In a game of two halves, it was Milan who came out on top at the San Siro, beating Fiorentina 2-1 to move into seventh place in the race for European football.
Goals from Juraj Kucka and Gerard Deulofeu in the first half were enough to negate Nikola Kalinic’s eleventh goal of the season. A crucial win for Milan, and one that many predicted would give the advantage to either side in the race for Europe.
Gianluigi Donnarumma (6.5)
A quiet game for the youngster as he really only had to deal with Valero’s first half shot which was dealt with quite comfortably. Looked more confident tonight in sweeping up danger after previous mistakes in-goal.
Ignazio Abate (7.5)
Another good performance from the Milan captain at full-back. He did well against the threat of Salcedo on his side of the pitch. Could have had an assist and a goal, which would have capped his performance tonight as he was one of the best players on the pitch.
Gustavo Gomez (6.5)
Overall, I thought the Paraguayan had a solid game alongside Paletta and it was always going to be a more comfortable game in defence alongside the Italian than Zapata. His positioning was slightly off in the second half. Fiorentina piled on the pressure in attack as seen on a couple of occasions with the tangle up with Kalinic and Sanchez’s golden opportunity to equalise.
Gabriel Paletta (6.5)
Another player who returned to the line-up after serving a suspension resulting from his third red card of the season against Bologna. Looked assured and dominant in defence without his silly ways and with that avoided trouble with the referee. For once, he did not get booked with a yellow card.
Leonel Vangioni (5)
Started his third successive game for the Rossoneri, albeit because of a crisis at full-back due to injuries. Another game where he’s become a target and a weakness for the side in the games he’s been involved in. Lucky not to have been sent off yet again after playing the majority of the game on a yellow card. Milan need De Sciglio back ASAP.
Jose Sosa (8) MOTM
Kept his place in the starting line-up ahead of Locatelli which showed a huge vote of confidence from Montella for the Argentine to stake his claim for regular football. Delivered a stunning cross which was met by the head of Kucka to give Milan the lead. His range of passing was there for all to see tonight, as well as his improvement in the defensive part of the regista role. His inclusion in the team has seen a more positive set up going forward and his quality on the ball tonight was splendid to watch.
Juraj Kucka (7.5)
A return to the starting line-up after his sending off at Bologna was crucial to tonight’s game as he got himself on the scoresheet. A great first half was followed up with a quiet second half as Fiorentina piled on the pressure. If he can keep his discipline in control in games, he’ll be a crucial player for the remaining months of the season.
Mario Pasalic (6)
The Croatian had another of those games where he quietly went about his business in the middle of the field, doing what Montella sets up for him to do and break up play. Nobody on the bench seems to have the same trust as Pasalic does from the manager to play in that midfield role so don’t expect anything to change.
Another quiet game by the Spaniard as he was outshined yet again by his team-mate on the opposite flank. Teams are starting to get accustomed to what the winger does on that side of the pitch and with Suso not exactly blessed with pace, he can’t really change up his style of play unless he takes up a more central role in games.
Carlos Bacca (6)
Another game goes by where the Colombian is missing in the match, it’s become a case where the player is only playing because of his transfer fee. Not denying the player’s ability but he simply does not fit into Montella’s system and what he wants from his number nine upfront.
Gerard Deulofeu (7.5)
Scored his first goal for the club with an excellent curling effort to give the Rossoneri the lead in the first half. Could have potentially got a second goal with a 1v1 available instead he opted to pass the ball to Suso and the oppurtunity went. Quiet in the second half as the game changed but really should have stayed on the pitch instead of Suso as the changes were made.
Cristian Zapata (6)
Was brought on to tighten up the defence, in a tactical change at the back which saw Milan play with three centre-backs. Done well on multiple ocassions to just get the ball out of danger. We could see this system return and the Colombian could be back in the starting line-up sooner rather than later.
Andrea Bertolacci (5)
His twenty minute cameo from the bench was to help keep hold of the ball and protect the back four as Milan sat deep and tried to hold on for the win. Instead, the midfielder lost possession on multiple occasions and failed to protect Vangioni as instructed to do so.
Andrea Poli (N/A)