The Rooster raised his crest, and Milan paid a bitter price for it. Andrea “Rooster” Belotti scored twice in four minutes to push Torino towards a key home win against Marco Giampaolo’s Rossoneri on Thursday. The Azzurri’s centravanti neutralized Krzysztof Piatek’s initial lead with a stunning overhead kick, condemning Milan to suffer their third loss in five Serie A games this season.
For the Elliot fund club, already targeted with heavy criticism after being crushed by cross-town rivals Inter in last Saturday’s Derby della Madonnina, the future looks pitch black. Manager Marco Giampaolo’s position does not seems at risk yet, as the Abruzzese coach received a fervent endorsement from technical director Paolo Maldini earlier in the afternoon. However, his side will need to start showing something more than the encouraging first half played at the Grande Torino Olympic Stadium.
Milan have scored only three goals so far – the worst offensive tally among the 20 Serie A clubs – and two of them came from the penalty kick spot. The red-and-blacks have shown a futile tendency to accumulate ball possession, which peaked at 65% during the initial 45 minutes tonight, but their execution has been somewhat poor – even if it took a super save by Granata’s Salvatore Sirigu to prevent the Rossoneri from equalizing during stoppage time.
One good thing is for sure at least: Krzysztof Piatek is slowly but surely getting closer to his standard from one year ago after a very little encouraging season start. Tonight, the Pistolero buried the spot to collect his second league goal, but moreover showed himself active and engaged in the Rossoneri’s offensive operations.
Most of the credit for Milan’s only goal, however, goes to Rafael Leao. The Portuguese, confirmed by his coach on the front line to support the Pole after an inspiring performance in the Derby di Milano, forced Lorenzo De Silvestri to knock him down in the box, prompting referee Marco Guida to point at the penalty spot. The Polish striker coldly converted in the 16th minute for Milan’s lead.
Rafael Leao stole the stage again eight minutes later with a header that called Salvatore Sirigu to action. Hakan Calhanoglu drove a free kick just inches away from Torino’s goalie right post. All things considered, the Rossoneri did play a good first half, whereas the Granata failed to pose any threat to Gianluigi Donnarumma’s goal.
Torino’s attacking forces, gemelli del goal Andrea Belotti and Simone Zaza, evidenced themselves for two ferocious tackles on Hakan Calhanoglu and Mateo Musacchio that won them a yellow card each, rather than for their striking skills.
Simone Verdi, on the other hand (Torino’s most expensive purchase ever at 25 million euro), whom coach Alberto Mazzarri deployed for the first time from the start, failed to make an impact and was disappointingly substituted after 65 minutes. He will have better days.
It took a misunderstanding between Davide Calabria and Gianluigi Donnarumma during the first half extra time for the Granata to show themselves around the Rossoneri’s area for the first time. Andrea Belotti failed to take advantage of the situation however, and shot out of target missing the untended goal. Still a sinister omen for Italy’s portierone, who didn’t exactly live a night of glory.
Milan’s number 99 struggled to parry back a shot by Torino’s Ola Aina in the 49th minute, then was helped by Mateo Musacchio a few minutes later, as the Argentinian cleared the ball from close to the goal line just before Simone Zaza could tap it in.
The Rossoneri’s last ray of light in a gloomy night came in the 64th minute as Giacomo Bonaventura set foot on the pitch again after a one-year absence due to a horrific knee injury. Bonaventura replaced Rafael Leao to add another option to Giampaolo’s midfield solutions. Good luck, Jack!
Then the game at the Grande Torino suddenly became Andrea Belotti’s match, the Granata’s captain stealing the show in the space of four minutes with a shocking one-two that sent the Rossoneri to the ropes. In the 71st minute, he fired a missile towards Gianluigi Donnarumma after easily dashing past Mateo Musacchio. Belotti’s screamer bent Gigio’s hands to level up for the Toro.
Four minutes later, Donnarumma saved a shot by Simone Zaza, but the Rooster was there, ready to catch the ball and drive it to the untended goal with a spectacular overhead kick to collect his fourth goal in five games this season – a feat which puts him just behind Sassuolo’s Domenico Berard in the top scorers standing.
Marco Giampaolo’s desperate move was then sending in Ante Rebic in place of Ismael Bennacer, yet the next most dangerous chance for the Rossoneri materialized on Frank Kessie’s foot: The Ivorian ignominiously wasted it as he threw the ball to the stands from point-blank range during stoppage time.
Salvatore Sirigu ultimately preserved Torino’s lead as he pushed back Krzysztof Piatek’s last-breath header attempt just before Marco Guida would call it a football day.
September 26, 2019 – Serie A 2019-2020 Round 5
SCORERS: 18′ Piatek (M, pen.), 72′ Belotti (T), 76′ Belotti (T)
|TORINO (3-4-3): Sirigu; Izzo, Lyanco (57′ Ansaldi), Bremer; De Silvestri, Baselli, Rincon, Aina (83′ Djidji); Verdi (66′ Berenguer), Belotti, Zaza (Ujkani, Rosati, Iago Falque, Bonifazi, Edera, Millico, Meite, Nkoulou, Laxalt) Coach: Mazzarri|
|MILAN (4-3-3): G. Donnarumma; Calabria, Musacchio, Romagnoli, Hernandez; Kessie, Bennacer (78′ Rebic), Calhanoglu; Suso, Piatek, Rafael Leao (65′ Bonaventura) (Reina, A. Donnarumma, Castillejo, Borini, Conti, Biglia, Krunic, Duarte, Gabbia, Rodriguez) Coach: Giampaolo|
REFEREE: Mr. Guida from Torre Annunziata
NOTES: Yellow Cards: Zaza, Belotti, Lyanco (T); Bennacer, Hernandez, Romagnoli, G. Donnarumma, Musacchio (M); Red Card: Reina (M); Extra Time: 1st Half 3′, 2nd Half 5′