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Reviewing Every Goal AC Milan Allowed This Season: Part Two

Milan had a tough run of form during this stretch of matches.

Krzysztof Piatek of AC Milan reacts during the Serie A... Photo by Nicolò Campo/LightRocket via Getty Images

With Marco Giampaolo’s time at the club coming to an end, the Stefano Pioli era got off to a rough start with Milan taking just five points in his first six matches. Playing four of the Serie A’s top six teams, the Rossoneri had a great opportunity to make up ground in the standings, but the club grabbed just one measly point.

Match 7: Genoa 1, AC Milan 2

Milan traveled to Genoa desperately needing a win after losing three straight matches. Despite playing poorly, the club came away with three points in what was a dreadful match to watch. The matchup, Giampaolo’s last at Milan, saw 11 total cards, 4 of which were red, two penalties and 37 fouls.

Goal 9: Genoa’s loan goal of the match is straightforward: it was a blatant goalkeeping error.

Standing in for Gianluigi Donnarumma, Pepe Reina badly misjudges Lasse Schöne’s free kick, and the ball glances off his side into the net. Schöne’s shot is hit hard and dips, which throws off the veteran keeper for a mind-boggling mistake. Reina was very lucky that this mishap did not cost Milan two or three points, though it certainly did not do his manager any favors.

Match 8: AC Milan 2, Lecce 2

Pioli’s reign got off to an unlucky start against Lecce. Milan dominated much of this match, but a thoughtless handball by Andrea Conti and a stoppage time goal prevented the club from taking all three points.

Goal 10: Lecce first drew level with Milan in the 62nd minute.

Andrea Conti steps up to intercept Diego Farias’ cross, but his poorly-timed header sends the ball directly into his outstretched right arm. VAR confirms the penalty, which Donnarumma saves, but the goalkeeper parries the ball directly into the path of the penalty taker, Khouma Babacar. The Senegalese forward easily finishes the rebound into the open net.

Goal 11: After Krystof Piatek pulled Milan back in front in the 81st minute, another crucial error would allow Lecce to draw level in stoppage time.

Milan’s midfield drops far too deep once Lecce takes the ball into the corner. When holding onto a lead, keeping a strong defensive formation is critical, and Milan’s chaotic backline falls apart almost immediately.

In the corner of the box, Musacchio, Romagnoli, Biglia, Krunić and Rebić are all surrounding two Lecce players, leaving Marco Calderoni (#27) and Farias (offscreen on the left wing) completely unmarked. Had Lucas Biglia or Rade Krunić been higher up and further inside (as they should be in this defensive shape), then Calderoni would not have had so much time to shoot. Additionally, Suso (#8) does nothing here, preferring to stand near the centre of the pitch, marking no one while his flank is exposed for the game-tying goal.

Match 9: Roma 2, AC Milan 1

Milan continued its poor run of form against a Roma team that was dealing with a multitude of injuries. Once again, two defensive mishaps were the downfall of the Rossoneri, and the club returned home from Rome with no points.

Goal 12: Roma’s first goal of the match came in the 38th minute on a corner kick.

Here, Franck Kessié and Andrea Conti completely botch their markings. Conti is out-run to the front post by Gianluca Mancini, who heads the ball across the frame of the goal. At the same time, Kessié decides to join a three-player “group hug,” instead of dropping back and being certain that he could follow his man. The centre midfielder is essentially picked by Roma and allows Edin Džeko to have an open look on goal, which the tall striker converts.

Goal 13: Roma’s game-winning goal was a combination of absurd and pathetic, coming from a Davide Calabria misfired pass. The long range strike from Nicolò Zaniolo is yet another example of a goal that AC Milan should have prevented this season.

The most obvious error here is Calabria’s dreadful pass. Instead of playing the ball up the touchline to the space in front of Lucas Biglia, the outside back plays a soft pass inside towards Kessié, which never has a chance of reaching him. When under pressure in the defensive third, a good rule to follow is never play the ball inside, it is much better to clear it upfield. However, even after Calabria’s ill-fated pass, this goal is still entirely avoidable, as Milan still hold a five-on-four numbers advantage. Then, Kessié stops running alongside Zaniolo for some untold reason, allowing the winger yards of space. When the through-ball is played to Javier Pastore, Mateo Musacchio, who is in a good position, terribly times his interception, deflecting the ball to the wide-open Zaniolo. The Roma midfielder sends Donnarumma the wrong way, sealing the match for his club.

