Following their harsh defeat at the Stamford Bridge, Milan were hoping to exact revenge on Chelsea when they hosted the Premier League giants at the San Siro in the fourth matchday of the Champions League group stage.
But unfortunately for the Italians, their mission was hindered early on when Fikayo Tomori was harshly sent off while giving away a penalty. The Blues scored twice in the first half, and their lead was never in doubt afterwards.
Stefano Pioli started with almost the same 4-3-3 lineup that saw off Juventus in the weekend, with the only exception being Rade Krunic’s introduction instead of Tommaso Pogeba. The Bosnian joined Ismael Bennacer and Sandro Tonali in the middle of the park, while Olivier Giroud led the line supported by Brahim Diaz and Rafael Leao.
Ciprian Tatarusanu started in goal for the Rossoneri in the absence of Mike Maignan, with Tomori and Matteo Gabbia in front of him. Pierre Kalulu and Theo Hernandez took the fullback roles.
On the other hand, new Chelsea boss Graham Potter retracted to Thomas Tuchel’s old 3-4-3 formation. Kepa started in goal with Thiago Silva leading the backline on the his return to his old turf. The former Milan defender was joined by Trevoh Chalobah and Kalidou Koulibaly.
Jorginho and Mateo Kovacic started in the double pivot for the visitors, while Reece James and Ben Chilwell were unleashed in the wingback slots. Mason Mount and Raheem Sterling flanked Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang upfront.
Tomori Sent Off
After trading jabs for the first 15 minutes, the referee took centre stage with a debatable decision. Tomori handled his friend and former Chelsea teammate Mount who was heading towards goal, resulting in a penalty kick and a red card for the Milan defender.
Some considered it a harsh decision, while others saw it as a fair one. Regardless, Jorginho added salt to the wounds of Italy supporters by showcasing his spot kick credentials once again, putting the English club in the lead.
Chelsea Score Again
Despite losing a defender’s service, Pioli decided to initially maintain the same formation, but switched Kalulu to more central role with Krunic serving as a makeshift right-back.
The Italian manager was hoping to surprise his visitors by snatching an unlikely equalizer, and he almost did so, but Giroud couldn’t direct a free header towards goal.
Eventually, it was the Blues who hit again, this time with a lovely play between Kovavic, Mount and Aubameyang, with the letter beating Tatarusanu with low drive to the near post.
Afterwards, the unlucky Diaz proved to be the sacrificial lamb, as he made way for Sergino Dest.
Quiet Second Period
After the break, Milan were probably more interested in avoiding a routing and preserving the status quo rather than desperately chase a draw, while Chelsea took their foot off the pedal. The West Londoners had some half-hearted chances, but Tatarusanu did well to deny additional goals.
In the end, the English emerged victorious at the expense of the Italians for the second time in six days to claim their spot at the top of the group. Nonetheless, it remains and incredibly tight affair, with just three points separating all four clubs.
Therefore, Milan must maintain composure and focus on earning positive results from their last two group stage outings against Dinamo Zagreb and RB Salzburg.
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