AC Milan hosted Napoli today at the San Siro, and while before the match the debut of Krzysztof Piątek was the most anticipated part of the match, in the end it was the defense of Milan and some excellent goalkeeping from Gianluigi Donnarumma that made the most impact as the teams drew 0-0, despite some good chances by both teams, especially from Napoli late in the match.
Milan and Napoli were pretty even in the first half, with neither side looking very close to scoring a goal, despite some decent opportunities from both sides. Both teams defended well, with Kevin Malcuit for Napoli doing an excellent job on a number of different occasions, while Alessio Romagnoli and Mateo Musacchio did well to stop almost anything from becoming very dangerous and there wasn’t much that challenged Donnarumma.
The best chances in the first half seemed to come from Hakan Calhanoglu and Lucas Paqueta, as the two of them seemed to be developing a decent understanding down the left-hand side of the Milan attack. Davide Calabria had a great cross that almost picked out Cutrone, but Malcuit got his head in the way and was able to send it behind for a corner kick.
47' WHAT A CHANCE! Kessie's shot from inside the box is defelected into a corner / OCCASIONISSIMA PER KESSIE! Il tiro dell'ivoriano è deviato in corner#MilanNapoli 0-0— AC Milan (@acmilan) January 26, 2019
The second half started better for Milan, as they put some early pressure on the Napoli goal, but a couple chances, including a very good one from Franck Kessie, He took perhaps one more touch than he should have in the box, but his shot was brilliantly stopped by Malcuit.
Donnarumma made a pair of good saves around the 60th minute mark, first after a Napoli’s Dries Mertens had gotten free and dribbled past the entire Milan team, Gigio grabbed the ball out of the air and Arkadiusz Milik had a powerful shot that was well-saved, despite Donnarumma’s position making Milik’s shot end up straight at him.
Fabio Borini was brought on in the 69th minute for Paqueta, who appeared to be tiring as the game wore on, although that seemed true for most of the Milan team as Napoli started to dial up the pressure.
Piątek makes his debut for Milan, replacing Cutrone— Milan Eye (@MilanEye) January 26, 2019
Piatek made his Milan debut in the 71st, coming on for Cutrone. A big moment for both the player and the club, as Piatek would have been wanting to come on and justify the large transfer fee and hype that surrounded his move to Milan from Genoa.
Goodness what a save from Ospina on Musacchio’s shot pic.twitter.com/xtNgHWLBnY— Parą (@Paracelsus) January 26, 2019
After Piatek had gone close, Napoli goalkeeper David Ospina went down gingerly and looked like he was hobbled, although he did have enough in him to paw away a sloppy shot from Musacchio that was the closest that Milan has had for a goal from a set piece so far this season.
Napoli came close a couple different times, as Milan started to get pinned back in their half and had to rely on their defense to carry them through the match. Piatek didn’t get much of a chance to make much of an impression, as Milan looked tired and unable to mount very many attacks in the last half-hour or so of the match.
Napoli came close again late on, but a pair of long-range shots were easily saved by Donnarumma as he looked to keep yet another clean sheet in Serie A this season. And while this wouldn’t necessarily be a match to remember as the debut for Piatek, a 0-0 draw with a team that is far above the rossoneri in the table isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
Calhanoglu was taken off right before the start of stoppage time and Diego Laxalt was brought on to see the match out and preserve the nil-nil draw. Fabian Ruiz saw red for a second hand ball offense in the dying minutes of the match, although the decision looked a bit harsh, but Milan were not able to make their numerical advantage count for very much as the match ended level with neither team being able to score a goal.