Porto 1-0 AC Milan: Rossoneri suffer damaging defeat after lacklustre performance

By Oliver Fisher -

AC Milan’s Champions League campaign was almost certainly brought to an end as they were beaten 1-0 by Porto at the Estadio do Dragao.

An injury-hit Milan side never really got going in truth as the home side were better in every department and took advantage of Atletico Madrid’s home defeat to Liverpool, closing the gap between themselves and the Spaniards to one point.

The only goal of the game came from the man Stefano Pioli actually highlighted as the danger man in Luis Diaz as he slotted in during the second half, and the result means that the Rossoneri have played three and lost three in their return to the Champions League after a seven-year absence.

Pioli made four changes to the team that manufactured an excellent comeback against Hellas Verona on Saturday as Simon Kjaer, Ismael Bennacer, Rade Krunic and Rafael Leao came into the line-up.

Milan started the game on the front foot as their high press allowed them to win the ball back up the field and camp on the edge of the Porto box, but the home side were the ones who came inches away from taking an early lead.

In the fifth minute Luis Diaz was allowed space to shoot from the edge of the box after a counter-attack and the ball ricocheted off the inside of the post with Wendell dragging the resulting rebound wide.

Tatarusanu was called into action in the 14th minute as the home side began to turn the tide of the game and enjoy a good spell of pressure, but the Romanian easily gathered Pepe’s header from a threatening free-kick.

A neat interchange down the left side involving Leao and Giroud ended with a spectacular sliding block to deny a shot across goal, and up the other end Tomori was booked for a clumsy challenge to deny a counter.

Saelemaekers gave the ball away in the corner under pressure and Milan were given a let-off as Wendell curled his effort wide of the far post, and then Giroud should have opened his Champions League account for the season having been found unmarked at the far post but his header was totally misguided.

Not long after Kjaer had produced a fantastic block from Taremi, the Porto No.9 rose highest from a Sergio Oliveira free-kick to head wide of Tatarusanu’s left post.

Taremi was very close to giving Porto a lead just before the half-hour mark when he received a feed from Otavio and hit it on the outside of his boot towards the far post but it flashed inches wide.

The final chance of the first half for the home side fell to Otavio after a cut-back found him just outside the right edge of the box, but the winger – who was actually linked quite heavily with Milan at one point – sliced his effort up and over the bar.

Milan created their own opportunity from the ensuing goal kick as Saelemaekers whipped a delightful cross in that Giroud glanced towards the far corner put Costa gathered gratefully. Just before the break the Frenchman nearly found the net with an athletic bicycle kick though he was rightly whistled offside anyway.

Taremi must have been bemoaning his luck after the opportunities he missed in the first half and he was very close to giving Porto the lead with the first chance of the second half too as he got the better of Ballo-Toure and released a shot the was narrowly wide.

Tomori came to the rescue with a fantastic diving challenge as Otavio let go of a howitzer from about 20 yards out, with Ballo-Toure again having been caught ball watching. The home side continued to pepper the goal from distance as Uribe became the latest to let fly but the ball whistled wide.

A triple change came just before the hour from Pioli as he tried to change the flow of the game. Alessio Romagnoli, Pierre Kalulu and Zlatan Ibrahimovic came on in place of Tomori, Ballo-Toure and Giroud respectively.

Porto took the lead that their pressure had overall deserved in the 65th minute, and it came courtesy of the danger man Luis Diaz. A cross was not cleared well enough and was allowed to drop on the edge of the box where Bennacer was bundled over, and Diaz stepped up to curl a precise shot inside the far post.

A substitution followed not long after as Tonali came off in place of Tiemoue Bakayoko, with the Rossoneri now having it all to do in order to keep their Champions League hopes alive, and Pepe flashed a shot wide moments later.

A final roll of the dice came in the final ten minutes when Daniel Maldini came on, but the game filtered out to what ended up being a big anti-climax from a Milan point of view and a deserved first win of the group stages for Porto.

Tags AC Milan Porto Milan


    1. I think you’re going too far. Pioli has done an excellent job because he doesn’t have the budget of Juventus to say those things. Otherwise he would have been fired. I think Milan needs to focus on the Serie A first and try to win it which seems to be more possible. Then try to compete for the Champions League. Also Milan has the toughest group of all in this Champions after not having played for 8 years the tournament. If Milan would have been playing in the same group as Lille. They would have different scores

      1. He is not going to far, he is just not thinking far enough.

        This Milan is like an infant trying to grab a lollipop from an 8 years old boy. This Milan last season’s goal was to qualify for CL and to see where we are standing amongst the elite in our 1st season back in the CL. Next year will be the year when we can truthfully expect to go to the next round with more money, experience, and enforcements.

        Going after a coach whom basically able to transform into a team with small operating budgets and experience is just shallow.

        1. I do see your point, and I don’t deny anything. But why do fans blame everything everything much on Pioli? I think he has done well. Who could be a substitute for him? Maybe if Milan doesn’t win anything this seasons, such as Coppa Italia or Serie A. I see Pioli out of the team. This isn’t undoubtedly the best Milan season yet. I think the team still need to be strengthened more in some areas, such as better forwards. What I’m saying is that Milan has to start changing his thinking towards winning now, at least at a local level. I really wish that Milan will get Noa Lang or so quality players. I do think that some Milan players have shown more quality this season as Leao. But other ones have lowered their level such as Rebic. A replacement for Rebic wouldn’t be bad. Furthermore, there’s no replacement for Saelemaekers. I don’t see Florenzi as his replacement and Castillejo looks like he’s more out than in of Milan. Even though his last match with Milan wasn’t that bad.

