Rennes 3-2 AC Milan (3-5 agg): Rossoneri secure last 16 spot despite defeat

By Oliver Fisher -

AC Milan booked their place in the last 16 of the Europa League with a 5-3 aggregate victory against Rennes, but it was a dramatic night at the Roazhon Park despite the scoreline looking comfortable.

Milan came into the game with a 3-0 lead from the first leg, but that was quickly eroded when Benjamin Bourigeaud’s strike found the bottom corner after 10 minutes, but Luka Jovic’s header levelled things on the night.

Bourigeaud then gave Rennes the lead on the night again when he buried a penalty early in the second half and took it, though again they didn’t lead for long as Rafael Leao made it 2-2 after a solo run.

Mike Maignan was again beaten from the penalty spot as Bourigeaud got his hat-trick and looked to ignite a dramatic finish, but in the end the Rossoneri saw it out to secure progress to the next round.

Head coach Stefano Pioli made a number of changes from the team that lost to Monza on Sunday, with Simon Kjaer coming back into the defence, Yunus Musah and Tijjani Reijnders rejoining the midfield, plus Rafael Leao and Christian Pulisic in attack.

From the opening exchanges it was very clear that Rennes planned to start the game on the front foot, pressing high in numbers and with a defensive line that was basically halfway up the field.

That nearly cost them inside two minutes as Milan won the ball back inside their own half and had the very simple task of setting Leao away down the left wing. He carried the ball into the box, dropping a shoulder onto his left foot boot seeing Mandanda save his low shot well.

Leao again found himself with space to run into after he stole in and got a bouncing ball back off the last man Omari, yet just as he was about to pull the trigger Theate dived in to make an exceptional last-ditch tackle.

Ten minutes into the game, Milan were made to pay as the home side took the lead with their first half-chance of the game. Bourigeaud received the ball just over 20 yards out and let fly with a stinging low drive that beat Mike Maignan and nestled inside the bottom left corner, sending the home crowd wild.

The opening goal made the next one absolutely huge, and the Rossoneri should have had it when Theo provided an excellent cut-back inside the box to Pulisic who was waiting on the penalty spot, yet he swung his right boot at it and completely whiffed at the shot.

In the 22nd minute, Milan got themselves level on the night as their pressure suggested that they had deserved. A well worked attack saw the ball spread wide to Theo on the left edge of the box and has side-footed cross went all the way to Jovic on the far side of the box who headed home with power to make it 1-1 on the night, 1-4 on aggregate.

Julien Stephan’s side then went about trying to reopen the contest and Maignan was twice called into action in quick succession. Firstly he parried a Bourigeaud shot from outside the box, then produced an instinctive stop to deny Kalimuendo’s shot which seemed destined for the roof of the net.

The final break of the first half saw Jovic lead Milan away on a two-on-two counter-attack, rolling the ball to Leao who ambled into the box but just like on a couple of other previous occasions he waited too long to make a decision and had it stolen from him.

It was Leao who again had a golden opportunity to get his second Europa League goal as a ball over the top put him through on goal and this time with nobody really close to him, though he never really looked convincing as he approached goal and Mandanda stopped his right-footed effort fairly easily in the end.

The home crowd began to believe once again when they were awarded a spot kick in the 54th minute when Kjaer tried to cut out a ball into Terrier but only got his man. Bourigeaud took on the responsibility from the spot, and rather confidently thumped it into the bottom right corner.

However, their lead on the night was once again short-lived as Leao finally took an opportunity. Whether he actually meant to do what he did only he will know, but after picking up the ball about 40 yards out he strode down the middle and seemed to evade the last man and bundle his way past  Mandanda, leaving an empty net to slot into.

Pioli probably hoped that Leao’s goal would be enough to kill things once and for all, and so he made a triple change. Ruben Loftus-Cheek replaced Bennacer, Noah Okafor came on for Leao and Samuel Chukwueze took Pulisic’s spot.

The drama was far from over as Rennes were then awarded another penalty that was certainly on the softer side. A cross from the right was headed goalwards by Kalimuendo and a corner was given, but VAR called the referee over for a handball on Jovic which seemed harsh. Bourigeaud again took it, and again comprehensively beat Maignan to net his hat-trick.

