After a tough loss against Juventus last Monday, AC Milan were looking to bounce back in a big way this weekend.
And they did so emphatically by securing an important win over Empoli.
Here’s how they managed to secure the vital victory.
The First Half
During the first few minutes of the match, it looked like Empoli was the more dominant side. They had the first shot on target at the third minute, thanks to Anna Knol, whose shot went over the bar.
Milan would respond back a few minutes later when Valentina Bergamschi won a corner at the seventh minute. Berga took the corner that landed at the feet of Lianda Tucceri Cimini. Unfortunately, the fullback’s shot went wide of the target. The chance, however, represented Milan’s first, real chance of the game. It was also the beginning of Milan taking control of the match as well.
Tucceri Cimini would get another chance on target at the tenth minute, thanks to a pass from Natasha Dowie. Unfortunately, that failed to sail into the back of the net as well. The lack of goals during the first half was the only flaw in her performance, as Linda was otherwise solid throughout this match.
The real standouts of the half, however, were the previously mentioned Bergamaschi, and Refiloe Jane. Valentina, in particular, proved how invaluable she was for the club on the flanks, as her speed and crossing ability were unparalleled. Time and time again, she used both to her advantage as she tried to help Milan score.
The breakthrough would finally come at the 23rd minute, courtesy of Refiloe Jane.
⏱️ 23'— AC Milan (@acmilan) October 10, 2020
GOOOOOL @fifinhojane! ⚫
Rossonere meritatamente in vantaggio!
State seguendo il match sulla nostra app? https://t.co/k2zluibzhx #EmpoliMilan 0-1 #FollowTheRossonere #SempreMilan pic.twitter.com/3vcr2Kj3Ol
With that goal, Jane continued to prove how invaluable she is to the club. Refiloe was one of the few, standouts in Milan’s last match against Juventus. She was also one of the standouts of this match as well.
Milan would continue to probe for a second goal till the end of the half. However, they didn’t succeed in doubling their advantage.
The Second Half
Milan picked up where they left off in the second half. The first shot of the second half came from Caroline Rask, whose shot from distance sailed over the crossbar. That was then followed up by another chance from Tucceri Cimini (56’) that was snuffed out by the Empoli defense. That would then lead to Valentina Giacinti trying to score with her own chance at the 60th minute. The Milan skipper’s first goal of the match wouldn’t come until later.
Down, but not out, Empoli also had a few chances of their own, carved out by Acuti Arianna at the 72nd minute and then Cecilia Prugna at the 74th. The fact that they didn’t convert their chances is a testament to how strong Milan’s defense was during this match.
The defense, anchored by our two Lauras (Agard and Fusetti), were quick to snuff out any danger. They kept the Biancoblu’s offense in check and ensured that Milan kept a clean sheet.
Eventually, Milan would find their second goal at the 81st minute, thanks to captain Valentina Giacinti. Giacinti pounced upon a mistake by the Tuscans in order to double the Rossonere’s advantage.
Milan would put the game to bed at the 90th minute after Linda Tucceri Cimini’s cross found the back of the net. We’re sure she totally meant to do that.
The Rossonere would see the match through and claim all three points.
- This is the first time we’ve seen Milan field a 3-5-2 formation. Normally, the team plays four at the back. However, this is the first time we’ve seen them field a three-player defense under coach Maurizio Ganz.
- The Rossonere’s defense was strong enough to stop Empoli’s strong offense. Prior to this match, the Biancoblu have been a free-scoring side that have scored a whopping 18 goals this campaign. Milan are the first team to keep a clean sheet against them this for this term.
- Laura Agard has proven to be a shrewd pick-up for Milan. She has anchored the defense and has formed a vital partnership with vice-captain Laura Fusetti. Without her, this clean sheet would not have been possible.
- Refiloe Jane has proven how invaluable she is to Milan. The midfielder proved her worth in the match against Juventus, as she was one of the few, Milan players on the pitch who actually played well against the Bianconere. She proved her worth for the Rossonere again during this match, as her goal was the opening salvo for the team during this game. Without her, Milan wouldn’t have been able to claim all three points during this game.
After a tough and bitter loss against Juventus last week, the Rossonere bounced back in a big way against Empoli.
The win against the Tuscan side means Milan are doing well to keep apace at the top of the standings. If they can continue their good run of form, then they’ll secure a top-two finish and will qualify for next season’s Champions League.
Up next for them will be the Derby della Madonnina against Inter Milan on October 18th, before the league is postponed for yet another international break.