Torino hosted AC Milan today in what was an absolutely must-win for the Rossoneri if the team was going to contend at all for a Champions League berth. Torino have one of the meanest defenses in Serie A, but also struggle to score goals, so a visit from Milan, who have been terrible on the road this season, was just what the doctor ordered.
Gennaro Gattuso returned to the 4-3-3, which has been the best formation for Milan this season, but for reasons only he understand, Krzysztof Piatek, the leading scorer this season for Milan (and Genoa) was dropped to the bench while Patrick Cutrone was given the start in his stead. And while Piatek hasn’t been nearly as effective in recent weeks, at least this match featured a return of Lucas Paquetà, the Brazilian play maker who made such a difference for Milan after arriving in the January transfer window.
The first half was uninspired football from both teams, with Milan looking content to grind out a 0-0 draw on the road while Torino were encouraged by Milan’s inability to put together any final product. And while Milan had a majority of the possession, they were only able to put two shots on goal.
The second-half started just about the same for both clubs, with Milan looking like they would never score. Torino won an unlikely penalty and Andrea Belotti made no mistake and drilled the spot kick home in the 58th minute. The foul that won the penalty seemed soft at first blush and again in replays, but better defending wouldn’t have put Kessie in a position to give up a penalty in the first place. Going behind seemed to rattle Milan and were unlucky that an excellent header from Tiemoue Bakayoko came off the crossbar.
Torino grabbed their second goal of the game after Álex Berenguer got a well-earned second goal for the hosts, and Milan melted down, despite bringing on some attacking substitutions. Alessio Romagnoli’s red card for dissent, after applauding the referee after fouling a Torino player, summed up Milan’s day at the office.
Milan produced a disgraceful performance in one of the most important games of the season. Everyone's to blame and many players have played their way out of the club. Gattuso has also shown he's not capable of taking this side further. It's the truth, whether we like it or not.— Anthony Lopopolo (@sportscaddy) April 28, 2019
This loss will probably mean that Milan will not qualify for the Champions League, and after some of the recent performances, it’s hard to see how Milan fans could justify this team’s inclusion. If you’re keeping track at home, yes, this was the first Serie A victory for Torino over Milan in 18 years.
The dropping of Piatek, only to bring him on to try and get a goal or two late in the half, was just the icing on the crap cake. At this point it’s hard to even see Milan qualify for the Europa League.