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Match Recap: AC Milan crushes a lacklustre Bologna side, continues point streak

Milan’s midfield came up huge for the Rossoneri today.

AC Milan v Bologna FC - Serie A Photo by Jonathan Moscrop/Getty Images

Milan got their first chance of the match in the 7th minute, when Ante Rebić played Théo Hernandez into the box. The left back received the ball yards away from goalkeeper Lukasz Skorupsi, but Hernandez’s subsequent shot was saved from point blank range.

Rebić and Hernandez created the first goal of the game moments later in the 10th minute. Rebić, with a fancy back-heel, found Hernandez on the left wing just outside of Bologna’s box. Hernandez hit a low, backwards cross into the box, where Zlatan Ibrahimovic dummied, allowing the ball to pass him. It fell to the feet of Alexis Saelemaekers, who easily put the ball past Skorupsi to give Milan the lead.

The Rossoneri absolutely dominated the first twenty minutes, easily controlling possession, with the Bologna backline being almost nonexistent. Hakan Çalhanoğlu, Ibrahimovic, Hernandez and Rebić all combined several times, creating several threatening chances.

Milan’s second goal of the match came from a dreadful error by Skorupsi in the 24th minute. The goalkeeper received a back pass while Milan’s forwards pressed the Bologna defense. Despite no immediate pressure, Skorupsi’s clearance attempt was horrific, stuttering directly to Çalhanoğlu at the top of the box. The Turkish midfielder, with no Bologna players nearby, had no problem extending his side’s lead to two.

Bologna’s first chance of the first half came from a free kick taken by Riccardo Orsolini from 25 yards out. The winger struck the ball hard and accurately, but Gianluigi Donnarumma was easily able to corral the attempt. However, just minutes before halftime, Bologna cut the deficit in half with a fantastic goal by defender Takehiro Tomiyasu. Receiving the ball in space, the Japanese international player cut inside towards the top of the box, where he beat Alessio Romagnoli far too easily. He then took a long-range shot, which sailed into the upper left corner of the goal, with Donnarumma having no chance to stop the strike. Despite controlling the first half, Milan went to the dressing room up by just one goal.

As play resumed at the start of the second half, Çalhanoğlu and Ismael Bennacer erased any momentum that Bologna had gained from their goal. Surrounded by Bologna players, Çalhanoğlu found a wide open Bennacer in the middle of the pitch. The Algerian dribbled directly to goal, and his subsequent shot deflected off of centre back Stefano Denswil and careened into the back of the net.

After Milan’s third goal, Bologna lost any mental fortitude they had left, conceding another goal just ten minutes later. Ibrahimovic, using great footwork at the top of the box, attracted two defenders and played an open Rebić into space. The Croatian, who had his back to the goal, took a great touch, turning his back to the Bologna defender, allowing the ball to run through undisturbed. Upon completing the movement, he slotted the ball into the side netting, giving Skorupsi no chance to make the save.

To add insult to injury, Milanese fullback Davide Calabria added one last goal during stoppage time, making the final score 5-1 in favor of the home side. Bologna, with no energy left, allowed a 3-on-2 break for Milan, and Franck Kessié found the right back open in the box for an easy, FIFA-like goal. Hopefully Calabria’s goal will help him gain confidence, as the 23-year-old has struggled to find playing time in the past several months.

Bologna’s poor defending in their defensive third allowed Milan to create a multitude of chances. Short, quick runs around the box often went unmarked, and the Bologna backline had no answer to the Rossoneri’s attacking movement, which systematically picked apart their opposition.

Milan has averaged an astounding 2.5 points per match since the resumption of play, and has had just one poor outing: the 2-2 draw against SPAL. Players like Ante Rebić, Hakan Çalhanoğlu and Ismael Bennacer are in near-perfect form, and Milan is looking more and more likely to win a place in the Europa League next year. With just four matches remaining in the season, Milan will take on Sassuolo and Atalanta next, two sides which happen to be in the best form in the league.