with Olivier Giroud coming on for Bennacer in an attempt to at least try and get back into the game and cause some danger.

As was perhaps to be expected given the circumstances, Monza were happy to control the ball and try to tire Milan out. Colpani perhaps could have put the game fully to bed when he was found at the far post with a deep cross, yet he headed wide.

Milan got themselves back into the game in the 64th minute and it was a chance that really came out of nothing. A cross from Florenzi on the right side was flicked on by Pulisic at the near post and Giroud instinctively stuck a leg out to divert it inside the post to make it 2-1.

Pioli’s men continued to push, and it looked for a second as though a ball in behind would be latched onto by Leao who would have been through on goal, but he was just about crowded out. Moments later, a Reijnders cross was headed powerfully by Loftus-Cheek but straight at Sorrentino.

A final change came in the 83rd minute when Yunus Musah came on for Florenzi, marking a final roll of the dice from the coach.

With three minutes left on the clock, Milan got themselves level and it was a quite unbelievable goal from Pulisic. After seeing a cross blocked back out to him, the American shuffled inside onto his left foot and was able to hammer a rising shot inside the top left corner to make it 2-2.

However, the drama didn’t end there as Monza then went back in front. The hosts found themselves with numbers forward and Bondo was able to hit one from just outside the edge of the box, with Maignan beaten. The goal was actually disallowed at first for offside, then rightly cleared.

To add insult to injury in the fifth minute of added time Colombo put the game to bed against his parent club. A five-on-three break saw the ball worked to the No.9 on the right side of the box, who hammed a low shot past Maignan.


Tags AC Milan Monza Milan


  1. How many times do we have to see this kind of stunt? Made to many changes in the starting line up, saw it didn’t work and made all the main arsenals entered the pitch to catch goals. It’s always more mentally exhausting for them to enter the pitch in a losing position.

    And that Leao boy should learn a thing or two about work ethic from Pulisic. Felt like we’re down to 9 man with that body language.

    Also Maignan had no business in conceding 4 goals. This season, we can see his flaw. So if he’s playing a long game in his contract issue, just sell him to the highest bidder.

    1. It’s called ROTATION! We HAVE to rotate with a game Thursday.

      WHen he doesn’t rotate, everyone yells for rotation. When he DOES rotate, everyone blames him anyway for rotating too much?

      This is what I’m talking about. It’s always Pioli’s fault no matter what he does.

      Absolutely ZERO objectivity here…

      1. Rotate 2-3 players is fine, but to rotate SIX (with 2-3 of them just got back from injury) of your starting line up when the match is important to the standing and when we have the chance to leapfrog Juve?

        To keep the winning streak and performance is so important in this game. Just look at the other current leading teams (within this league and others), have you seen any of them make 6 rotation in a match? Imagine you have a busy schedule next week after a lost tiring match? It’s called momentum. And one of the main duties of a manager is how he can keep the momentum.

        Have you played any sport? Real one, not with the screen on it. ZERO logic here.

        1. ZERO Logic that having played 90+ minutes on Thursday you want the same players to start??

          That Oli doesn’t have the legs to play more than once a week?

          That Leao took a knock on Thursday and Pioli was allowing him rest?

          That Puli has played pretty much every game and is tired?

          That Kjaer is an absolute joke in defense?

          So you Rotate to give them a break and save them for Thursday?

          You mean this Logic???

          You’re right, you would make a fantastic professional coach. Heard Barca needs one. You should apply… (Your response makes about as much logic as that)

          1. ZERO LOGIC is that using only recent matches data to make an excuse of heavy rotation. Just look at our last UCL match vs. Newcastle. During the prior game on the league vs. Atalanta, and the after game vs. Monza, we only made 1-2 changes on the line up. And yes, it’s only 3-4 days span each match. Many of other league – UCL – league matches were done with the same treatment. And yes, Giroud played pretty much 80 ++ to full game on those matches.

