Milan vs Sampdoria Player Ratings: Rafael Leao Too Hot to Handle

Milan squeezed past Sampdoria 1-0 at the San Siro to leapfrog bitter rivals Inter to the top of the Serie A table. Although Rafael Leao’s early strike promised plenty of fireworks, it turned out to be a hard-contested battle in the middle of the pitch. 

But while the Rossoneri can go home smiling, Marco Giampaolo’s men have to fear about their survival hopes again. 

AC Milan XI

Mike Maignan – 6.5

It’s fair to say that the ex-Lille star barely had an opportunity to showcase his impressive goalkeeping skills. However, Maignan once again put his playmaking proficiency on display, delivering an inch-perfect long pass to set up Leao for the decisive goal. 

Davide Calabria – 6.5

Full of energy and running, the Italian right-back was covering his flank with purpose and determination. In addition to his tireless runs down the right-hand side, Calabria was also rock-solid in defence, keeping Inter loanee Stefano Sensi in his back pocket for most of the game.

Alessio Romagnoli – 7

Another eye-catching performance from the Milan captain, though he earned a booking early in the first half for a reckless challenge on Francesco Caputo. Other than that, Romagnoli proved impossible to pass by, forging a formidable partnership with Fikayo Tomori to keep La Samp at bay. 

Fikayo Tomori – 7

Tomori showed why many regard him as one of the best central defenders in Italy’s top-flight in his first Serie A start since mid-December. Aggressive but impressive in anticipating Sampdoria’s attacking movements, the English centre-back posed a tall order for the travelling forwards. 

Alessandro Florenzi – 6

The Rossoneri utility man filled the void left by Theo Hernandez’s absence with another typically energetic, high-octane performance. The versatile Roma loanee compensated for the lack of end product with unrelenting sprints down the left-hand side while barely putting his foot wrong at the back.

Sandro Tonali – 6

Not the 21-year-old’s best performance of the season by any stretch of the imagination. Other than a couple of decent set-piece deliveries, the prodigious midfielder struggled to orchestrate Milan’s build-up play the way he used to do in some recent appearances. 

Ismael Bennacer – 7

Unlike his partner in the double-pivot, the Algeria international established himself as an ever-present figure in the middle of the park, always demanding the ball while providing cover for his defensive colleagues. Another vintage Bennacer display.

Brahim Diaz – 5.5

The diminutive Spaniard was a mere shadow of a player that tore Inter and Lazio apart. Giving away a cheap yellow card in the early exchanges kept him honest for the remainder of his uninspiring showing in the heart of Milan’s attacking set-up.

Junior Messias – 5.5 

Occasional flashes of Samba magic drew standing ovations from the San Siro faithful, but Messias failed to impact the game from the right-wing as Pioli’s men channelled their attacks through Leao. Wladimiro Falcone pulled off a miraculous save to thwart his potent attempt on the stroke of half-time. 

Rafael Leao – 6.5

Too hot to handle for Bartosz Bereszynski, the dynamic forward stormed past his marker to fire Milan in front eight minutes into the game with a sublime finish. In addition to scoring the winner, Leao was by far Milan’s most dangerous player on the pitch before being subbed off in the 57th minute.

Olivier Giroud – 6

Not decisive as he was against Inter last time out, the veteran striker came close to scoring twice, only to see Falcone come up huge to keep him at bay. The Puskas Award would have been within reach for Giroud if it wasn’t for the Sampdoria shot-stopper’s acrobatic save to fend off his bicycle-kick right on the hour mark.


Alexis Saelemaekers – 6

A vivid cameo performance from the Belgian winger made him one of the most eye-catching performers to watch down the final stretch of the game.

Ante Rebic – 5.5

The Croatian star will have to improve his form if he is to regain his place in Pioli’s starting eleven. He squandered a few promising chances to kill the game off in the latter stages. 

Franck Kessie – 5.5

Pioli should never play Kessie in the No10 role ever again. Like it was the case against Inter, the Ivorian showed he is more of a ball-winning midfielder than an out-and-out playmaker. 

Rade Krunic – N/A

Pierre Kalulu – N/A

Sampdoria XI

Wladimiro Falcone – 7

Despite Sampdoria’s defeat, the 26-year-old deserved the Man of the Match award. Numerous marvelous saves helped his side avoid a fiasco at the San Siro, earning him broad plaudits for an utterly scintillating performance between the sticks. 

Bartosz Bereszynski – 5.5

The Polish right-back experienced a humiliating start to the game as Leao made him look silly en route to catapulting Milan to an early lead. However, he improved as the game progressed, growing increasingly vital in preventing the home side from extending their advantage. 

Giangacomo Magnani – 5

On loan from Hellas Verona, the 26-year-old centre-back had a tough time battling with Giroud, but he stood his ground against the French dynamo. 

Omar Colley – 6.5

An absolute beast for Giampaolo’s side at the back, Colley slammed the door shut for Milan forwards with another top-class showing. More of the same in the future would likely earn him a high-profile move sooner rather than later.

Nicola Murru – 5.6

Although he did fine work keeping Messias quiet, the Italian left-back offered nothing to his side going forward. Not exactly a definition of worth-mentioning performance. 

Andrea Conti – 5

Conti’s renaissance at Ferraris following his January arrival from Milan was not on display at the San Siro. The attacking-minded right-back failed to get involved in his side’s attacking plays.

Antonio Candreva – 5

Sampdoria’s most prolific player this season struggled to cope with a ferocious tempo in Lombardy, often being caught off the pace by Florenzi and Tonali. Had one decent long-range attempt that posed no real threat to Maignan’s goal.

Tomas Rincon – 5.5

Rincon’s combative mentality accelerated his way into Daniele Chiffi’s book as the referee had no other option but to sanction his cynical challenge on Maignan. But it was an overall solid display from the Venezuelan, who kept things tight in front of his backline.

Morten Thorsby – 4.5

Nowhere to be seen on early Sunday afternoon. Other than a few flying tackles, the Norwegian midfielder had almost no effect on the game. No wonder Giampaolo withdrew him in the 53rd minute.

Stefano Sensi – 6

Probably Sampdoria’s liveliest performer today. The illustrious playmaker was central to his side’s ambitions to create something meaningful in the front third but lacked adequate support from his teammates to make a difference. 

Francesco Caputo – 4.5

When an out-and-out striker lacks delivery from midfielders and wingers, he doesn’t have a purpose on the field. At least, that’s how Caputo must have felt in Milan today. 


Tommaso Augello – 5

A slight improvement on Murru but lacked decisiveness and quality to make his decent off-the-bench showing count. 

Ronaldo Vieira – 4.5

Desire and energy were there, but nothing worthy of praise. 

Albin Ekdal – 5.5

He is that type of player that doesn’t catch your eyes even though he does plenty of heavy lifting for his team.

Fabio Quagliarella – N/A

Abdelhamid Sabiri – N/A