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Match Recap: AC Milan 5-2 Dudelange

Milan go down 2-1 and then run wild

AC Milan v F91 Dudelange - UEFA Europa League - Group F Photo by Emilio Andreoli/Getty Images

AC Milan beat F91 Dudelange today by the comfortable-looking score of 5 -2 at the San Siro today, but that wouldn’t tell the story of the match. The first half was a fairly even match, with Dudelange coming back from behind to draw level to send the match at half-time even.

And then Dudelange scored to take the lead in the second half.

Suso was almost immediately brought into the match for a rather anonymous Alen Halilovic, and the come back was on, with Milan scoring four goals in the second half to put away the match and get at least one foot in the door of the next round of the Europa League.

Milan came out of the blocks looking to put Dudelange away and guarantee their trip to the knockout rounds of the Europa League.

Patrick Cutrone got a sloppy goal in the 21st minute to take the lead, after a series of chances for Milan, but after the goal, Milan seemed to take the foot off of the gas pedal, and started to get lazy, although they seemed to do enough to hold on to the lead.

However, Dudelange would strike back in the 39th minute to draw level, and Milan looked a little shocked. The players looked as if they were surprised to be in this position, and Milan didn’t really seem to try and do anything other than just get out of the half.

The second half started again with Milan looking asleep and just going through the motions, sleepwalking through the match while looking a little surprised to even still be in the match with the upstarts from Luxembourg.

And then the unthinkable, at least from a Milan perspective, happened.

After some rather dodgy defending, Dudelange scored a second goal to take a second-half lead at the San Siro in the 49th minute.

Gennaro Gattuso immediately went to his bench, hauling Halilovic off for Suso in the 52nd minute, and also replacing Andrea Bertolacci with Jose Mauri in the 58th minute. Those subs would pay off.

Cutrone and Hakan Calhanoglu combined for Milan’s second goal in the 66th minute, although it was ruled as an own-goal, it was still some brilliant work by both players to get free as Milan started to wake up and the space that was opened up by the introduction of Mauri and Suso.

Speaking of space, Calhanoglu was left in acres of space in the middle of the park, and the Turkey international must have realized that the Dudelange keeper was starting to get rattled, because he shot the ball from well outside the box, and the ball went past the keeper in a goal that he would probably like another chance to get his hands on. This goal was scored less than five minutes after the second Milan goal, coming at the 70th minute.

Not content with a single own-goal, Dudelange managed to put the ball into their own net once again. Stefan Simic got up ready to fight, and the replay showed why, as the Dudelange defender simply wrapped his arms around Simic and threw him to the ground. If the ball hadn’t gone in to the back of the net, there would have been a very, very good case for a penalty for Milan.

Fabio Borini came in late on in the match, and he scored within a minute of his entry to the game. What appeared to have been a serious challenge for Milan suddenly was a walk in the park with even Borini getting a goal.

If before the match, someone had told you that Milan would score five goals, you probably would have made a bet that Gonzalo Higuain would have gotten at least one and felt pretty good about yourself.

However, the Argentina international really wasn’t much of a factor, especially in the second half when Milan woke up and went to work. Hopefully this performance by Calhanoglu wakes him up, as Milan will be needing some scoring help this weekend with Higuain still suspended for the match against Parma.

All’s well that ends well, right? Anyway, despite a scare, Milan get a 5-2 victory and with Real Betis beating Olympiacos 1-0 in the other Group F match, Milan will only need a draw with the Greek side to progress to the knockout rounds.