  1. Maldini make big error by not signing another 10 and also signing better upgrade right winger.
    Simple put that Milan deserved to lose this match. It like they came to defend and Saelemaekers was just running around the field without no meaningful contribution and then Giroud to me, since the day he signed I have always said he isn’t the kind of striker we need.

    1. Giroud is the kind of player who requires good delivery and he takes care of the finishing. With Rebic, Theo and Brahim missing, there was no one to provide those. I’m repeating what I have said in my other posts, injuries are a big concern and our medical staff is not able to do the job

  2. I think this match displayed that Milan cannot rely on Giroud and Ibrahimovic. There must be more solutions than that. Of course, the goal was unfair because Porto’s goal was a foul against Bennacer. But Milan didn’t do enough to win

  3. The injuries caused this embarrassing performance.
    Our medical team really needs to be looked at to see what is going on.
    Easily the worst performance of the season…just 3 shots on goal. Hard to watch.
    Maybe this is for the best…we won’t play ANY European football in the spring and we can now focus on the Scudetto alone..1 game every week…no distractions
    We have to win it now..no excuses

  4. You cannot put this loss on Pioli. Players play, and the ones we had available this evening did not play well. We were missing 5 starters and while injuries are part of the game, it’s hard to think we wouldn’t have done better with a complete squad.

  5. This is what happens when you let your starting number 10 go (for free) and you don’t replace him. Yes, Diaz has played great but what do you have when Diaz is out? Diaz was the backup, now you have no backup. You get no offense. Krunic cannot play that position. There summer transfers have been a disaster. Almost all of them injured or playing poorly.

  6. One (more) defeat in the champions league, and all the fans suddenly forget that…
    1. How many players from milan have tasted the champions league before?
    2. How many starters can Milan play at the moment?
    3. The champions league is the league of champions. The current Milan squad have won anything?
    I say again, come on, be patient a little bit. The current Milan team, is a team that was built from a previous management collapse and then hit by the covid typhoon. Starting from a Chinese tycoon who lived off debt, and is now in the hands of the loan shark Elliot, we, Milan supporters, should understand more, that it takes more than patience, to build a new Milan.
    *Forza Rossonerri per sempre

    1. You’re 100 percent right.
      It is too naive to expect some fairy tale wonders when we missed UCL for almost a decade. We’re playing shaky in Europe just like we did in Serie A year or two ago. And now we’re a superior club in Italy.
      Step by step we will become a top club in UCL too.

    2. I think it would have been better NOT to qualify for UCL in the 1st place…we are just being Embarrased..we celebrated getting into UCL last yr for this?
      Anyone can beat us right now…we don’t belong in the UCL…we should start playing Leao, Bennacer,Tomori, Kjaer, Calabria only in UCL….call up some primavera players and give them UCL experrience in the last 3 games….forget UCL…we are not at this level at all..just give up..focus on the league that we can win this year if we focus on it alone.

    3. Mate, Ajax won champions League in 1995 with green horns that do not have champions League experience.

      Admit it, Pioli is Mediocre

      1. Shit logic you bring to the table, you mention ajax of 1995 but problem is that squad is one of the greatest dutch generations and ajax teams ever. Why not bring up exmples of barca generation of the mid 00s of messi and iniesta or man utd youth of the early 90ies or the mid ac milan of the mid 80ies. Those generations all stood out and still stands as beakons for quality.

        The fact that you keep trashing pioli clearly show you have no respect for the work he and the team and the management has done but maybe you cant remember the crap decade that whent ahead before his arrival.

  7. Not expected such a poor performance from the team. Even our almost perfect defense was shaky. Probably it would be better to start without a centerforward and bring 1 more midfieldier to keep the ball away from our defense and concrete center. Something like 4:2:4:0. Giroud and Zlatan are useless when there is no one to deliver the ball.

  8. Im gonna say the unpopular thing here but to be quite frank im in disgusted by how some of milans socalled “fans” completely disregard our injury crisis (over half the squad out) + covid cases + suspension in regard of this match and call for piolis head, you are in my view a freaking disgrace to the clubs color. After all he has done for the club and made our players perform well over expectaions and against better equipped teams in the past year getting us the second place in serie a and still you have the audacity to belittle a coach who has some of the best wining percentages in the history of the club and that with an inferior team compared to the legendary teams of the past.

  9. From the first time UEFA put Milan in pot 4 , there was reason behind this. And we can See now that this Milan On bottom of the group .last time Milan had one of the Best fitness center that they called Milan Lab.but now it seems they gone by the time. If they couldn’t sign player who can improve team performance just use primavera players giving them more experience rather than signing players who has No UCL players such as pellegri , ballo toure. I believe kerkez or roback even hilali can give something to the team. Sir Fergie succeed with his 92 class , van gaal with the class of Jong Ajax….

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