Dinamo Zagreb vs Milan 0-4: Rossoneri One Point in Front of Salzburg

Milan dominated Dinamo Zagreb on Tuesday, beating the Croatians by four, with goals coming from Mattia Gabbia, Rafael Leao and Olivier Giroud.

Looking to continue their run of form and move into second place in Group E, the hosts ran out their usual 3-5-2 setup. Zagreb’s most dangerous player, Mislav Orsic, led the formation from the front, hoping to improve on his five Champions League goals.

After playing several bench players in Milan’s weekend victory over Monza, Stefano Pioli started the match with a more typical lineup. Because of the visitors’ injury crisis, the 4-2-3-1 saw Gabbia and Simon Kjaer start at centre-back, while Pierre Kalulu shifted out wide as the right full-back.

The First Half

After a back-and-forth start to the match, Dinamo Zagreb created a prime chance when a cross found the head of Robert Ljubicic. The midfielder was in a good position, but his header was far too soft, allowing Gabbia to head the ball off the line.

As Milan began to build possession, Ante Rebic began to find his rhythm. From inside the box, the winger made a brilliant cut into space, but Josip Misic made desperate slide tackle, taking the ball off the Croatian’s feet.

Later, Milan had another great chance when Kalulu served a perfect ball into the box. Giroud out-jumped his man and headed it on target, but the Dinamo goalkeeper, Dominik Livakovic, made a beautiful diving save.

As halftime approached, Gabbia finally opened the scoring for the Rossoneri. From a free kick, Sandro Tonali whipped in a wonderful cross towards the back-post. The centre-back blew by his man and dove headfirst at the ball, nudging it past Livakovic. Minutes later, Milan returned to the locker room, deservedly in front by a goal.

The Second Half

The second half began with a bang, with Charles De Ketelaere and Theo Hernandez leading a counter attack for Milan. However, the young Belgian wasted the opportunity, selfishly taking the chance for himself rather than looking for his two open teammates in the box.

Minutes later, Leao doubled the lead for his side, making up for the error. In a show of truly horrific defending, the winger drove the ball through three defenders and hammered it into the net, bringing the scoreline to 2-0.

Down by two goals and with a match against Chelsea upcoming, Ante Cacic made a flurry of substitutions, bringing on three attacking players. Unfortunately, Zagreb made these changes nil almost immediately by taking down Tonali in the box. From the spot, Olivier Giroud slotted the ball into the corner of the net, effectively putting the match away.

With the game clearly in hand, Milan managed yet another goal thanks to a comical own goal from Ljubicic. The Rossoneri have now moved back into second place in the group, with a pivotal match against Salzburg next week.