AC Milan played their third friendly of the summer on Saturday night as they drew 1-1 with Ligue 1 side OGC Nice at the Allianz Riviera.
After two matches against Serie C opponents in preseason so far, Milan went into the game knowing that Nice would be comfortably their toughest opponents so far, and in the end Olivier Giroud’s second-half header from a free-kick cancelled out Gouiri’s penalty.
Nice are managed by Milan’s nemesis of sorts in Christophe Galtier, the ex-Lille boss who was in charge when they ended the Rossoneri’s unbeaten run in the post-lockdown era with a 3-0 humbling at San Siro.
He typically set up a high press to stifle Milan from playing out from the back and did not allow Pioli’s men to switch sides. Here is an example…
Tonali got quite a bit of criticism for his performance yesterday and deservedly so, but there are moments like the example which suggests he does have the potential to be a real quality midfield asset. However, as a player if you are not consistent you will not get to the top.
One of the pillars of Milan’s return to the Champions League has been the performances of Theo Hernandez at left-back, but the Frenchman was not at his best on Saturday. Mistakes like the one below show he has many aspects where he can improve.
One of the more frustrating players in recent months for Milan has been forward Rafael Leao, who can produce moments of magic but also go missing for large spells of games. The incident below should have been a penalty won, yet it was the only real impact he made.
Milan were cut open with positional interchanges between Nice players. In the clip below, Fikayo Tomori loses his man and with a quick exchange Amine Gouri – Nice’s talisman – is put on a 1v1 against Romagnoli. Instead of even attempting to close down his opponent, he lets Gouri have a free shot by getting into a defensive stance.
As a final point, it has to be noted how abysmal the refereeing performance was. There seemed to be an obvious bias towards the home side with several strong challenges going unpunished and obvious decisions not going the way of the Rossoneri.
In addition, OGC Nice open their league campaign next week and hence were better prepared, in a match tempo style of rhythm and physically out-battled Milan for this reason.