Player Ratings: Rio Ave 2-2 AC Milan (8-9p) – Donnarumma decisive; starting duo disappoints

By Fred Ilondo -

AC Milan clinched a spot in the Europa League group stage by overcoming Rio Ave after a thrilling penalty shootout. Saelemaekers and Calhanoglu (penalty) scored for the Rossoneri.


Donnarumma (7 – MOTM): Although Milan conceded two goals in the course of the game, none of them can be blamed on the goalkeeper. Gigio was imposing both during the game and the penalty shootouts as his last penalty save gave Pioli’s men a much-needed victory.

Calabria (6): The Italian right-back delivered a decent performance, helping the team create many dangerous chances. However, in a must-win game, a decent performance did not seem to be enough, especially in defence.

Kjaer (6.5): Not particularly impressive considering what he has shown in the past. However, Simon Kjaer showed great leadership in the toughest times and did not blink when it came to penalty shootouts, scoring twice from the spot.

Gabbia (6): While he can be seen as a decent partner for the veteran that is Kjaer, the youngster still has of improvement to do. Overall, he completed Kjaer quite well for the most part even though he could work a bit more on his decision-making and positioning.

Hernandez (6.5): Despite a forgettable first half, Theo stepped up towards the end of the second half and took over during extra time as he was on every ball both offensively and defensively. Great performance from the French.

Bennacer (6.5): Impressive once again. Bennacer’s short passes between space to find teammates created some good chances for the team and he was more dangerous than usual offensively.

Kessie (7): A dominant performance from Kessie who keeps proving he is by far the most consistent player on the team.

Castillejo (5): Uninspired and ineffective. The Spaniard failed to create any threat and seemed clueless going forward for the majority of his time on the pitch.

Calhanoglu (6.5): Creative and inspiring, the Turk was pulling the strings throughout the game and scored the crucial penalty that brought Milan back in the game.

Saelemaekers (6.5): An impressive display by the young midfielder who showed an incredible amount of grit and desire and his goal is a good testament of that.

Maldini (5.5): The youngster looked lost on the pitch, his lack of experience proved to be a disadvantage for him in such a crucial match-up.


Diaz (6.5): Skillful and ambitious. Diaz was at the start of nearly every dangerous opportunities for the Rossoneri during extra time. Impressive performance.

Leao (6): Not a great performance from Leao who was sloppy most of the time and kept tripping on himself during crucial moments. A performance to forget.

Colombo (5.5): His lack of experience and game time was palpable as the youngster failed to make an impact.

Tonali (6.5): A truly great performance from Sandro who gave new life to the midfield after coming on during the extra time.

READ MORE: Saelemaekers gives Milan the lead against Rio Ave with a superb finish

Tags AC Milan Franck Kessie Gigio Donnarumma Rio Ave


  1. MOTM has got to be Borevkovic. He single handedly has written, directed and acted one of the greatest dramas I’ve seen in football. Forza Milan as always!

    1. indeed. i gave up in the last mins in the first 90mins.

      the crazy penalty shoot out i can remember besides this was a friendly match when gattuso was in charge

  2. Kessie was not great, he had a really bad game, and was tired most of the match. The first goal he did not run follower his guy and they scored. bennacer played much better, perfect passing high energy though out the match. Have you guys ever played football, real football not FIFA……

    1. Hope you are not a doctor, because your power of judgement is not to strong, the guy (kessie) did not have any wrong pass, and you should keep your understanding of football for yourself,

  3. This was a joke!
    I haven’t been so angry in ages
    hopefully Pioli hasn’t gotten drunk on success, because if he pulls another bs move like this on us, we will turn on him
    starting the match without a proper striker and keeping a fairly in form Colombo on the bench was DUMB. Not to mention that you had a native in the squad as well, who could have taken the pitch earlier if not from the start.
    a 6yo would know that in a match with this sort of financial importance you don’t throw an unproven makeshift striker in the mix like that – Maldini doesn’t have a future at Milan and we shouldn’t just kill bees&frogs to give him one. You want to experiment? then do it in matches that don’t matter
    and stop starting Samu – he proved once more this season that the few good matches he had last season were just lucky coincidences. His rating in this match should not be higher than 3.5/10
    It is ever so more annoying, knowing that in the beginning of the season I was adamant that our priority should be a RWB when all this time what we really needed was a damn competent RW. Pioli should get this straighten in his head – DONT START SAMU EVER AGAIN

  4. Poor choice of starting players almost costed us €15m and a Europa league.

    Pioli needs to be flexible n courageous enough to try out new things.
    We were out numbered at the middles, having a mediocre forward never helped.

    Pioli could have tried a 3 man midfield with Tonali, Bennacer, Kessie.. with Hakan infront of them to feed Colombo and Diaz twin striking…

    My lay thought.

    Most important… We made it through when it mattered most.

    Proud of Milan.

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