Milan hosted Lazio at the San Siro this afternoon. The Rossoneri wanted to extend their winning run to 3 games after their trip to Sardegna last weekend. Lazio on the other hand wanted to banish any lingering memories of the mini-crisis they endured in the last month with a statement win. However this was a mostly dominant 2-0 win from the Diavolo. Christian Pulisic and Noah Okafor ensured the 3 points were Milan’s against the sometimes wasteful Lazio. Here are the highlights from the San Siro.
The first real chance of this clash came in the 13th minute. Felipe Anderson found himself on the left wing and sprinted away. He entered the area and tried to drill the ball into the top corner. His shot rippled the side netting when it really should’ve gone on target. Lazio had a few oppurtunities to cause trouble for Milan but the last few passes never materialized and they were limited to long range efforts.
Meanwhile, at the other end the Rossoneri were struggling to create anything resembling a chance. Coach Stefano Pioli’s decision to start Ruben Loftus-Cheek might be called into question by the Milanista after the midfielder was forced off just short of half an hour, with a Muscular issue. Younes Musah came on in his place. Rafael Leao beat Adam Marusic on occasion and on 33 minutes he was responsible for Milan’s first proper chance. The Portuguese international blasted a shot at Ivan Provedel’s near post forcing him into a diving save.
Maurizio Sarri handed Valentin Castellanos his first start in place of Talisman Ciro Immobile, saying the latter was only to be brought on in case of emergency. The new striker impressed and had two shots on target that tested Mike Maignan either side of a chance Milan had two bites of the cherry to put away. Musah crossed to Olivier Giroud who was denied by Provedel. Tijani Reijnders followed up for the rebound but could only hit the post from close range while off balance.
Both sides could argue they deserved to be in front at the break but it was Milan who seized the initiative in the second period and this led to the opening goal of the evening. Leao was getting the better of Marusic and he bagged himself his first assist of the evening with a cross that bounced twice before getting to Christian Pulisic who was completely alone on the penalty spot. ‘Captain America’ took his shot from close range and the Lazio ‘keeper couldn’t keep it out.
Momentum was with the home side now and it became rare to see a Lazio attack. Fikayo Tomori rushed through the middle and had his shot blocked, Musah had a shot saved on the turn and Tomori was unmarked at a corner and his header was on target. Maurizio Sarri emptied his bench and made his 5 subs. The whole front line was different with by the 82nd minute but it did little to change the team’s fortunes as they couldn’t formulate much at all to threaten the defence.
Okafor Doubles the Lead
Pulisic and Reijnders also made efforts but the second goal arrived with two minutes left on the clock. Leao tore down the left wing and a 4 v 3 developed with Marusic nowhere to be seen. Casale drifted out to try shut Leao down but slid in and was beaten. Ex-Milan man Alessio Romagnoli. Didn’t stay with Okafor and watched from the goal line as the new signing passed into the net from the cross. Leao’s second assist.
Pedro thought he had bagged a constolation for the Aquile deep in injury time when he rolled the ball past Tomaso Pobega and curled a lovely shot into the top corner but it was ruled offside immediately by Davide Massa when Immobile was spotted beyond the last man.
The Rossoneri will be delighted with a dominant 2-0 win and a clean sheet and want to carry it through to the Champions League. Rafael Leao definitely proved his worth with two assists for Pioli and Pulisic’s Good start to life in Italy continues. Lazio have lost another match in their Dismal start but will hope to turn it around against Celtic in midweek to stop the pressure becoming overwhelming.