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Player Ratings: Despite Loss to Inter, Balotelli, Kucka Shine in First Big Chances for Milan

Mario Balotelli was a bright spot for Milan in his second debut for the club.

Mario Balotelli was disappointed not to score, but he was menacing after entering the match in the 62nd minute.
Mario Balotelli was disappointed not to score, but he was menacing after entering the match in the 62nd minute.
Marco Luzzani/Getty Images

Despite a decent showing for most of the match, Milan fell short in the Derby Della Madonnina Sunday against Inter.

The Rossoneri fell 1-0, leaving them with only three points from their opening three matches. Regardless, Sunday's loss was Milan's best performance of the season.

Several players performed well for Milan Sunday night, while others failed to meet expectations. After mulling it over for a few days, here are the ratings of every Milan player from the derby.

  • Diego Lopez, GK, 6.5/10: Fredy Guarin's shot was not going to be stopped. There was nothing Lopez could do about it. Other than that, Lopez made three saves, none more important than his kick save on Mauro Icardi's chance right before halftime.
  • Ignazio Abate, LB, 5.5/10: Milan's back line fared well against Inter's fast-paced attack, but there was something a little off about Abate's game. Always feisty in derbies, Abate picked up a yellow card in the 22nd minute, forcing him to play on eggshells for the remainder of the match. Abate, who was filling in for Luca Antonelli, seems to have lost his place in the squad with the re-emergence of Mattia De Sciglio at right back.
  • Alessio Romagnoli, CB, 6.5/10: Romagnoli is starting to settle into his role as the anchor of Milan's defense. The 20-year-old Italian got turned around by Guarin on his goal, but other than that, it was a solid performance from Romagnoli.
  • Cristian Zapata, CB, 6.5/10: Zapata tried to level the match in the 83rd minute, but his effort at goal was blocked. Defensively, he paired well with Romagnoli for the second match in a row. He stepped into position to block Guarin's path to goal, and with Giacomo Bonaventura recovering, he did not step forward, leaving Guarin the space to shoot. There was nothing wrong with Zapata's decision on the play.
  • Mattia De Sciglio, RB, 6.5/10: De Sciglio looks to be nearing his 2013-14 form. After a difficult season last year, it is good to see the young Italian getting back to his old self.
  • Riccardo Montolvio, MID, 5/10: Days later, and Sinisa Mihajlovic's decision to play Montolivo over Nigel De Jong still makes no sense. De Jong is Milan's midfield general, even though Montolivo still bears the armband when he's on the field. Typical Montolivo actions did not help Milan Sunday. Instead of trying to settle the match down and move the ball forward, Montolivo took too many chances from distance late in the match.
  • Giacomo Bonaventura, MID, 6/10: It was not a terrible showing in the midfield from Bonaventura, but it would be nice to see him play the trequartista role, at least until Jeremy Menez is good to go. Of course, not having Andrea Bertolacci available put Mihajlovic in a tough spot with his midfield selections, and it was not a disappointing game from Bonaventura. He created a couple nice chances going forward, and he led the team with six shot attempts.
  • Juraj Kucka, MID, 7/10: Pessimism reigned when Kucka was announced in the starting lineup Sunday. His debut against Empoli, though a small sampling, left Milan fans wanting more from the latest addition to the midfield. He was a dangerous customer Sunday, barreling down the right flank with the intention of whipping the ball into the middle – or was he trying to shoot as hard as he can? A lot of his crosses (shots?) went into the midsection of an opponent or teammate about four yards away.
  • Keisuke Honda, CAM, 5/10: What was that performance from Honda? He looked lost out there, creating serious problems for Milan as it tried to move from the midfield into the attacking third.
  • Carlos Bacca, FW, 6/10: Bacca looked more like an attacking midfielder than Honda did, feeding some dangerous passes to Luiz Adriano. It was a curious decision from Mihajlovic when he took Bacca off for Mario Balotelli, rather than Honda or Adriano.
  • Luiz Adriano, FW, 4.5/10: Three golden chances in the first half, and Adriano failed to convert all of them. The Brazilian could have given Milan the lead and all the momentum within three minutes, but he failed to beat Samir Handanovic with a point-blank chance after a beautiful ball from Bacca. Milan needs more from its strikers.
  • Alessio Cerci, CAM (Replaced Honda in the 81st minute), No Score: Cerci was only on the field long enough to determine he would have been about as effective as Honda, which is not saying much.
  • Andrea Poli, MID (Replaced Kucka in the 72nd minute), 5/10: Poli was not as explosive as Kucka, but by the time he came in, Milan looked to have kicked into desperation mode in the attack.
  • Mario Balotelli, FW (Replaced Bacca in the 62nd minute), 7/10: It was great to see Mario Balotelli return to the pitch for Milan and look like he had not skipped a beat. After a down year at Liverpool, the powerful Italian showed impressive motivation.