With ten minutes left to play Pioli made another change with Malick Thiaw coming on for Musah, marking a change to playing three centre-backs to try see the game out. Then, Florenzi made way for Filippo Terracciano.

Maignan had a couple more saves to make to see things out with Salah’s curling effort pushed away and Bourigeaud seeing another attempt easily stopped, as Milan confirmed their place in the last 16 of the competition.


Tags AC Milan Rennes Milan


  1. A disappointing result,there is nothing to celebrate because if we play against rennes like this there is no chance we even make it to the finals.

    1. What do you mean disappointing? We go through having scored more goals from open play than Rennes with 2 (very soft) PK’s

      Rennes wasn’t good.

      1. thats the whole point. rennes wasnt good and we still, somehow, shot ourselfs in the foot and ate 3 goals.

        what happens when we play with someone who is good?

        1. It is one good goal, and two penalty kicks. That’s what they needed to attempt to even get close. And of the two penalty kicks, one was very soft, and I’m lucky, the other one was due to an individual mistake.

          I have no qualms about this game. Of course, I would want us to win each and every time, but if you step back and take a more global look, again, we did what we had to.

  2. I’ll call this a comfortable defeat.
    The team was toying with Rennes… We would’ve beating the hell outta them if we really wanted to play. Forza Milan! ❤️ 🖤

  3. What a horrible performance. Don’t care how you look at it, lost to Rennes who’s in 7th in the French league. Could have lost by more too. Sick of pioli

    1. That’s true. It hasn’t improved much this season so far… That’s on Pioli but he’s doing the best he has to work with given the absences and returnees.

  4. All these negative comments are so stupid it’s comical. As if we didn’t start out the match up 3-0.
    They did what they needed to do. They were not trying to impress anyone. You saw what they did in the first game when they needed to. Grow up children.

    1. Doesn’t seem like very many can handle ugly games. Everyone wants a comfortable win every time. Doesn’t work like that, does it?

      We did what we had to do and moved on. PERIOD.

  5. just dreadfull. he put on his main wingers for this? Jesus would’ve been better to just park the bus in that case and play with subs on counter

  6. Ugly win is still that – A WIN. If you want to watch a team win every game comfortably then I don’t know what to tell you… this Milan isn’t your cup of tea. LOL!!!

    Ugly wins are good to rally around and build character. Ultimately we did what we had to to reach the next round. Hopefully we’ll be in better defensive shape next round.

    Many players need to step up though. Okafor, Chou, Thiaw, Maignan. Individual mistakes still seem to haunt us.


          1. It was an ugly game. Lost the battle won the war.

            VS Deportivo is Ancelotti had just defended and managed the game better Milan (maybe) wouldn’t have conceded 4 and dropped out.

            And that was with a FAR more talented team and coach.

    1. A comfortable win from milan are few and far between. It’s easy to say that we did what we had to do to progress but don’t forget Rennes are 7th in a poor French league. To be fair, Rennes were unlucky not to score more. They dominated milan. So yes there is a difference of doing what we had to do or getting outplayed and being scared that we could have fumbles a 3-0 advantage. Top teams don’t do that. Don’t know why there’s so much confidence in a team that hasn’t looked good.

    1. Don’t use K as your name if you are going to post such idiotic comments. That’s the name I use and don’t want anyone to think I’m that dumb.
      We won. We are going Through. The victory was never in doubt.
      The people getting upset here are the fake fans who hate the new ownership and Pioli and have been rooting for Milan to fail and are actually upset that Milan is going through. They can’t come out and say that so they look for other things to criticize and be mad about. They did what they needed to do. Keep hating on the team.

  7. Obviously our back up CBs are backups. Hard to criticize the team too much as those penalties were dreadful calls. I didn’t like hearing after the match Pioli claiming it’s harder than they expected. If Pioli wants some advice I’d say he should work harder to teach proper marking. On the only real goal Rennais scored Milan were out numbered; I’ve noticed that Milan over commit in situations where they don’t need to.

  8. Congratulations for the qualification Atlanta a very big challenge no excuses we can’t lose to them back to back to back pioli if you need to give your players babes to be motivated please do thanks

Comments are closed

Serie A Standings

Live football scores . Current table, fixtures & results.