            So, it wasn’t a problem before. All of the sudden it becomes a problem now? And when you see other datas with the other leading teams (Inter, City, etc), you’d clearly see that they have no problem on starting the pretty much the same line up week in week out, mid week in mid week out.

            Once again, the rotation is not the problem, the problem is on how many and when. One thing that fantastic coach wouldn’t do is to repeat the same mistake over and over again. And that’s my FIRST point before.

        2. You touched on what was going to be my comment.

          Like any other strategy or tactic, the timing is usually the most important aspect. Sunday was NOT the day to be rotating so heavily!

          I’d give Pioli grace concerning Pulisic and Leao, since he explained that both had fitness issues. Given what Leao showed us, he probably shouldn’t have even dressed.

          My issue is, why would you rotate SIX starters in preparation for Rennes on Thursday (we are leading that tie, 3-0) when Juventus had stumbled, and we had the opportunity to jump over them to second in the table?

          Yes, rotation is important, but far too much for one match, and at precisely the wrong moment

      2. Stop defending this clown. I’ve defended him in the past but enough is enough. He made too many changes. 2/3 max to keep the consistency of the team but h changed almost half the team!!

        He always does this and always looses. Then we have to revert to our tested leao giroud pulisic to get anything from the game.

        Enough is enough now.

      3. Here is the definition of rotation from cambridge dictionary for you, you seem to not fully understand it yourself either:

        “in sports such as football or rugby, the practice of REGULARLY replacing players on a team with other players from the squad (= all the available players)”

        Emphasis on regularly here, not chaning half the squad one per 3 months.

  2. Anything over 2 for Thiaw would be joke of review. Calamity of the century. Unf*ngplayable. Beyond nightmare. Absolute joke.

    And all the people demaning Giroud to be benched for… Jovic! FFS… Here’s what you get when you bench Giroud for Jovic. Happy now???

    Chuku… LOL. Never seen a worse one-trick pony in my life. I’ll give you guys 1000€ each if he ever even tries to pass an opponent from his right side.

    And where was Leao? All the other subs made a difference. And tried. Wanted points. Not this guy though.

    1. And I admit being wrong earlier. I said Milan had depth. Not true. Pioli can afford to replace one man out of the attacking trident but that’s it. Two or more and the attack goes to zero. We can’t even beat Monza with the 2nd line attackers. Pathetic.

      1. THe players that started don’t play together often and their lack of chemistry definitely showed.

        BUT you can not start the same players every game, multiple times a week especially with Rennes return leg Thursday…

        You HAVE to rotate to save energy and legs. Didn’t work out this time. BUT the errors weren’t tactical. These were ALL individual mistakes.

        Thiaw horror show, Adli’s wrong passes, Chukwueze still missing, Jovic auditioning for MMA instead of scoring…. I mean have your pick….

        1. You are right.
          But the rotation was too much. (I was actually afraid it would backfire before the game started).

          The thing is if Pioli’s boys are good at passing the ball around, the rotation change would not be that bad, but they are not.
          The team thrives in playing together and understanding themselves, and not in a Pioli style of play (which he doesn’t have). This is why our rotation changes went badly.

          2ndly, our defence style is a queer one. It gives the attacker space and time to make decisions. Funny enough we’ve been defending with this pattern even before Pioli. It’s horrific.

          Finally, I think this time, we should go for someone like De Zerbi at the end of the season. I watched his game yesterday, and I was impressed.

    2. If Thiaw 2, then Leao should be less than 1. Chukullejo? Already said it since the beginning of the season with his first 2-3 matches. Too predictable.

      And just a reminder that Inter beat Monza 5-1 in their home ground.

    3. Remember all the preseason talk about how Chukwueze was the likely starter at RW, and Pulisic would be lucky to get minutes backing-up Leao and Chukwueze? Those comments certainly haven’t aged well.

      Pulisic currently has more league goals than both of them, combined, and by a wide margin!

  3. Hate me if you like but Leao is not the player he was 25 months ago. He is basically walking in the field. The money got into his head. Sell him to PSG asap.

    Somehow Pioli and Milan can self sabotage themselves.

