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A.C. Milan 1 - 0 Universitatea Craiova: Milan take advantage in Europa League first leg

Milan had a tough game, but saw out the match with a win and a away goal.

Romanian Liga I: FC Universitatea Craiova v FC CFR 1907 Cluj Photo by Daniel Mihailescu/EuroFootball/Getty Images

Severin, Romania - Milan returned to Europa League football. Now, it wasn’t the most beautiful of games, but we’ll take a win with half of our squad.

The boys came out sluggish and almost gave up a lead early in the 23’, but Gianluigi Donnarumma made a sublime save to deny the breakaway. From then on, whilst shaky at times, Milan were ultimately the better side. Patrick Cutrone saw his effort hit the post but really, the young Italian played well up front. M’baye Niang hit quite a few shots straight at the keeper, but at least they were on target. It was the 44’ when Fabio Borini drew a free kick that Rodriguez curled in from a wide angle to give Milan the lead.

Some credit must be given to Mateo Musacchio as his attempt to hit the ball actually seemed to have blocked the vision of CS Craiova’s goalkeeper, allowing the ball to continue its patch towards goal. The second leg will take place August 3rd at the San Siro, and the red and blacks are sure to have more players fit and more of the new signings geared up and ready to go. It should be noted that CS Craiova have also already started their season, which makes their relative advantage in fitness at the end of the game more explainable.

The only real question throughout the game was, why on earth was Riccardo Montolivo still playing at the half? Locatelli would’ve been a much better start today. The real heroes came from the Rossoneri defense and props to Franck Kessie as well. Kessie was a force to be reckoned with in the midfield and was constantly looking to serve the ball deep. Musacchio was a brick wall in Milan’s defense, shutting the Romanian side down for the majority of the game and he rightfully earned our MOTM, though a solid argument can be made for Rodriguez and Kessie as well. Rodriguez proved to be the left back we’ve been hoping for, one that gets involved in the attack as he almost scored on a separate occasion in the first half. It certainly wasn’t the brightest performance today, but it was the first competitive match without our full squad, so some hiccups were to be expected. As previously stated, the second leg will be on August 3rd at the San Siro, and that’s going to be quite the game to watch (hopefully).

Player Ratings:

Donnarumma – 7

Abate – 5

Zapata – 6

Musacchio – 8 (MOTM)

Rodriguez – 7.5

Bonaventura – 6.5

Montolivo – 3.5

Kessie – 7.5

Niang – 5.5

Cutrone – 6.5

Borini – 6