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Milan Player Ratings: Milan 2-0 Roma

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A decisive substitution leads Milan to victory

AC Milan v AS Roma - Serie A Photo by Jonathan Moscrop/Getty Images

In Milan’s first game back for Serie A they played an exceptional match against Lecce. However, their match against Roma would be a tougher test. Manager Stefano Pioli used the same lineup that worked so well in the previous match. For the majority of the first half the teams played at a snails pace with very few chances created. Throughout the first half Milan struggled to move the ball into the final third and whenever they did, their attack fizzled out within seconds. Milan really only had two chances in the first half. One was when Ante Rebic rushed the Roma keeper and almost took the ball off his feet, the other was when Theo Hernandez curled the ball right to Hakan Calhanoglu but he failed to capitalize. First half ended 0-0.

For a good portion of the second half much stayed the same with both clubs not playing with much fluidity. Then Coach Pioli made substitutions that changed the game. Lucas Paqueta and Alexis Saelemaekers came on, all of a sudden Milan looked lively. Paqueta playing behind Rebic suited him well as he played dangerous balls in the final third and applied pressure on the Roma defence. Saelemaekers brought an energy on the right side that was lacking with Castillejo. As pressure was applied chances were created and after a scramble in the box Ante Rebic blasted a shot into the net putting Milan up one. Theo Hernandez continued the pressure as his attacking runs made a mess of Roma’s defence. Theo was tackled inside the box and Milan were awarded a penalty. Calhanoglu stepped up and scored to put the game away 2-0.

Now let’s rate the AC Milan player performance

STARTING LINE-UP

Gigio Donnarumma: Again not much to do for Gigio but when he was needed he showed up. 6.5/10

Andrea Conti: For me Conti doesn't bring much to the table and at times he was a ghost in this match. Milan need someone on the right side that plays similar to Theo and they don't have that on the squad right now. 5.5/10

Simon Kjaer: Kjaer has been great since we returned to football and for such a small fee Milan should invest in Kjaer as a solid veteran presence. 7/10

Alessio Romagnoli: The captain was solid as always, not much else to say. 7/10

Theo Hernandez: In the first half Theo’s performance was questionable. He had only one good play (the cross to Hakan). Then later in the second half the Theo we know and love appeared and he made runs to give Milan attack life, even getting a penalty. 6.5/10

Ismael Bennacer: Bennacer in a two man midfield is just great to watch. He can be both a disruptor and a playmaker in this position. 7/10

Franck Kessie: Kessie continues his good form against Roma. He has gotten more comfortable on the ball and is starting to make correct passes in build up play. 7/10

Samu Castillejo: Usually Samu brings a hard work rate and some pace to the match but today he was lost in the final third. At times non-existent. 5.5/10

Hakan Calhanoglu: Aside from the penalty he scored, Hakan went from a masterclass against Lecce to a disaster class today. 5.5/10

Jack Bonaventura: Like Samu, Jack was not good in the attack today. Playing behind Rebic, Jack is expected to be a creator but he wasn't able to do that. 5.5/10

Ante Rebic: For much of the match Rebic didn't get much of an opportunity to shine because Milan’s attack was so terrible. Then Paqueta came on and Rebic was freed up to do what he does best. 6.5/10

SUBSTITUTES

Lucas Paqueta: Paqueta was a game changer in this match. We've heard he has been great in training but today he showed it. He allowed Milan to play more direct and was the force that turned the tide in the match. 7/10

Alexis Saelemaekers: In his brief appearances before, Alexis didn't get much of an opportunity to shine but today he showed some potential. He has a great work rate and today he showed conviction in the final third. 6/10

Rafael Leao: Leao had a few opportunities to show his skills but nothing really materialized. In the attack Leao just needs to be more decisive to make a move and go past his defender. At times he is hesitant and that leads to a failed attack. 6/10