The AC Milan Women beat Napoli by a score of 1-0. The lone goal was scored by Sara Thrige.
The hard-fought victory leaves Milan in third place in the current league standings. It also keeps them in contention for Europe next season.
Here’s a review of the match below.
Napoli (5-3-2): Aguirre; Imprezzabile (62’ Porcarelli), Garnier, Di Marino, Corrado, Abrahamsson; Colombo, Tui, Goldoni (76’ Popadinova); Acuti (76’ Deppy), Erzen
AC Milan (3-4-2-1): Giuliani; Árnadóttir, Agard, Codina; Thrige, Jane, Adami (64’ Thomas), Bergamaschi; Grimshaw, Vero; Giacinti
The Match Itself
The only changes from the previous match were the additions of Guðný Árnadóttir and Christy Grimshaw. The two players started in place of Laura Fusetti and Lindsey Thomas, respectively. Fusetti fared badly against Sassuolo, so Árnadóttir’s first start was a logical consequence of that match.
The game started with Napoli playing in a narrow and compact formation that the Rossonere found hard to break down. The Partenope were quite aggressive and frequently disrupted Milan’s play. They also made more runs towards Milan’s box while the latter were forced to resort to long balls over the top.
This eventually led to Milan conceding a penalty. Laia Codina brought Arianna Acuti down, though the contact may have happened outside the box. Codina appeared to have gotten the ball as well and Acuti tripped over her. However, the ref gave her a yellow card for her transgression, and Napoli were awarded a penalty. And in a repeat of the same scenario from last season, it was Eleonora Goldoni who would step up to take the spot-kick for Napoli.
It seems like every single year, a Milan player must be sacrificed at the altar of the Sirens so that Goldoni can pad her stats. Fortunately for the Rossonere, her shot would hit the crossbar.
Time would go on and Milan would continue to battle. Eventually, they regained control of the match and it would culminate in Sara Thrige giving the Rossonere the lead in the 24th minute. After Greta Adami’s shot bounced off the palms of Yolanda Aguirre, Andersen would pounce an on the rebound and tap it home.
Vero began to run the show and take control of the game. In the 27th minute, she forced Aguirre into making another save. Without Yolonda’s efforts, the scoreline would have been much worse for Napoli. Milan had a clear chance to double their lead in the 42nd minute, as Garnier brought Grimshaw down in the box, and the Rossonere were awarded a penalty.
Valentina Giacinti stepped up to take the spot-kick and unfortunately, she shot the ball directly at the goalkeeper. The Milan skipper didn’t have the best game and the missed penalty was emblematic of it. Tragedy would strike again just a minute later after Codina got her second yellow following yet another encounter with Acuti. And just like that, the team were down to ten players.
After the halftime break, the Rossonere took the field in a 4-4-1 formation to see out the game. They had to put in a lot of effort to win it and it was Valentina Bergamaschi who took the bull by the horns. Her first chance was headed wide in the 47th minute. Ten minutes later, she set off on a long run and fired a shot that was denied by the foot of Aguirre (57’).
Despite being down to ten players, Milan dominated the second half. They had the majority of possession and created the most chances. Napoli would eventually ease back into things once Milan began to tire due to relentless running. In the 80th minute, Evdokiya Popadinova fired a shot on target.
Thankfully, Laura Giuliani was there to make the save.
During the late stages of the game, Bergamaschi almost conceded another penalty. Fortunately for her, the ref determined that she got the ball, and waved play on.
The Rossonere would thus emerge the victors of the match.
It was a hard-fought, Pyrrhic victory, and Codina’s expulsion was the heavy price to pay for this win.
Milan will now take on AS Roma next Sunday without their star defender.
Milan dominated the game, as they had 51% of the possession, along with thirteen shots taken. Seven of those shots were on target.
It was a thoroughly dominant display from them, with the only downside being that it did not result in more goals.
Milan will take on AS Roma next Sunday. The match will take place at 12:30 CET (3:30 CET / 6:30 CET).
The Rossonere will be up against it, as they’ll face a fast and aggressive Roma side. They’ll also have to do so without Laia Codina.
A lead-up to the match will be posted within the next few days.