AC Milan hosted Empoli in a match that Milan needed to pick up a good win in order to stay on pace for a spot in next year’s Champions League. A win would see Milan get within a point of third place city rivals Inter Milan and extend their lead over AS Roma to four points, while Empoli needed a win to put some distance between themselves and the relegation spots.
The first half started strongly for Milan, with the hosts putting the visitors to the sword early, putting pressure on and looking to get a leg up.
Paqueta was indeed offside. pic.twitter.com/kP2wMVfuCi— TheMilanBible (@TheMilanBible) February 22, 2019
Lucas Paqueta appeared to get Milan on the board first, but the goal was overruled, correctly, for offsides. The disallowed goal came within the first 10 minutes of the match, and after it was taken off the board, Milan seemed to slow down and looked sluggish.
Milan and Empoli both slogged their way through the rest of the half, but neither team came close to scoring a goal and it started to look like one of those games from last autumn, where Milan slogged their way through a match, only to allow a late goal and snatch a draw or defeat from the jaws of victory.
However, as bad as the first half was, the second half was a total opposite, as Milan came out and put the game to bed within about 10 minutes.
Beautiful goal, Piatek with the finish! pic.twitter.com/98C22sAZ1G— MilanGifs (@MilanGifs) February 22, 2019
Kryzsztof Piatek scored again, this time from a tight angle inside the box after he slipped in between a pair of Empoli defenders after he was picked out by a beautiful pass from Hakan Calhanoglu.
Franck Kessie followed up the Piatek goal by chipping the keeper after Samu Castillejo had done brilliant work down the flank to dig out the ball and start the attack. His pass picked out Kessie and the Ivorian made no mistake, and his finish was absolutely spectacular.
Bakayoko to Conti to Castillejo— Para (@Paracelsus) February 22, 2019
3-0, game, set, match. pic.twitter.com/lSKCUvFkQd
Castillejo would get himself a goal a little while later, doing well to put an excellent shot behind Empoli’s on-loan Fiorentina keeper Bartłomiej Drągowski. Andrea Conti even had an excellent cross into the feet of Castillejo, and his shot at the near post was brilliantly taken and seemed to take Drągowski by surprise.
Fabio Borini had a goal taken off the board for offside later in the match, as Milan was cruising in this match, but it didn’t matter very much in the end. Milan overcame a stubborn Empoli side to pick up all three points at the San Siro, and now will await the rest of the weekend’s results to see if anyone drops points in the race for the Champions League spots.