Lille Shock Milan To Shatter Rossoneri Non-Losing Streak

It was meant to happen sooner or later but Milan surely were not expecting their non-losing streak would end after 24 games in such a dramatic way: The Rossoneri collapsed at the San Siro in their third Europa League group stage encounter, wiped out by Lille and by a 23-year-old Turkish midfielder named Yusuf Yazici.

Yazici found the back of the net three times to take the ball home and remind Stefano Pioli’s band that, despite their recent exploits, the Rossoneri still need to work hard to win back their place in the European football aristocracy as they totally failed their approach to Thursday night’s game.

Let’s give credit where credit is due, however. If Milan were just not in their night, Lille showed they are a fearsome side – well disposed by coach Christophe Galtier and featuring a majestic Renato Sanches who, for a night, seemed to live up to the hype that had been going with him since he was a Benfica teenager.

Milan started with Rade Krunic, Brahim Diaz, and Samu Castillejo behind Zlatan Ibrahimovic while Sandro Tonali was Frank Kessié’s midfield partner. Diogo Dalot was chosen to cover the right back slot.

The Portuguese full back, however, seemed only a shadow of the impressive full back that only one week ago had thrashed Sparta Praha. In the 18th minute, Dalot’s risky back-pass prompted Jonathan David’s counterattack but luckily for the Portuguese full-back, Gianluigi Donnarumma pushed back the Turk’s shot. The luck didn’t last long, however, as from the following action the referee allowed a penalty for a naive Alessio Romagnoli push on Yusuf Yazici.

Yazici made no mistake from the spot to seal his fifth seasonal goal and open the scoring for Lille. That was just the beginning of his dream night.

Milan’s reaction saw Ibrahimovic rocketing a free kick towards Lille’s goal but the French custodian Mike Maignan found himself right where the Swede’s conclusion was addressed. But that was all the Rossoneri could produce in the first half as Pioli’s side seemed to struggle to play their game for the first time this season.

Pioli didn’t like what he was seeing so he made a double change after the break, sending in Rafael Leao and Hakan Calhanoglu in place of Castillejo and Krunic. The Rossoneri started to be more aggressive and pegged Lille in their own half in the initial stages of the second period.

But right when Milan seemed to start tuning up, Lille brutally knocked them down with a deadly one-two from Yusuf Yazici, who sealed his daily hat trick in the space of three minutes.

First, the Trabzon-born striker caught Donnarumma unprepared with a sharp right foot shot from out of the box. Then, he finished for the best a beautiful team effort that truly showed how Lille’s triple lead was not happening by chance.

Pioli came up with two more changes as Ismael Bennacer and Ante Rebic replaced Tonali and Imbrahimovic but it was too late. Rebic showed that he at least was up for a fight as he tested Maignan right after his entrance from a Brahim Diaz service.

Yazici hadn’t had enough and tested Donnarumma again with his deadly right foot, before leaving the pitch saluted by a virtual standing ovation from the empty San Siro. Jonathan Bamba also went close to make it four for Lille as his shot from a fast break sent a chill down Pioli’s spine before crashing above the bar.

On the other side of the pitch, Rafael Leao caught a Theo Hernandez pass and tried to save the honor for his side but his conclusion also failed to hit the target. It was just not Milan’s night and the Rossoneri should better forget it fast. Their upcoming Serie A game with Verona on Sunday will tell if tonight was just a case.



October 29, 2020 – Europa League 2020-21 Group Stage

SCORERS: 23′ Yazici pen., 54′ Yazici, 57′ Yazici

MILAN (4-2-3-1): G. Donnarumma; Diogo Dalot, Romagnoli, Kjaer, Hernandez; Kessié, Tonali (60′ Bennacer); Castillejo (46′ Rafael Leao), Brahim Diaz (77′ Hauge), Krunic (46′ Calhanoglu); Ibrahimovic (61′ Rebic) (Tatarusanu, A. Donnarumma, Conti, Duarte, Gabbia, Kalulu, Maldini) Coach: Pioli
LILLE (4-2-3-1): Maignan; Celik, Fonte, Botman, Bradaric; Yazici (79′ Yilmaz), Renato Sanches (79′ Soumare), Xeka (65′ Andre), Bamba (84′ Mandava); Ikone (65′ Lihadji); David (Karnezis, Chevalier, Djalo, Niasse, Pied, Soumaoro, Weah) Coach: Galtier

REFEREE: Frankowski (Poland)
NOTES: Yellow Cards: Romagnoli (M), Xeka, Celik (L); Extra Time: First Half 0′, Second Half 4′