The contest was another thrilling one in a season, where you just find it tough to catch your breath for a moment. They just keep on coming and if you miss one of them, you would be left feeling guilty thinking, you should not have slept.
Another great game of football. AC Milan and Roma unleashed the days of old. The Rossoneri remains unbeaten. Who else but Zlatan led from the front. pic.twitter.com/QurYQRScau
— Faisal Caesar (@faisalyorker1) October 27, 2020
In the historic San Siro Stadium in Milan, The Rossoneri and Giallorossi were engaged in another exciting game where AC Milan lost their 100% record in Serie A when a defiant AS Roma came from behind three times to draw 3-3 in a game featuring two controversial penalties and another Zlatan Ibrahimovic brace.
The dramatic first half
Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored inside the opening two minutes with an instinctive finish, but Edin Dzeko responded to his opposite number by taking advantage of a misjudgment by Ciprian Tatarusanu – playing instead of the number one keeper of Milan, Gianluigi Donnarumma, to level. Donnarumma has been down with a COVID-19 and could not feature. Certainly, Milan missed him at the San Siro. Meanwhile, Jens Petter Hauge was also absent due to a positive case of COVID-19.
It couldn’t have been much easier for the Rossoneri to take the lead as they instantly cut through Roma with their first attack of the game. Rafael Leao found space to run into coming in off the left and lifted a perfect ball in behind the Roma’s 3-man defence, where Ibrahimovic was waiting to toe-poke past Mirante first time.
— AC Milan (@acmilan) October 26, 2020
A productive interchange between Mkhitaryan and Pedro exploited the same areas of Milan’s defence – the gap between Calabria and Kjaer – but the latter intervened once again before the former Chelsea man could get a shot away.
Roma won a corner and from the resulting corner they leveled – it was a moment to forget for Tatarusanu, who came to try and claim the cross, but got nowhere near the ball and Dzeko was allowed to head into an open net after getting the better of Romagnoli.
Mirante was then called into action in the 22nd minute as Calhanolgu launched his first effort towards the goal; the Turkey international firing from around 20 yards out and drawing a fairly comfortable low save in the end.
— AS Roma (@OfficialASRoma) October 26, 2020
Mirante was left sprawling again by Calhanoglu when just before the half-hour mark he whipped in a dangerous in-swinging corner from the left side that he flapped clear. From the resulting set-piece, Theo Hernandez was teed up on the edge of the box but saw his low first-time shot deflected wide, and then Mirante again was at full stretch to deny a Romagnoli header.
With their fourth corner in succession, Milan came closer to score with Kjaer meeting Calhanoglu’s corner on the penalty spot and hitting the far post with his glancing header as everyone stood still.
Tatarusanu was then called into action twice at the other end as the game began to open up – Firstly, he denied center-back Ibanez with an unconventional save from his low shot, and secondly, punching away a fierce Pellegrini strike that was destined for the far corner.
The Rossoneri wasted a wonderful chance during a superb counter-attack as Leao chose to pass wide to Theo from a four-on-three breakaway, and the Frenchman pulled a poor pass back into the box.
Then, Milan won a free-kick just beyond the edge of the box as Ibrahimovic was clattered, and Calhanoglu whipped a shot through the wall that was palmed away for a corner buy Mirante.
The drama continues in the second half
Ibrahimovic went up for a header that ended up being a perfect flick in behind for Leao, but the Portuguese forward spurned the opportunity with a bad first touch.
After scoring less than two minutes into the first half, the Rossoneri did the same again and Leao deserved all of the credit. A fantastic run by the left-winger saw him win the race to the flanks and he cut a perfect ball back to Saelemaekers, who was waiting to thump home with the ball on a plate.
SAELEMAEKERS MAKES IT 2-1!! INCREDIBLE ASSIST BY LEAO ?⚫️ pic.twitter.com/UknJkebBXY
— Italian Football TV (@IFTVofficial) October 26, 2020
The Rossoneri were nearly punished for a sloppy giveaway inside Roma’s half while firmly on top in the game as Theo surrendered possession; the Giallorossi’s swift break ending with Dzeko firing over at the far post from Mkhitaryan’s feed.