    1. You wanted Leao to pick up the whole team and carry it on his shoulders? The goals came from elsewhere. Leao was cold. But with a man down it’s hard to defend on the counter.

      Leave Leao out of this.

          1. If you read his comment, you would understand what he meant…

            I think he wants Leao to show some interest in the game. Not carry or score three goals, just show that he wants to fight a bit for a point atleast.

          2. I’d like to see him try!

            It’s not just the one opportunity he had to flash his speed and get in behind, which he showed little interest in, letting himself be pushed wide, but the entire 45 minutes of no effort.

            Giroud and Pulisic pressed the Milan defense consistently, even though they were down a man. Leao didn’t even pretend to help, and was usually standing on the center stripe.

            Pulisic was in front of Florenzi, tracking Monza’s left wing back and popping up in the Milan box to assist the defense. Leao was standing on the center stripe.

            If he’s injured, he shouldn’t have been on the field. If he’s not injured, then the situation is even worse.

    2. Leao has always been like this. This is what we renewed at 7mil. He’s hot then he’s cold. But he is still the MOST dangerous player we have and creates opportunities.

      1. “But he is still the MOST dangerous player we have and creates opportunities.”

        Yesterday he was the opposite of that. He did never even enter the pitch mentally. He didn’t care to play.

  4. Conducting experiments and rotations against such opponents as Monza often leads to such results. I am under the impression that Pioli has difficulties with learning lessons. To me the Scudetto fate is sealed, and we will have Inter getting a second star on its badge. Our defence, particularly Thiaw was just painfully hard to watch.

    1. To be fair, Thiaw has done pretty well this season. The problem is that he just got recovered, and only joined handful of team training session. If Pioli really wanted to make change on the back, Simic would a better option. Physically and mentally. So yes, Pioli also has a fair share on this defensive fiasco.

          1. Mate you have commented so much here defending. Tell me do you enjoy watching Milan play like this. I am captain of my team and got back from a day of pre season games today and guess what we start the stronger players maybe rotate one or two then when we get a few goals up we can rotate more. We don’t just switch 50% of the team and expect a miracle.

          2. @DAN – There’s not a reply option to you.

            I get what you’re saying, BUT your team doesn’t play weekend league and weekday Europe, right?

            How do you rotate and manage that? How would you do better?

            Sure, you start, lets say, the same players, get a result, then sub them out. OK. But the flip side is those same players would have to start in Europe Thursday and be sub par.

            So what would you rather jeopardize? Europe? Because the third place isn’t going anywhere even with this loss. We still firmly have third.

      1. To be fair . What do you mean by doing well his mistakes that costs us games with Inter and Juventus. This guy just disaster with his stupid decissions…

        1. @ACM1899 – there is no reply option for you either lol

          Yes I get what you are saying but as is mentioned above rotate regularly mix the team and do it in balance don’t switch out the half the team expect a performance then revert back to your preferred starters anyway to try claw back a result.

          He shouldnt have started Thiaw so soon should have kept him as a sub. Reijnders and Ben could have taken mid and then reijnders switched for Adli and Ben fro Musah, leao, pulisic and giroud looked ok when they came on so to me could have started them to get a foothold in the game (if able to) then manage them.

          Pioli has very poor player management skills.

          I get what you are saying i really do, and i am not trying to start an aggressive arguement but rotation is good but keep it balanced!

  5. Thaiw is horrible!, he has been horrible before and he is still now, I hope when Tomori back Gabbia would stay.
    Maignan is one of the best keepers?? I wish we sell him this summer and I wish it’s really going to be an offer for Leao! This guy worth 120m?? Pulisic cost 20m and make twice than him.
    Adli and bennacer were really bad.
    Sad game.

  6. Thiaw costing us another game, with two terrible defensive mistakes. The kid has potential, but is still far from there. And Pioli’s critics would be right to call out the heavy rotation, which has failed us time and time again. Okafor doesn’t seem to know what to do in the LW position, and Jovic simply cannot play the pivot with his back against the goal.

