Milan travelled to Verona with hopes of continuing their path towards the Scudetto, but it was never going to be easy against a resilient Hellas side. Indeed, that ended up being the case but the Rossoneri won in the end.
The game started with a high pace as both teams attacked and it was entertaining to watch from a neutral point of view. Sandro Tonali eventually opened the scoring, but the goal was later ruled out for offside. If that hadn’t been the case, it would’ve been yet another assist for Mike Maignan, whose contribution continues to be key.
To make matters worse, it was Verona that broke the deadlock with Davide Faraoni heading the ball past Maignan. The Rossoneri didn’t seem too bothered by the goal, however, and started to attack and press even more which resulted in Rafael Leao assisting Tonali for the equaliser just minutes before the halftime mark.
In the second half, the game continued to look well-balanced as both sides had their moments, but it was Leao that again provided Tonali with another lovely ball and the Italian made no mistakes. After the second goal, Milan did play a little bit more defensively, but eventually managed to find a third goal through Florenzi, who came off the bench to seal the three points. Here are five things we learned…
1. Dominant display by Tonali
Tonali won the man of the match in our post-game ratings and deservedly so. The Italian was all over the place, recovering the ball and joining the attacks. He also switched positions with Rade Krunic at times and had a more advanced role, which lead to him racking up two goals. It’s just a shame that his first was ruled out.
The youngster led his team to a very important comeback and continues to improve and amaze. At the age of 22, it’s very hard to debate against the fact that he’s the future of Italy and Milan.
2. Krunic an improvement over Diaz
The Bosnian had a solid game and his constant rotation with Tonali caused a lot of issues for Verona. The midfielder, of course, was given the nod ahead of Brahim Diaz and he seemed miles better than the Spaniard.
Despite lacking the technique, he proves again and again that he is an intelligent and composed player as he kept things simple in attack and helped a lot in defence with his physique.
The future isn’t quite clear for the Bosnian, but frankly, he’s done what has been asked of him in probably every game he has played and it seems like a no-brainer to keep him as an option on the bench.
3. Leao leading the way
Tonali probably wouldn’t have bagged a brace if it wasn’t for Leao. The Portuguese winger was a constant threat on the left-hand side as he’s just unplayable on a good day. He had no problem beating his man on the first goal, showing off great dribbling, and then showcased his amazing pace on the second goal to help hand Milan the lead.
The winger is certainly a contender for the Player of the Season for Milan, and you could even argue that he’s one of the best in the league as well. It was a champion display by Leao as he’s a real joy to watch when things work out.
4. Defensive solidity continues
It was a more or less errorless game for both Kalulu and Tomori as they helped Milan bounce back after the opening goal and prevented Verona from scoring a second. The duo thus continued their super form and it seems obvious that they need to continue being the starters going into next season as well.
Theo Hernandez was also solid on the left when it comes to his defensive duties, but in all fairness, he didn’t really have that much to do, which makes it even more disappointing that we didn’t see much of him going forward.
Whilst the Frenchman wasn’t that busy, Verona heavily targeted Milan’s right side and Davide Calabria had a busy evening. The Italian was fighting off Caprari and Lazovic and got the better of the two the bigger part of the game excluding two or three situations.
5. Great substitutions by Pioli
Pioli also handled the game well as his decision to start Krunic and Saelemaekers paid off with the two having good games. Not just that, but the manager did everything right when it came to the in-game coaching.
In the second half, the likes of Rebic, Messias and Bennacer were introduced and especially the Croat was eager to press high as he constantly pushed forward, forcing Verona to commit mistakes. Messias also proved a good substitution as he ended up assisting Florenzi for his goal after a neat combination between the two.
As we already mentioned, Florenzi did his part by scoring a goal to seal the win. It was yet another confirmation of the fact that everybody in the squad is sharp, full of energy and has the desire to help the team in their Scudetto pursuit which is a joy to watch.