AC Milan notched their fifth consecutive win on Sunday evening as goals from Patrick Cutrone and Davide Calabria secured a 2-0 victory over AS Roma at the Stadio Olimpico.
Either side failed to take advantage in the first-half with both teams playing wonderful attacking football, the best chance falling to Hakan Çalhanoğlu. However, Milan powered away to snatch three points after the restart thanks to well-taken strikes from Cutrone and Calabria in the 48th and 74th minute respectively.
Open start at the Olimpico
Gianluigi Donnarumma was the first stopper to be called into action as Cengiz Ünder unleashed a low effort from the edge of the box. The Italian goalkeeper though did well to tip his powerful shot around the post. Diego Perotti also tried his luck from just inside the penalty area but it was comfortable for the Milan goalkeeper.
Hakan Çalhanoğlu wasted a wonderful chance for the visitors as he capitalised on a Roma mistake and raced towards goal. The Turkish midfielder’s touch however let him down and the ball rolled harmlessly out of play.
Roma dictate the play
There were appeals for a penalty from the home side as Lorenzo Pellegrini went down under Ricardo Rodriguez’s challenge. The referee though was unmoved. Roma continued to dominate play and Pellegrini, who was yet to find the net in 2018, again struck from range. The ball bobbled just wide of Donnarumma’s far post.
Milan’s best chance of the half fell to Çalhanoğlu who combined with Suso on the counter-attack. The former however was unable to steer the ball into the net as the first-half drew to a close with both sides level-pegging.
Milan steal the lead
Despite Roma’s relative dominance throughout the majority of he clash, it was Patrick Cutrone who opened the scoring for Gennaro Gatusso’s visitors only minutes into the second period. Former Liverpool man Suso found space on the right side and whipped in a delicious cross to the feet of the Italian. Via a cool, deft flick, he finished beyond Alisson to snatch the lead for AC Milan.
The hosts weren’t quite out of clash however. Perotti showed great feet to dance beyond the Rossoneri defence but his shot whistled wide of goal in search of an equaliser. Franck Kessié though looked to double Milan’s led with a dipping, long-range effort but Alisson did well to tip the ball over the bar.
The visitors kept up their incessant pressure and could well have doubled their lead had it not been a couple of vital interceptions. First, substitute Nikola Kalinic countered and let-fly with a low effort that was parried by the goalkeeper. Romagnoli, who was making his 100th appearance for AC Milan, attempted to convert the rebound but was halted by an excellent challenge from Kostas Manolas.
Gatusso’s troops march away
The visitors needn’t have worried however. Calabria did eventually score Milan’s second with a well-taken strike following excellent build-up play. The defender raced through and flicked the ball over the advancing Alisson and into the net.
Çalhanoğlu, who was a thorn in Roma’s side all evening, almost supplied Fabio Borini in the final minutes. The substitute however was unable to finish into the unguarded net. Milan though went away from the Stadio Olimipico with a huge victory.
In what started off as an intriguing clash at the Stadio Olimpico, AC Milan took control in the second period. Whilst that attacking intent from both teams was clear to see, it was the visitors who just found the cutting edge in the most vital moments.
Roma will be disappointed that they were not able to find the back of the net and that their pursuit of the top four has taken a huge knock. They remain in fifth in the table.
Meanwhile, AC Milan close the gap to their hosts to only six points ahead of the Milan derby next weekend. They will head into that game in a hugely confident mood as a result of their excellent victory on Sunday evening.
AS Roma: Alisson (7); Kolarov (7), Fazio (6), Manolas (7), Peres (6); Naingolan (6) (Dzeko (5), 63′), Strootman (6), Pellegrini (7) (Gerson (N/A), 80′); Perotti (7), Ünder (6) (Defrel (5), 73′), Schik ()6.
AC Milan: Donnarumma (7); Rodriguez (7), Romagnoli (8), Bonucci (7), Calabria (8); Bonaventura (6) (Montolivo (N/A), 90′), Biglia (7), Kessié (7); Suso (7) (Borini (N/A), 82′), Çalhanoğlu (7), Cutrone (7) (Kalinic (5), 66′).
Goals: Cutrone (48′), Calabria (74′)
Referee: Paolo Silvio Mazzoleni
Yellow Cards: N/A
Red Cards: N/A
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