    What a waste. We came with an arrogant approach to this game, and got what we deserved. Terrible terrible waste.

    1. Two absolute shockers and he was the one making Maldini onside for the winning goal too. Three strikes. Bench that mofo. Play Simic instead.

      1. Thiaw also cost us the Inter match as well, we were two down directly because of him, but I doubt teenage Simic is the solution. We best rely on him and Kajaer until Tomori comes back. And then we must get an upgrade in the summer.

      1. DUMB would be to start the SAME players after they had just played against Rennes for 90+minutes in EL…

        You HAVE to rotate…. Doesn’t sound like you understand the reason for this.

  7. Come on people how can you blame Leao for this? Just becouse he is our best player shouldent mean that he needs to take all the blame when we fail.

        1. I understand what you are saying bro. It frustrates me too when he does that, but i feel like he wasnt the main problem here. If anything Thiaw had a horibble game. And our starting wingers weren’t any better. They created zero chances.

        2. Rafa had the ability to terrorize the Monza defence. But he chose not to. It’s like he knows he can change the game but chose not to. I once saw him give away the ball but he didn’t track back and chase the ball instead Theo track back to retrieve the ball for him.

          Again he crossed the ball to “no men land” he cross was heavy for anyone.

          I know the 2 goals were not his fault but come on l. Get into the game as the highest paid player, get into the game as a leader, get into the game as a Milan support who hates to lose without trying. That’s all I’m asking from him.

          Don’t get me started on Pioli and Thiaw.

          What I also hate about this players who are given the chance to play don’t prove themselves. If Pioli bench them. He becomes the villains. If Pioli gives them a chance, the player nonsense like Chukwueze.

        3. I don’t disagree, but to come in at half time, cold, into a game trailing y two goals AND to askt o carry the team is a TOUGH ask of anyone.

          1. Once again… NO ONE ASKED HIM TO CARRY THE TEAM!!! People ask him to TRY HIS BEST. There’s a difference. No matter if didn’t succeed at anything but the man didn’t even try. Watch the match again. See the work rate of Pulisic, Giroud, Theo. Then look at Leao. If you can’t see a helluva difference there, you must be blind.

            We don’t need spectators on the pitch when we’re trying to salvage point(s). We need players who are interested in working for the team and saving the game.

    1. Try is the keyword. You want to see your highest earner look like he doesn’t even care for the match? He’s not a kid anymore that what people should realize.

  8. Every player was bad apart from Pulisic, Giroud, Florenzi, Gabbia & Musa, they were the only ones who showed that there was something to fight for.
    Pioli is a saddist and how he doesn’t feel irritated at the side lines is a mystery to me, cos it’s so painstakingly irritating to watch, how can a coach not be able to train players on shooting? How can a coach stand & not be able to call players to fall back? This stupid highline they keep playing is dumb & the number of changes were too much, every game should have had about 2 players joining the starting eleven, that would have blended the team sooner. Inter coach isn’t brilliant cos he only changes like for like, so no tactical awareness but he infuses the bench players in starting line-ups, that’s why they seem to look like they have serious squad depth

  9. I can’t tell if it’s extreme arrogance or ignorance from Pioli but we all were feverous about the 5 changes and I don’t see how he can’t see it. Like his inevitable month of dropping points every season, he makes too many changes and drops points. Pioli is not consistent to meet the level a champion club requires. Pulisic played like a champion today and Leao looked uninterested. Leao yelling at Gabbia after losing the ball is not befit the red & black that he wears. Pioli’s attitude and the attitude he gives players like Leao is disrespectful to the club. Pioli NEEDS to go, Maignan and Leao can go if the right money comes. Chuck? Idk what to say, it looks like we bought a lemon there. So Pioli had CDK but didn’t play him and when he did, it’s out of position, then we plays RLC basically in the role CDK is best at. Who’s better in that role rn? CDK. They have Pulisic but play him out of position (He has TWO positions he likes and Pioli doesn’t play him in either). They had TWO players that could play in that position but insisted on spending 30 mil on Chuck…is everyone seeing the picture? Forza Milan!

