No Luck for The Irish as Milan Ease Past Shamrock in Europa League

Goals either side of half-time from Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Hakan Calhanoglu saw Milan beat Shamrock Rovers in the Europa League second-round qualifiers tonight.

A classic David v Goliath encounter. Milan traveled to the Republic of Ireland to face Stephen Bradley’s side, with the Rovers boss not discounting his team’s chances going into the game.

Is it going to be extremely difficult? Of course it is…But we can cause any team problems going forward,” he said ahead of the game.We’ve got players who can create and score goals from anywhere and we believe we can beat them.

Bradley wasn’t short of confidence, and that confidence would’ve been well-found at half-time as his side were only a goal behind.

Milan fielded a strong side; Gianluigi Donnarumma started in goal with Simon Kjaer and Matteo Gabbia his two center-halves. Stefano Pioli deployed a 4-2-3-1 with a near full-strength side, and Zlatan leading the line.

And of course, it was he who opened the scoring. Milan dominated the opening stages but Rovers hit back with a bit of pressure, coming closest through Aaron Greene. As Milan started to reassert their dominance though, it was Zlatan who finished off a nice passing move by Milan, scoring from near 12 yards out midway through the first half.

Greene then had another chance to score for Shamrock but failed to do so, allowing Milan to dominate the rest of the half. Davide Calabria had an effort from close range blocked after Theo Hernandez worked the ball down the wing, with Zlatan having another chance immediately after.

Milan had a fresh start in Europa League as they comfortably eased past Shamrock Rovers in a single-legged secound round qualifier

Half-time came at a good time for Rovers, who were immediately under the cosh after the restart; Zlatan hit the bar with a powerful effort before the Shamrock keeper made a few good saves.

Still, it was all Milan, and it was only a matter of time before we had their next goal. Step forward, Calhanoglu. After another fine array of passing from Pioli’s side, the Turk was on hand to blast the ball home from 25-yards out, doubling his side’s lead on 70 minutes.

At 2-0, the game looked done and dusted. Rovers kept in it though; they held possession and even had a penalty appeal waved away with 15 left to play.

Pioli began to bring on his substitutes, handing competitive debuts to Brahim Diaz and Sandro Tonali. The pair had little time to strut their stuff but helped their team on the way to a comfortable win in Ireland, booking a third qualifying round tie with Norwegian side Bodo/Glimt.

Including friendlies, Milan have now won 14 of their last 17 games and will begin their Serie A season at home to Bologna on Monday night.  



September 17, 2020 – Europa League 2020-21 Second Preliminary Round

SCORERS: 23′ Ibrahimovic, 67′ Calhanoglu

SHAMROCK ROVERS (3-5-2): Mannus; O’Brien, Lopes, Grace; Finn, McEneff, O’Neill (69′ Watts), J. Byrne, Farrugia (83′ Kavanagh); Burke, Greene (87′ Williams) (Pohls, Marshall, Callan, Oluwa) Coach: Bradley
MILAN (4-2-3-1): Donnarumma; Calabria, Kjaer, Gabbia, Hernandez; Kessie, Bennacer (84′ Tonali); Castillejo, Calhanoglu (84′ Brahim Diaz), Saelemaekers (74′ Krunic); Ibrahimovic (Tatarusanu, Colombo, Duarte, Laxalt) Coach: Pioli

REFEREE: Farkas (Hungary)
NOTES: Yellow Cards: Grace (S)

One comment

  1. Calhanoglu’s finish was pure class, sweet as a nut.

    I wasn’t impressed at all with Tonali’s few minutes. He lost the ball two or three times and played a pass to the invisible man. I’ll cut him some slack as it’s the first real game of the season, but he needs to improve big time.

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