AC Milan are still without a win in 2017 and their season is in serious danger of collapse. A horrible run of form and a severe lack of players could spell disaster for Vincezo Montella.
The first half was a relatively mixed affair for Montella’s rossoneri. A patchwork back-four featuring the returning Cristián Zapata managed to somehow nullify a surging Sampdoria (mostly thanks to the heroic presence of Gianluigi Donnarumma) and despite the relative ‘success’ of Milan’s jury-rigged defence, Milan found no reward in their attack.
HUGE 1 v 1 SAVE BY DONNARUMMA!! pic.twitter.com/SFicA4744h— TheMilanBible (@TheMilanBible) February 5, 2017
Milan’s attack won plenty of corners, but were stifled by the structured defence of Sampdoria. Mainly forced to crossing from wide positions, Suso, Bacca and Deulofeu couldn’t form an efficient striking unit until late in the first half, where Milan decided to direct all play through Suso on the right. This will come with time and Suso and Deulofeu found a lot more success in their passing towards the break, but still lacked a goal. Neither managed to provide a cross or pass which would find the isolated Carlos Bacca.
Bertolacci tested Sampdoria’s keeper, Viviano, twice with two long-range efforts, which were perhaps the best chances for a toothless Milan in the first forty-five. Milan can also count themselves lucky as Sampdoria’s Muriel was pulled back for a foul that didn’t happen, when the striker was through on goal.
After the break, it was Deulofeu who had the best chance for the rossoneri. He broke in from the left and hovered over the ball for what seemed like an eternity before striking the ball past Viviano and against the post. Carlos Bacca was presented with an open goal but couldn’t find his shooting boots. Bacca’s misfortune continued into the 50th minute as he slice an overhead kick. The Colombian would have had two goals to his name in regular form inside the 60th minute - but such is life. Deulofeu also played Pasalic through, but the Croatian shot wide.
As the 65th minute approached, Milan had a shout for a penalty turned down as Bacca was pushed over in the box.
A strong case was to be made for Zapata, who saved Milan on a number of occasions and looked more than once to be the personification of a brick wall in the face of Sampdoria’s attack, however his mistake allowed Quagliarella to dupe Paletta into a clumsy tackle in the box. A penalty was awarded to Sampdoria which Muriel dispatched, sending Gianluigi Donnarumma the wrong way.
The arrival of Gianluca Lapadula and Ignazio Abate for Pasalic and Bacca heralded a push forward for Milan, but despite the onrushing Suso and Deulofeu - neither could find anything. Lucas Ocampos also made his debut, replacing Bertolacci.
An ill-timed tackle by Zapata provided another break for Sampdoria, but thankfully it came to nothing. A second goal for Sampdoria would have crushed a faltering Milan who symbolically fell apart the second Zapata faded.
Milan had an amazing chance as the 90th minute approached. Lapadula was played onside but was denied one-on-one by Viviano - Deulofeu smacked the rebound into the fallen keeper as well. Milan’s inability to take anyone of their bunch of chances meant that this match was going to run away from them. That was always on the cards.
Speaking of cards, Jose Sosa was harshly sent off late on after a slight clash on the counter. While a foul, a second yellow was hard. Milan will now lack for bodies in the defence thanks to their injury crisis at the back.
Despite a strong fight for the three points from Sampdoria, anything that could go wrong for the rossoneri, went wrong. For Milan, it’s just another day at the office.