AC Milan took on Bayern Munich tonight in Kansas City in the International Champions Cup in what is billed as a “cup” competition, but in reality is a friendly and a chance for United States and other North American Rossoneri to see their team up close and in person. This was also the first chance for most Milan fans to see how the team would play under new manager Marco Giampaolo, who joined this summer from Sampdoria after Gennaro Gattuso was let go.
The starting lineup was a mix of established players, players on the fringe of the starting XI, youth and new players, with Krzysztof Piatek, Hakan Calhanoglu, Fabio Borini, Lucas Biglia, Samu Castillejo, and Davide Calabria the familiar faces. Milan fans would also get a chance to see Theo Hernandez, who joined from Real Madrid, for the first time. And there would also be a Maldini in the lineup, with Paolo’s son, Daniel, starting in the midfield for Milan.
The first half was fairly quiet, as this is Milan’s first preseason ICC match, while Bayern had played a couple matches already, losing 1-2 to Arsenal and beating Real Madrid 3-1. It seemed pretty obvious in the first half that Bayern was much closer to being match-fit, while Milan still looked to be getting everyone on the same page while also building fitness.
Theo #Hernandez reported a right ankle sprain at the end of the first half.— The AC Milan-Godfather (@ACMilanSydney) July 24, 2019
The player will immediately undergo specific tests in hospital in Kansas City, to find out if there are no other injury besides the ankle distortion.@PietroMazzara
Theo Hernandez was a bright spot in the first half, as his runs down the left provided a lot of spark and he looked like one of the most dangerous players for Milan. And because we’re still in banter-era Milan, Theo of course went down injured with what was reported to be a right ankle sprain. The injury looked ugly in real time, and it didn’t look any better as he refused to put any weight on his right foot and had to be stretchered off. Andrea Conti was brought on for him.
The match had a little bit of the wind taken out of it, although Davide Calabria had earlier put a brilliant ball into the box that neither Castillejo or Piatek were able to get any contact on.
Goretzka GOAL - Kimmich assist— Bayern & Die Mannschaft (@eMiaSanMia) July 24, 2019
In the dying seconds of the frist half, Bayern would get a goal to go into halftime up 1-0. The makeshift central defense pairing for Milan were exposed fair too easily by Leon Goretzka and he was able to put the ball past a diving Donnarumma. Not a great goal to give up, but at least those weren’t the first choice central defenders, right?
Milan started the second half attempting to pick a little more steam, but were unable to get any real pressure on their opponents. Hakan Calhanoglu got a yellow card for a brutal, knee-on-knee tackle early in the second half. The Bayern player on the receiving end of the tackle, Kingsley Coman, went straight at Calhanoglu after popping back up and only the intervention of Alphonso Davies kept the two from coming to blows.
Cutrone with a great chance, found himself in front of keeper and shoots (if we can call that) straight at him.— The AC Milan-Godfather (@ACMilanSydney) July 24, 2019
Very poor finish, should have been 1-1
Patrick Cutrone came on for Daniel Maldini in the 60th minute and while he got a one v one against the keeper, his shot was extremely poor and he was unable to convert probably Milan’s best chance of the game.
Bayern Munich had a pair of goals called back, correctly, for offsides and hand-ball later in the match, and Giampaolo got a pair of teenagers, Antonio Mionić and Marco Brescianini into the match in injury time.
In the end, Milan didn’t get the win, but these friendlies aren’t about results, they’re about spreading good will and Rossoneri cheer to fans while building match fitness. The biggest negative was not the score, however, but the injury to Theo Hernandez. The absolute last thing you ever want to see in a preseason or friendly match is for players to go down injured, and especially on their debut for the club. Let’s hope he’s gonna be okay and able to make a quick return to the lineup.