Bologna vs Milan: Three Talking Points as De Ketealere Disappoints Again

Stefano Pioli’s understrength Milan side shared the spoils with Bolognan in an intense 1-1 draw at Stadio Renato Dall’Ara. The Rossoneri gaffer fielded a second-string lineup in anticipation of the return leg of their Champions League quarter-final tie against Napoli, and it backfired on the reigning champions. 

After last Friday’s underwhelming 0-0 home draw against Empoli, Milan slumped again. Pioli’s team could finish this round outside the Serie A top four if Inter emerge victorious against Monza on Saturday night. But if it’s any consolation, the visitors looked much better than against Empoli last time out. 

Bologna took an early lead through Nicola Sansone, but Milan fought back through a stunning goal from Tommaso Pobega late in the first half. The Rossoneri had plenty of chances to turn the game on its head. However, Ante Rebic failed to keep his cool in several promising situations. 

On the other hand, Bologna barely threatened Mike Maignan’s goal after breaking the deadlock, extending their infamous winless run against Milan to 14 straight Serie A matches. More importantly for Thiago Motta, his men missed a decent opportunity to reduce the gap on sixth-placed Atalanta and boost their unlikely European push. 

Even though the game ended level, it was an exciting contest for neutrals. Let’s look at the three talking points. 

#1 Origi and De Ketelaere Don’t Deserve Milan jersey

Divock Origi and Charles De Ketelaere joined Milan last summer but have never hit the ground running in Serie A. Truth be told, the former has experienced an injury-plagued season, but there’s no excuse for the latter. 

Both players have been on the fringes of Pioli’s team this season. But today, they had a rare opportunity to showcase their skills and convince the Rossoneri boss to play them more often. Instead, they only proved why they are benchwarmers all season long. 

While Origi spent the whole match in stealth mode, De Ketelaere had virtually no impact on the game despite constantly trying to get on the ball. Milan looked like a different side since Brahim Diaz took the Belgian’s place midway through the second half.

Paolo Maldini has barely had a wrong call when it comes to new recruitments. However, Origi and De Ketelaere are not Milan material.

#2 Skorupski Is One of the Best Goalkeepers in Serie A

While all eyes are on Maignan, Andre Onana, and Wojciech Szczesny, Bologna keeper Lucasz Skorupski seems to be flying under the radar. However, the 31-year-old is undoubtedly one of the best-performing stoppers in Serie A, as witnessed by the Pole’s performance today.

His impressive saves to deny Rebic first and foremost helped Bologna extend their unbeaten run in Serie A to five matches. Left alone in a few one-on-one situations, Skorupski held his ground on every occasion to perhaps stake his claim for a ‘Man of the Match’ award. 

Pobega’s outrageous strike from a distance left his powerless. 

#3 Ballo-Touré’s Potential Could Use Some Cutting

It’s not any easy task to spend two seasons on the bench. Unfortunately for fode Ballo-Touré, that’s been his fate at Milan. There’s only one left-back at San Siro and it’s Theo Hernandez, probably the best player in his position on the planet right now.

Since swapping Monaco for Milan in 2021, Ballo-Tour éhas been the Frenchman’s deputy in low-profile league games and other cup competitions. Given the gulf in class between the two players, the 26-year-old has often been perceived as unworthy of the Rossoneri shirt.

His sloppy reaction that led to Bologna’s early opener somewhat supported that opinion. However, Ballo-Touré notably improved as the match progressed, showing flashes of his undeniable attacking potential. He was a threat going forward, using his pace to find spaces behind Bologna’s lines and delivering several inviting crosses.

But he’ll need to avoid those lapses in concentration to move up the pecking order.

Follow us on Google News for more updates on Serie A and Italian football