For anyone wanting to read a more detailed breakdown of this match, Douglas Ramsey wrote a fantastic article summarizing what went wrong.

Match 11: AC Milan 1, Lazio 2

Title challengers Lazio came to the San Siro on the heels of Milan’s 1-0 victory over SPAL. The Rossoneri had a tough day on offense and fell at home to the Roman club for the first time in thirty years.

Goal 14: After hitting the crossbar in the 21st minute, Ciro Immobile was able to convert just moments later thanks to a beautiful cross from Manuel Lazzari.

In this first clip, it is immediately apparent that Théo Hernandez is far too high up the field, which became something of a trend this season. Though the left back recovers, he makes a critical mistake by putting pressure on Sergej Milinković-Savić, who has the ball. This leaves his zone of the field exposed, and allows for a three-on-one against Alessio Romagnoli. The ball eventually finds Lazzari, who is wide open in the exact spot where Hernandez should be.

Lazzari delivers a great cross to Immobile, the lone Lazio attacker in the box, who heads the ball for the first goal of the match. Duarte completely loses his man here, and Romagnoli is somewhat out of position, but the issue lies more with build up play rather than the actual goal.

Goal 15: Just moments after scoring, Lazio conceded an unfortunate own goal, a deflection off of defender Bastos. The teams stayed level for the next hour before Milan allowed a heartbreaking game-winner in the 83rd minute.

After a clearance from Bastos, Duarte fails to properly head the ball, which lands at the feet of Luis Alberto. Alberto then takes advantage of the space in front of him, allowing two options to emerge on the wings: Joaquín Correa on the right and Danilo Cataldi on the left. However, as Alberto dribbles into space, Duarte leaves Correa and inexplicably joins Davide Calabria in the centre of the pitch. Alberto then finds the wide-open Correa, who easily scores to erase Milan’s hopes of taking any points. This play should have been a straightforward one-on-three in favor of Milan, but Duarte’s two errors turn it into an easy goal for Lazio.

Match 12: Juventus 1, AC Milan 0

In dreadful form that had seen the club win just two of their last eight matches, the last thing Milan needed was an away game at Juventus. However, the Rossoneri played better than expected, defending well all game. Unfortunately, against Ronaldo and company, playing a decent match is rarely going to be enough to come away with three points.

Goal 16: Paulo Dybala subbed on for Ronaldo in the 54th minute, and the move immediately paid dividends for Juventus.

After several seconds of quick passing in the centre of the pitch, Gonzalo Higuaín finds Dybala with an one-touch pass that splits Ismael Bennacer and Romagnoli. Milan’s captain clumsily lunges to tackle the Argentine, but misses, sending the forward through to goal. The backline here is well positioned, but an individual mistake once again leads to a heartbreaking loss for Milan.

Match 13: AC Milan 1, Napoli 1

Milan returned to the San Siro with a much less intimidating challenge ahead of them: Napoli. The Naples club, struggling to balance the Champions League and the Serie A, had not won a league match in four games and seemed to be vulnerable to the desperate Milan side.

Goal 17: Napoli’s only goal of the match, scored by Mexican star Hirving Lozano, was a bizarre one, to say the least.

Lorenzo Insigne finds the ball off of a clearance from Alessio Romagnoli, and immediately makes quick work of Lucas Biglia at the top of the box. Mateo Mussachio, who has mercifully replaced Duarte by this point, steps well to Insigne and prevents the striker from getting a clean look on goal. Insigne’s ensuing shot takes a strange bounce off the corner of the frame and falls to Lozano, who heads the ball into the back of the net.

Lozano is able to score because Romagnoli has rashly stepped to Insigne, despite the fact that there are three other Milan players who are in a better position to block the shot. Then, Milan players wait until after the shot has come back into play to collect the rebound, when it is far too late. Milan quickly leveled the score minutes later, but were unable to do more.

Final Thoughts

Unfortunately for Milan, the season still had not hit rock bottom, which was coming in the form of draws to Sassuolo and Sampdoria and the infamous 5-0 loss to Atalanta. The poor individual defending in these matches, largely from centre backs, laid the groundwork for the club to bring in Simone Kjaer in a desperate attempt to reinforce the backline. Part three of this series will look at a win at Bologna, the aforementioned Atalanta disaster and a win against Udinese.