It’s Ibra Again! Zlatan Overhead Kick Helps Milan Ease Past Udinese

It took another monstrous Zlatan performance for Milan to catch the three points with Udinese at the Dacia Arena and collect their fifth win out of six games to retain their Serie A solitary lead.

The Big Swede served one assist and finished with a beautiful overhead kick to help his side ease past a Udinese side that confirmed to be a sort of nemesis for Milan. One year ago, the Bianconeri had stunned the then Marco Giampaolo’s side in last season’s opener with a Rodrigo Becao Lone goal.

Today, they managed to hold Milan to a 1-1 draw until Zlatan Ibrahimovic pulled their chestnuts out of the fire in a game that perhaps the red-and-blacks believed to be done and dusted after Franck Kessié’s opener.

Udinese’s coach Luca Gotti will be coming to some positive conclusions after todays’s game despite his side having collected only three points out of six games so far. The manager is slowly recovering his ideal lineup after multiple injuries crippled his previous formations. Today he was able to launch Ignacio Pussetto for the first time from the start, alongside Gerard Deulofeu – who collected his first Serie A cap as a starter since he left the Rossoneri in 2017.

Stefano Pioli’s lineup was as expected, including Gianluigi Donnarumma between the sticks – the portierone having just recovered from the coronavirus after testing positive earlier in the week.

But the added value for Milan was once again – needless to say – Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Zlatan played a vital role in the Rossoneri’s opener after 18 minutes, brilliantly working the ball in the box before serving Franck Kessié. The Ivorian’s right-foot rocket almost ripped Juan Musso’s net to open the scoring for the visitors.

Milan risked hard a few minutes later when a careless control on the part of the same Kessié prompted Deulofeu’s counterattack but the Spaniard wasted everything with a conclusion that ended into the empty stands of the Dacia Arena.

That somehow seemed to instill some confidence in Udinese as the Bianconeri had command of the operations around the 30-minute mark though not producing anything really dangerous for Donnarumma and Milan.

Samir did his best to keep Ibrahimovic at bay and came up with a couple of decisive defensive closures in the following minutes. Still, the Swede managed to test Musso with a curl from out the box in the 39th minute, prompting the Argentine’s save to keep the score unchanged. The Rossoneri gave the impression they could accelerate whenever they wanted.

Still, Pioli’s side also continued to appear absent-minded and that became evident when, right after the restart, Alessio Romagnoli was caught by surprise by Pussetto and was forced to push him down in the box. Rodrigo De Paul stepped up to the spot and came up with a perfect penalty conversion to draw level for Luca Gotti’s boys.

Pioli needed new forces and maybe a different mindset so he sent in Brahim Diaz and Sandro Tonali for Alex Saelemaekers and Ismael Bennacer. Gotti’s reply was French midfielder Jean-Victor Makengo in place of Togay Arslan – whom he saw struggling in the middle of the park.

The Udinese coach also made some changes in the attack as Kevin Lasagna took Stefano Okaka’s spot, while Thomas Ouwejan substituted Gerard Deloufeu. Then, in the 71st minute, Ante Rebic made his comeback for Milan replacing Rafael Leao.

But none of the changes seemed to have a big impact on the match as minutes flew by with no more serious scoring chances coming from any side.

Until Ibra decided to do his thing again. It was already clear that Zlatan was in one of his days and he felt it. When Brahim Diaz decided to serve Hakan Calhanoglu instead of him, the Swede was clear with his instructions: “Brahim! You’ve got to pass the ball to me. Just give it to me and don’t worry!”

In the 83rd minute, out of nowhere, Zlatan pounced on a Sebastian De Maio defensive clearance and whipped the ball past Musso with a overhead kick. One of his. Maybe he didn’t even touch the ball, which mockingly bounced into the net, but Ibrahimovic was exactly where he was meant to be – ready to score his 8th goal this season.

Milan grabbed another win, maybe collecting a little more than they deserved, but the Rossoneri side is becoming more and more Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s side.



November 1, 2020 – Serie A 2020-2021 Round 6

SCORERS: 8′ Kessié (M), 47′ De Paul (U, pen.), 83′ Ibrahimovic (M)

UDINESE (4-3-3): Musso; Becao, De Maio, Samir, Larsen (82′ Bonifazi); De Paul, Arslan (62′ Makengo), Pereyra (82′ Forestieri); Pussetto; Okaka (70′ Lasagna), Deulofeu (70′ Ouwejan) (Scuffet, Gasparini, Molina, Nestorovski, Nuytinck, Ter Avest, Zeegelaar) Coach: Gotti
MILAN (4-2-3-1): G. Donnarumma; Calabria (71′ Diogo Dalot), Kjaer, Romagnoli, Hernandez; Bennacer (56′ Tonali), Kessie; Saelemaekers (56′ Brahim Diaz), Calhanoglu (88′ Krunic), Rafael Leao (71′ Rebic); Ibrahimovic (Tatarusanu, A. Donnarumma, Conti, Duarte, Hauge, Kalulu, Maldini) Coach: Pioli

REFEREE: Mr. Di Bello from Brindisi
NOTES: Yellow Cards: Becao, Arslan (U); Extra Time: 1st Half 0′, 2nd Half 4′