Shenzhen, China: Milan enjoyed a return to form after losing to Dortmund by battering Bayer Munich. Patrick Cutrone grabbed half the goals, with Hakan Çalhanoğlu and Franck Kessie grabbing one each as Montella’s Milan held Carlo Ancelotti’s Bayern by the neck. If Milan play like this throughout the season, they’ll finish well! While it is pre-season, there was a lot to like as Milan’s first-team pushed Bayern out the game with constant pressing and cutting runs.
Ricardo Rodriguez impressed - constantly looking to overlap on the left. You’d expect that, especially if RicRod is Milan’s main threat out on the left. He made his real mark on the game by zipping down the left of the box, playing a sloppy one-two with M’Baye Niang before passing a ball against the surging Cutrone. The rebound found Franck Kessie who slammed the ball into the net.Beautiful? No - but sometimes you have to get ugly to win and Kessie was in the right place at the right time to bury the ball beyond Bayern’s Früchtl.
Rodriguez also showed his ability from set-pieces and punished Bayern with a high ball in which found the head of Patick Cutrone who placed it past Früchtl as the Munich defense stood still; helpless, watching Milan’s second goal of the match fly into the net.
Franck Kessie was a star for Milan over in Shenzhen. His pressing from deep put pressure on Bayern and almost forced plenty of counter attacks. If he carries this on, Milan will have a number of threats from deep.
Gianluigi Donnarumma didn’t get many chances to shine early on as Bayern flopped when it mattered. Bayern’s best chance came from an awful backpass from Giacoma Bonaventura that slipped past everyone into the path of Thomas Müller. Donnarumma reacted calmly and dealt with the threat. Good feet for a big lad! Munich’s main threat came from a Lewandowski free-kick - that hit the wall, while Franck Ribery skipped past the Milan defence, only to fire a low cross past everyone.
M’Baye Niang might not be a name you’d expect to hear much more from at AC Milan, but he was the main man behind Milan’s third goal of the match. Skipping through a heavy challenge from Ribery, the lanky Frenchman slalomed through the defense, drawing Munich players from all over to press. He played in Cutrone who sliced the defense open with a through ball to Bonaventura who played Cutrone back in, and the young Italian found the back of the net once more. The first half ended with three goals to Milan, and while the Rossoneri were rampant, it was the poor play of a clearly out-of-sorts Bayern that allowed Milan to score so many.
In the 60th minute of the match, Leonardo Bonucci made his debut with Zapata passing the baton. Biglia had arrived at half-time along with Andre Silva. What’s surprising about this game is how Milan kept their tempo up throughout the game. While this relied mostly on Franck Kessie (and Fabio Borini pressing from the front, to be fair), Milan’s new playstyle could be seen the most in Hakan Çalhanoğlu, who snapped at the heels of Bayern’s midfield. The Turkish playmaker sealed the deal in China with a long-range shot to rack up the score to four.
This was a full team effort and while Milan benefited from a dull, sluggish opponent, they need to ensure they keep this level of play up. Bayern had a lion’s share of the possession, but looked like mere house cats against a Milan team that certainly looked up for the battle. Milan’s intensity won them the game and they will need to repeat that if they want success from this coming season.