Friday, September 25, 2020

Torino 2-1 AC Milan: Late Belotti brace increases the pressure on Giampaolo

SoccerNews in Serie A 26 Sep 2019

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AC Milan failed to bounce back from their derby defeat to Inter, as Andrea Belotti’s late brace secured Torino a 2-1 win on Thursday.

Milan coach Marco Giampaolo was left fielding questions about whether he felt “at risk” of the sack following the Inter loss, and his side’s inability to hold on to their lead in Turin will likely increase the uncertainty after just two wins from five in Serie A.

The visitors began the entertaining contest well enough and were good value for the lead when Krzysztof Piatek dispatched a first-half penalty, but they were made to rue not adding to that.

Belotti levelled for a resurgent Torino deep into the second half and then got the winner four minutes later, with goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma failing to cover himself in glory for either.

Milan’s start gave every indication the breakthrough would come from them and they opened the scoring 18 minutes in – Piatek coolly converting from 12 yards after Lorenzo De Silvestri nudged over Rafael Leao in the box.

Torino twice had to rely on Salvatore Sirigu to remain only one behind shortly after, the goalkeeper tipping Leao’s looping header over before stopping Hakan Calhanoglu’s long-range effort.

Donnarumma’s decision to charge out of his box just before the interval allowed Torino the chance to level, but Belotti shot over the open goal.

Piatek nearly took full advantage early in the second half when steering agonisingly wide from 10 yards, though Torino soon became the more threatening side.

Torino’s pressure eventually told 18 minutes from time, as Belotti cut in from the left and unleashed a fierce drive that found the net despite Donnarumma getting a hand to it.

Belotti completed the turnaround a few moments later, inadvertently flicking the ball up for himself and then acrobatically netting from close range after Simone Zaza’s effort was parried by Donnarumma.

Milan twice might have equalised in stoppage time, but Franck Kessie inexplicably blazed over from six yards, before Sirigu pulled off a point-blank save to keep out Piatek’s header.

What does it mean? Milan failed to hold their nerve

After last Saturday’s derby disappointment, which led to Giampaolo answering some uncomfortable questions about job security, it was important for Milan to get back on track as soon as possible.

They handled the first half well – aside from some disappointing finishing – and then fell apart after the break, their form in front of goal costing them again in the final stages.

Defeat leaves Milan 13th with six points.

Belotti rewarded for his persistence

It is fair to say Torino fans might have expected more from Belotti in the first half, particularly after that bad miss when Donnarumma went AWOL. However, he more than made up for his mishaps in the second period, netting twice to win the game and take the hosts up to sixth.

Donnarumma fortunate

Despite letting two goals in at the weekend, Donnarumma was impressive in the derby. The same could not be said this time around. He was unconvincing for both Torino goals, while a moment of madness at the end of the first half should have been punished.

Key Opta stats

– This was the first time since 1942 that Torino have come from behind to beat Milan in Serie A.
– Belotti has scored in six of his last seven home games in Serie A, netting nine goals in that period.
– Milan have conceded two goals in back-to-back Serie A matches for the first time since March 2018.
– Milan midfielder Giacomo Bonaventura made his first league appearance for 340 days when he came off the bench midway through the second half, as he returned from a serious knee injury.

What’s next?

Milan return to San Siro on Sunday for the visit of a Fiorentina side who have underwhelmed in the early stages of the season, while Torino are at Parma 24 hours later.

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