Rafael Leão vs AS Roma
82% pass accuracy
2 key passes
2 big chances created
3/3 successful dribbles
1 aerial won
21 years of age. Getting better and better with every game. Crazy potential. ?⚫️ pic.twitter.com/8MBOfaJJAs
— Football Talent Scout – Jacek Kulig (@FTalentScout) October 26, 2020
Roma pressed forward in the search of an equalizer.
Mancini arguably should have done a lot better when he headed over from a corner.
There was a moment of real confusion moments later though as the referee Piero Giacomelli pointed for a penalty after Bennacer was stood on in the box, with no consultation with the Video Assistant Referee. After a lot of protests, Veretout tucked the penalty past Tatarusanu who dived the right way but couldn’t get near the ball that was immaculately placed.
Ibra’s opener was the fastest of the 57 he’s scored for AC Milan in Serie A, and also drew him level with the number of goals he scored for Inter Milan. His second goal brought him into the top 10 of all-time goal-scorers.
In response to the equalizer, Stefano Pioli brought Rade Krunic and Samu Castillejo off the bench in place of Leao and Saelemaekers.
Milan had their own penalty shout up the other end with 15 minutes to go as a ball towards Ibrahimovic appeared to strike the arm of Mancini, but Giacomelli gave a booking to the striker instead.
The home side continued to push for their third lead of the game and the goal was gaping for Calhanoglu as a knock-down from Krunic found him in space inside the box, but the former Leverkusen man saw his effort blocked by Ibanez.
Giacomelli felt the need to even things up at the other end as Calhanoglu was bundled over inside the box albeit softly as a penalty was immediately awarded. Ibrahimovic grabbed the ball and dispatched the spot-kick into the bottom left corner!
— AS Roma (@OfficialASRoma) October 26, 2020
What Milan needed was to maintain their composure n the last moments of the match.
A corner from Roma’s left side was flicked on at the near post by Ibrahimovic who couldn’t get solid enough contact to clear, and Kumbulla ghosted in at the far post to convert from close range and make it 3-3.
Roma kept on fighting and were rewarded.
The tactics of Paulo Fonseca paid off
Paulo Fonseca’s 3-4-2-1 – a break down of 3-4-3 formation caused plenty of problems for the opponents but was not clicking in the end.
In a system which is heavily dependent on the fullbacks being able to attack and defend in equal measure, Fonseca started with Rick Karsdorp and Leonardo Spinazzola in the wingback positions.
The pair struggled quite a bit, with Roma looking much better once Bruno Peres came on in the second half. They attacked through the flanks and tried to exploit the set-pieces as much as possible. The fight shown to come back from a goal down three times in the game showed the rewards are coming by sticking to the format.
AC Milan remain confident
After the match Pioli said, I go home satisfied with the performance, we don’t have to look at the standings. It is useless to hide it, at the end of the game the players were not satisfied, there are regrets, we tried until the end. Romagnoli’s opportunity proves it,” he said.
“The whole performance was of a good level, against a strong opponent. They exploited set pieces better than us. This is the right path, this performance gives us further conviction.”
It is a pity we didn’t win. We created many goal chances, now we continue to work,” he said.
The best player for Milan last night was Leao, who yet again proved his worth as a potential powerhouse. His stay on the pitch was 72 minutes and during that time, he continuously took the attack back to the Roma wing-backs.
He was pretty sad after the draw, but his spirits were not down.
He said, “We want to win every game, we want to remain on top of the table but I am disappointed because we did everything to win the game. We are focused, we want to follow our path and remain on top of the table.
“Ibra is an example for all of us. I am happy with how the team is playing and I am happy he scored. I always try to help the team but today I am disappointed because we didn’t win.”