The second leg of AC Milan’s Coppa Italia semifinal tie with Lazio will mean everything after the two sides played out a goalless draw at the San Siro on Wednesday night. The visitors looked dangerous and had their chances, but the Rossoneri still have a great opportunity of progressing to the final.
Lazio are a top side and have scored the most goals in Serie A so far this season. Milan did well to hold them scoreless and keep themselves in the tie. The pressure to take the game to the opposition will now switch over in the second leg.
Milan did come under intense pressure at times and failed to replicate Sunday’s win over Lazio in the league. Milan were in survival mode at times, which was disappointing at home where they were expected to be on the front foot and creating chances.
Manager rating out of 10
6 — Gennaro Gattuso made changes to his lineup to rotate and keep players fresh, and ultimately it didn’t really pay off as Milan struggled to reach the level they showed at the weekend. Nevertheless, Milan is unbeaten in six matches, with Gattuso’s side showing the grit and determination that he demands.
Player ratings out of 10 (1-10; 10 = best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Gianluigi Donnarumma, 7 — Solid performance from the youngster, as he was assured when called upon and made one crucial save to deny Ciro Immobile, which was a highlight of the game.
DF Ignazio Abate, 7 — Had his hands full with Jordan Lukaku looking a real threat down the left flank for the visitors, but used his experience well to stand up to the challenge and defended resolutely.
DF Leonardo Bonucci, 7 — It was another strong display from the captain as he had to deal with some tricky attacking players in the Lazio ranks. He’s building a strong understanding with his defensive partner to keep things tight at the back for Milan.
DF Alessio Romagnoli, 7 — Did have a couple of issues with Immobile which he could have dealt with better, but those aside, he was defensively solid for the most part and continues to impress in the heart of the defence.
DF Fabio Borini, 6 — Played out of position and continues to prove himself to be a useful utility man with his versatility. Did well defensively without really trying too much going forward, so as much as we could expect from him.
MF Franck Kessie, 7 — The combative midfield ace wasn’t as decisive as we’ve seen him in other games this season, but he put himself in some intriguing midfield duels and used his physicality and energy well to battle hard throughout.
MF Lucas Biglia, 6 — Improved in the second half. He again was important in providing defensive coverage and breaking up Lazio attacks. A drop off from recent impressive outings, however, and he continues to fall short in offering more of an offensive influence.
MF Manuel Locatelli, 5 — Unfortunately, he didn’t take his opportunity to impress and it remains to be seen when he’ll be given another chance by Gattuso. Would be more effective in the deeper lying midfield role but such is the competition for places. He has to play well wherever he’s deployed and he fell short this time.
FW Suso, 5 — The only flash of the old Suso came with his cross for Patrick Cutrone in the latter stages of the game. That aside, he was trying too much and has lost that creative spark which made him crucial. Lacking confidence and substance, Gattuso needs to help him break out of this slump.
FW Nikola Kalinic, 5 — Isolated and didn’t get much service, but he just doesn’t look capable of being a constant threat to the opposition. Cutrone made an instant impact when coming on, but Kalinic continues to toil for the most part and it raises the question as to how he continues to start.
FW Giacomo Bonaventura, 5 — Not as effective on the left flank, and so Gattuso will surely restore him in midfield where he’s more of a threat attacking through the middle. He looked a little tired, along with many of his teammates.
MF Hakan Calhanoglu, 6 — On a positive note, he lifted Milan and had a positive impact as the game swayed in the Rossoneri‘s favour after his introduction. He missed a glorious opportunity to give Milan an advantage, however, with a really poor finish, squandering practically an open goal.
FW Patrick Cutrone, 6 — Denied a goal by a great save, but despite having just 20 minutes he changed the tone of the game. He was a menace for the Lazio backline and fully deserves to start regularly.
FW Andre Silva, N/A — Little to no time to have an influence, and as mentioned on countless occasions, these cameo outings off the bench won’t do him much good as it’s not enough of an opportunity to get going.
Sumeet Paul covers AC Milan for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter: @SP_Calcio.