    1. CDK is not a CAM, he’s a second striker, he wouldn’t have succeeded at Milan and it not Pioli’s fault, cant expect Pioli to change his entire formation to fit 1 player

  10. Tough loss for sure, in a game where nothing went right. Individual errors from players who should know and play better.

    Anyone who blames Pioli for this loss shows a complete lack of understanding of the game altogether.

    But I’d love to hear how this was on Pioli… Anyone?

    This loss is 100% in the payers.

        1. Yes, you rotate but you don’t change your entire front line. And our starters didn’t seem too tired in the second half. Maybe we should have started the game like that (and with the same energy)? And look how much rotation Inter are doing with their 30-something average age squad.

          I’m not one of the fans shouting pioli out, I think he’s a great coach. But he came to this match with a lineup expecting a walk in the park and got his a** handed to him.

          1. 11V11 we win that game with that lineup. Man down on the counters, it was inevitable we would concede.

            I’m not opposed to starting the full strength team then subbing in the bench. BUT since they played Thursday I can’t blame Pioli for resting the starters. I get it.

            The issue is, the bench players don’t play together often enough to develop chemistry. That part is on Pioli. But when he rotates and results don’t go our way, he tries not to do it often opting for consistency instead.

            It’s a double edged sword… Damned if you do, Damned if you don’t. You know what I mean?

  11. Rushing Thiaw back into the starting CB role wasn’t a wise choice. I remembered once it was Kalulu and Thiaw and it wasn’t a great pairing. Thiaw needs either a Kjaer or Tomori beside him. Kjaer is the true experience leader. What he likes in pace, he has in tons of leadership and experience.

    Tomori has gotten better and he did make stupid mistakes because he thought he could always use his speed to get back when he pushes up, but I think he has learnt to be a leader and not be so rash.

    Gabbia is growing better. Nothing flashy, but he learns fast from Kjaer and Tomori and his return from loan has made him look like a new signing.

    Thiaw shouldn’t have started with Gabbia. Kjaer could still play 45mins. Else, one Jan-Carlo Simic should have been trusted. Thiaw needs to develop a rhythm with Gabbia. You don’t put him on because you think he’s a good defender. Chemistry is important.

    Pioli’s error again was in the heavy rotation. 6 players is too much. Then making the 3 subs at half time was a waste of subs and a vote of no confidence on Okafor, who probably shouldn’t have started.

    I really don’t care about Chukwueze. I think Milan should never have bought him. But why does Pioli think an untried and untested trio of Chukwueze, Jovic and Okafor would deliver? This is not a Copa Italia first round match.

    The starting 11 influenced the subs that was made. Sadly. Pulisic and Giroud paid off, but one of Pulisic or Leao should have started alongside Jovic. Too bad he lost his head, but Jovic has been okay previously.

  12. Leo has have been a substitute that comes and change a game,his approach was very bad.jovic deserves to be benched for 10 games straight,how can you be 2goals down and commit such an cat when you know their is VAR.this is pioli puts these three starting line up on the bench and most people will he does not give them chance to start matches now we can all see.

  13. I love giroud fighting spirit,if a 37 old man who has seen it all in football can fight like how about Leo who was just strolling on the was a very bad attitude from him.but Milan try to come back to the game.

    1. Exactly. It is funny how people think it’s OK for Leao to walk on the pitch “because he needs to save his energy for the 2-3 sprints per 90 mins” while Giroud is running his socks off and getting probably twice the mileage than the kid half his age (at his prime).

      One is a team player. The other is not. Guess which is which. 😀 😀 😀

  14. I’ve said it earlier when i saw the potential lineup that pioli can mess up and our current form in the league will be destroyed. Because of his negative feelings. Big time f**k up pioli

    1. 9 wins and 1 draw would have been way too good starting point to face Atalanta. Now we go to the 6 point match with a humiliating defeat on our backs. Awesome!

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