AC Milan went into this match knowing that a win against Chievo Verona would guarantee them third place for at least another week before the Derby della Madonnina against Inter Milan next weekend, meanwhile Chievo Verona would be looking for any kind of points in order to somehow claw out of the relegation spots where they have been been all season.
The opening few minutes were pretty quiet, with Milan missing chances as Chievo looked to try to limit the Milan chances, putting 10 men behind the ball and clogging the midfield in order to slow down the Milan attacks.
Samu Castillejo was the catalyst in the early part of the match as most of the attacking pressure came from his boots. Milan came close a few times, with Franck Kessie missing a shot that he probably should have squared for a teammate and Castillejo tried to play in Krzysztof Piatek when a shot on goal probably would have been the better play.
Biglia choosing the rare 'around the far side of the wall to the near post' technique there, you don’t often see right footed players do it. pic.twitter.com/W2oIjy5X1u— Para (@Paracelsus) March 9, 2019
Lucas Biglia, of all people, opened the scoring in the 31st minute with a brilliantly taken free kick. The goal came from a free kick instead of from open play, as Milan hadn’t been able to get a lot going attacking wise, but a goal is still a goal. It was a well-taken free kick as well, with Biglia showing a remarkable level of skill to get the ball around the wall and still beat the keeper.
After it appeared that Lucas Paquetà had gotten injured, Gennaro Gattuso was sent off by the referee for an infraction on the sideline. Gattuso is one for wearing his heart on his sleeve, so it’s not a total shock that he would be sent off in a match, but it wasn’t clear what exactly triggered the sending off.
GOAL Hetemaj, Conti couldn’t get there in time pic.twitter.com/ODeOzUnUmZ— Para (@Paracelsus) March 9, 2019
The Milan joy wouldn’t last long, however, as Chievo struck back with an unlikely goal in the 41st minute. Andrea Conti wasn’t able to get back in time and a cross across the box went to an unmarked Përparim Hetemaj who made to mistake and put the ball into the back of the net past Gigo Donnarumma.
Milan played out the rest of the half looking a little disappointed to be level, and started the second half still looking a little peeved to have given up a goal to the team that had scored the least amount of goals in Serie A this season.
Milan battled back to try and get the lead, as they searched for a way to retake the lead. Hakan Calhanoglu was brought on for Paquetà in the 53rd minute, and almost immediately, the change brought Milan some joy.
Piatek’s goal pic.twitter.com/COTU3HMJf8— #2021 (@semo33x) March 9, 2019
Piatek, of course, was the one to get the breakthrough. After the chance had looked like it had passed, after Piatek’s rather audacious attempt at a bicycle kick, he was able to put the ball back into the mix and Piatek didn’t make a mistake with a second chance to put Milan ahead.
There was some controversy surrounding the Piatek goal, as many referees would have whistled a foul on the Poland international striker for a high boot, but it appeared that the referee wasn’t interested because the player jumped into the challenge and into the kick of Piatek rather than Piatek kicking dangerously at his defender. VAR was consulted, and there was some objection to the goal, but in the end the second goal was allowed to stay on the board.
Davide Calabria was brought on for Andrea Conti and Fabio Borini was brought on late for Susoc, but once Milan had taken the lead, they never looked as if they would surrender it. Franck Kessie came close to a third goal, but his well-set up shot was dragged wide of the goal, with Milan fans, as usual, wishing that Kessie could shoot the ball.
Alessio Romagnoli came close near the end of the 90 minutes as a free kick was floated in and the captain’s header drifted agonizingly close to the far post, but it eventually harmlessly rolled out of touch.
In the end, however, it didn’t matter as Milan did enough defensively to hold onto the win, even with five minutes of stoppage time. Milan stay third and Chievo stay bottom of the table ahead of next weekend’s big match.