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Milan overcame a nightmare start to reserve their place in the Europa League round of 32 with a 4-2 win over Celtic.
Celtic took the lead after just seven minutes when Tom Rogic did well on a mistake by Rade Krunic, before doubling his lead five minutes later through Odsonne Edouard, while Milan endured a terrible 20-minute start.
The Scottish team could have had more than two, but failed to seize the opportunities and panicked as Stefano Pioli’s team regained control of the game. A free kick from Hakan Calhanoglu put Milan back on the line after 24 minutes, before Samuel Castillejo leveled things to send both sides at halftime at 2-2.
Milan seemed determined not to make a mistake again after the break and flew out of the blocks, quickly taking the lead thanks to an impressive blow from Jens Petter Hauge, who increased his confidence as the game progressed.
Celtic struggled to regain momentum after falling behind and after Gianluigi Donnarumma blocked a well-placed free kick from Ryan Christie in the 73rd minute, the writing was on the wall for Neil Lennon’s side.
Points were secured as Hauge effortlessly outlasted the uninspired Celtic defenders and found substitute Brahim Diaz, who edged out Vasilias Barkas.
With Sparta Prague losing to Lille, Milan is officially out of the woods. Here are the players.
Gianluigi Donnarumma (POR) – 7/10 – Couldn’t do anything about either of Celtic’s two goals and kept Milan in the game multiple times. Confident on the ball and saved a perfect free kick by Ryan Christie.
Diogo Dalot (RB) – 5/10 – Got out of position at times, but grew up in the game and racked up a healthy 88% passing success while selecting some good game changes.
Simon Kjaer (CB) – 5/10 – Nothing could save Krunic’s mistake that led to Celtic’s first goal and he was substituted injured in the 11th minute.
Matteo Gabbia (CB) – 5/10 – Positionally poor at times, but it didn’t help the fact that Milan’s two full-backs are often nowhere to be seen in the first half. Much improved with Alessio Romagnoli.
Theo Hernández (LB) – 6/10 – Too casual in the first half and let Jeremie Frimpong in at every opportunity, but he reigned throughout the game and found his balance. Got an assist for the third from Milan.
Rade Krunic (CM) – 4/10 – The culprit of the first Celtic game with a very sloppy play. Passenger throughout the first half and well above the level of his midfield teammates. Hooked half the time and it’s understandable.
Franck Kessie (CM) – 8/10 – Having to positionally compensate Theo Hernández caused Milan problems in the first 20 minutes, but the Ivorian did what was asked and was key as he grew in the game. Crucial to keep up the pace and completely dominate the midfield.
Hakan Calhanoglu (CM) – 7/10 – He took advantage of a poor challenge from Ryan Christie by bagging a free kick in true Calhanoglu fashion. It’s not his strongest game, but he offers a decent attacking threat.
Samuel Castillejo (RW) – 8/10 – Pocketed the all-important quick draw to put Celtic down and bring Milan back into the game and did it calmly, although he could have had more than one more urgently.
Ante Rebic (ST) – 6/10 – Good performance and hard work to make holes in Celtic’s bottom line, doing the dirty work to feed the teammates. Selfless acting.
Jens Petter Hauge (LW) – 9/10 – Good off-the-ball movement in the first half was disappointed by Hauge’s predictability at times, but came to life in the second to pass three players and fit beautifully, giving Milan the lead. He helped Brahim Díaz secure the points.
Alessio Romagnoli – 7/10 – Solved the procedures in the back, especially considering they took him to the field. He swept through danger with confidence and kept his team ahead in the toughest parts of the game.
Sandro Tonali – 6/10
Brahim Diaz – 7/10 – A smart and dinked shot was important to secure points for his team.
Ismael Bennacer – 6/10
Lorenzo Colombo – N / A
Vasilios Barkas (GK) – 4/10 – Little to do, but failed to impress every time he was called to action. Should have done better with Calhanoglu’s free kick.
Hatim Abd Elhamed (RB) – 3/10 – He gave Jens Petter Hauge too much time to switch on his right foot during the first half, and he was inevitably punished for it after the break. A weak defense throughout the game allowed Milan to enter from the left at all times.
Nir Bitton (CB) – 4/10 – Did not ignite the world as Milan cut a deficit of two goals. It was much better to advance when Celtic had possession, but too weak to defend their area.
Kristoffer Ajer (CB) – 4/10 – Hounded by Ante Rebic in midair and taken out of position when Milan entered the game. He looks like a shadow of the player who was linked to a signing by the Rossoneri in the summer.
Diego Laxalt (LB) – 5/10 – Indifferent performance to his former Laxalt bosses, with the best of Celtic’s attacks coming from the opposite wing.
Callum McGregor (DM) – 5/10 – Overwhelmed at times when Milan pulled the Bhoys out of position. Acceptable the first half, but seemed lost in the second.
Scott Brown (DM) – 7/10 – Lead the charge in transition for his team in the first half. True captain performance and found Frimpong with some neat forward passes, and made a decent account for himself despite Milan’s dominance in later stages.
Jeremie Frimpong (RW) – 7/10 – I’ve been alive from the first whistle and made fun of a sleeping Milan defender, particularly Theo Hernández. Celtic’s bright spark and created some decent chances down the right flank.
Tom Rogic (AM) – 7/10 – Sharp from the start and reacted well to score the first goal after a mistake by Krunic. However, fatigue hit him after the break, and his team chased the play far too often.
Ryan Christie (LW) – 5/10 – Generally quiet play for Christie, who failed to really prevail over the Rossoneri. His best chance came from a free kick that was headed for the bins above if not for Donnarumma.
Odsonne Edouard (ST) – 7/10 – Smart first part of Eduouard who showed his class, despite the inconsistency of his team. He cleverly blocked Krunic after his mistake and scored an incredible dink on Donnarumma to make it 2-0.
Olivier Ntcham – 5/10
Ismaila Soro – N / A