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AC Milan – US Lecce (3-0): Player Ratings

Man of the Match: Christian Pulisic (7.5)

The American continued his impressive form with a goal and an assist. Playing in a central midfield role in the absence of the suspended Ruben Loftus-Cheek, he constantly took the game by the scruff of the neck and found clever passing angles for his teammates. He was often well-positioned between the lines and was a good option to progress the ball. He even made a lung-busting defensive run in the 16th minute before getting back up the field to attack. The icing on the cake was a stunning goal from the edge of the box, curling the ball into the bottom corner past Falcone after a neat piece of skill. A magnificent performance that earned him a standing ovation from the San Siro crowd when he was substituted for Yunus Musah (62′).

AC Milan (4-2-3-1):

Mike Maignan (5.5): The French number 1 had a quiet game, making three relatively simple saves. He kept a clean sheet and was a factor in the win, even if he didn’t accelerate the game with quick passes out from the back.

Theo Hernandez (6): Without playing his best game, the Frenchman showed some good things this afternoon. He put in a few well-weighted crosses and used his pace to break forward, allowing Milan to launch quick attacks. He also made a good defensive block just before Rafael Leao’s goal (57′). He was substituted for winter signing Alessandro Florenzi (83′).

Fikayo Tomori (6.5): In a relatively unthreatening game, the Englishman still found a way to shine. He was simply unbeatable in deep defense and also defended the penalty area very calmly.

Matteo Gabbia (6): A very serious game for the former Villarreal player. His defensive positioning was impeccable, as he never let his man go. He was also a solid option in the air. He was substituted for Simon Kjaer (62′).

Davide Calabria (6): Like his team, the captain played a serious and focused game. Always positioned deep in defense, he completely nullified the threat of Alexis Blin and kept him in his pocket all game. Offensively, he could have offered a bit more support, although that is not his main role.

Tonny Reijnders (6.5): Once again, the Dutchman impressed. He confirmed his good season today, being clearly one of the main playmakers in this Milan team. He is clearly the one who finds the spaces between the lines and makes his teammates benefit from them. His partnership with Pulisic in midfield was particularly important for Milan. He was substituted for Ismael Bennacer (78′).

Yacine Adli (5.5): Positioned in front of the defense, often behind Reijnders, he often acted as a third central defender when Milan didn’t have the ball. He did this task well, despite one or two marking errors. Offensively, he was a bit more withdrawn, preferring to distribute long balls to the wingers, as evidenced by his assist for Leao. However, he was interesting in winning the ball back and on set pieces, where he provided a second assist, this time for Olivier Giroud.

Rafael Leao (6): Once again, the Portuguese player performed well. He seems to be enjoying himself on the pitch again, and this is reflected in his game, which is more fluid and direct. He no longer seems to force things. He sees the game well and often finds the right pass. He scored a goal after a run from midfield, taking the ball into space and finishing calmly between the legs of Valentin Gendrey. The left-winger is putting in a string of good performances and confirming his good second half of the season.

Christian Pulisic (7.5): See above

Samuel Chukwueze (5.5): The Nigerian started the game brightly, providing an assist for Pulisic after some great work down the right wing in the 6th minute. The first fifteen minutes were of good quality, but the rest of the game was more messy, and he seemed hesitant to make certain decisions, which often led to the loss of the ball or the end of an interesting opportunity. He sometimes hesitated to take his chance and could have been more selfish.

O. Giroud (5,5): Olivier Giroud may not have been the standout player on the field, but he did what he does best, which is to serve as a link in the construction of plays and pose a constant threat on set pieces. This was evident in the 20th minute when he showcased this quality by scoring a goal off a corner kick. It was a well-executed move as Giroud positioned himself perfectly to redirect the ball into the net. He was in the right place at the right time, and he delivered.

US Lecce (4-3-3):

W. Falcone (5.5): Conceded three goals, but not at fault for any of them. Made five saves and came out to claim crosses effectively.

A. Gallo (5): Partly to blame for Milan’s first goal, which came early in the game. Recovered somewhat but continued to struggle in the second half. Took more offensive risks towards the end of the game, with some ambitious crosses.

F. Baschirotto (4): Zonal defense was lacking and allowed Milan’s attackers too much space. Partly to blame for the goals scored by Giroud and Leao, as he was too far away from the action.

M. Pongracic (4.5): Made a few good defensive interventions and showed more attacking intent than his defensive partner. However, his performance was also weak and he was equally culpable for Leao’s goal.

L. Venuti (5.5): Defensively, the right-back did not do badly, despite facing Milan’s explosive left side. He generally managed Leao well, until the goal in the 57th minute, where the Italian’s lack of pace was evident. However, in the second half, he started to take control of the game and provide offensive support, particularly by playing with Almqvist. He was replaced by V. Gendrey (70′).

J. Gonzalez (5.5): The young Spanish midfielder, 22, showed good things in terms of winning the ball back and getting forward. He often found himself at the end of crosses and on the edge of the box, where he caused danger. He just lacked clinical finishing, as evidenced by his headed effort that hit the crossbar in the 29th minute. Replaced by R. Piccoli at half-time (45′) following Krstovic’s red card.

Y. Ramadani (5): Played an important role in midfield, providing attacking support and projection. He notably crossed the ball that led to Gonzalez’s headed effort against the crossbar. His work in winning the ball back was also useful for Lecce. However, he showed some defensive lapses, particularly on Pulisic’s goal, where he took a long time to challenge the American.

A. Blin (5): The former Amiens player did not do too badly today, and showed good things in terms of winning the ball back. Despite receiving an early yellow card, he remained defensively solid. However, he perhaps lacked a little bit of attacking intent, not taking too many risks. He was substituted by M. Berisha (78′).

P. Dorgu (4): Put in some interesting crosses and showed sufficient passing quality, but otherwise seemed to lack attacking intent. There are usually spaces to exploit on Milan’s left side, but the Dane did not take advantage of these opportunities. Being repositioned on the left in the second half did not improve matters. He only touched the ball 9 times in the second half, which tells its own story. Replaced by S. Pierotti (85′).

N. Krstovic (3.5): A nightmare first half for the Lecce striker.

Krstovic struggled to make an impact in the first half, failing to get on the end of any of Lecce’s attacks. He was also guilty of giving away possession on a number of occasions, and was eventually sent off for a dangerous high challenge.

L. Banda (4): The Zambian struggled to make an impact against Calabria.

Banda was well-marshalled by Calabria and was unable to use his pace to get in behind the Milan defence. He was also guilty of giving away possession on a number of occasions, and was replaced by P. Almqvist at half-time.

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