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  • Writer's pictureSimon Basten

Leao-Lazio: 2-0

Updated: Oct 31, 2023

Game 7, Serie A

Saturday September 30, 2023

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Stadio San Siro, Milan

Milan Lazio 2-0

Two plays by Leao allow Milan to beat the Biancocelesti

Official SS Lazio photo

The team

Maurizio Sarri decided to give Ciro Immobile some rest and put Taty Castellanos at the centre of the attack. Following his good performance against Torino, Nicolò Rovella was confirmed while Matteo Guendouzi took Matias Vecino’s place.

First half

Lazio started well, with personality. They usually suffer Milan's physicality and pressing too much at San Siro, but this time it looked as if the Biancocelesti had come into the game with the right attitude. In the 12th minute Felipe Anderson took advantage of a misunderstanding between the Milan defenders and flew into the box on the left, his shot however went wide.

Milan were in difficulty and Lazio took control of the match but were unable to create anything dangerous. Just lame shots from outside the box by Mattia Zaccagni and Felipe Anderson. In the 28th minute Stefano Pioli was forced to substitute Ruben Loftus-Cheek with Yunus Musah. Five minutes later Rafael Leao inside the area looked up to see if he could pass the ball to anyone and, unable to, decided to take a crack at Ivan Provedel. The Lazio goalkeeper saved into corner.

After another attempt from outside the box from Castellanos in the 35th minute, the biggest chance for Milan came in the 44th. Musah crossed low into the box from the right, Olivier Giroud anticipated Nicolò Casale and volleyed the ball towards goal but Provedel saved. The ball then came off his leg and gave an open goal opportunity to Tijiani Reijnders who tried a back heel but hit the outside of the post.

The first half ended with another Castellanos attempt from outside the penalty area saved by Mike Maignan.

A first half played well by Lazio, their best yet under Sarri in Milan.

Second half

A completely different story in the second half. Milan were much more aggressive and the Biancocelesti in enormous difficulty. The Rossoneri are a very physical team and Lazio are not. A mismatch.

The Biancocelesti could not get over the half way line and found it hard to start anything at all. In the 60th minute the obvious happened. Reijnders saw Leao on the left on the edge of the box and passed the ball to him, low cross to the centre where Christian Pulisic was all alone. His volley was almost stopped by Provedel but the result was inevitable: Milan 1 Lazio 0.

Sarri then made a few changes. In came Daichi Kamada and Vecino for Guendouzi and Rovella. Three changes for Milan. Out went Giroud, Yacine Adli and Davide Calabria, in came Noah Okafor, Tommaso Pobega and Alessandro Florenzi.

Big opportunity for Musah in the 72nd minute. Quite by chance he found the ball at his feet in the box but his shot was saved by Provedel. On the subsequent corner Fikayo Tomori had a free header but the result was too central.

Two more substitutions for Lazio in the 75th minute: Immobile for Castellanos and Pedro for Felipe Anderson.

In the 76th minute another play similar to the first goal. Leao to Theo Hernandez on the left, ball in the middle to Pulisic, this time his shot was saved by Provedel.

Last two changes by the managers in the 82nd minute: Gustav Isaksen for Zaccagni and Samuel Chukwueze for Pulisic.

In the 85th minute Isaksen dribbled past a few Milan defenders and got dangerously closer to the goal but Florenzi with a defensive miracle saved the Rossoneri. Immediately after Leao received the ball from Pobega on the left, he beat Casale for speed and once close to the byline put the ball into the centre of the box for Chukwueze who made it two for Milan. Game over.

Lazio did actually manage to score, with Pedro in the fourth minute of injury time, but it was disallowed for a previous Immobile offside.

Lazio lost but overall one cannot really complain. If Leao has the space to be dangerous on the left, there is nothing anybody can really do. All he needed was two runs down the wing and two crosses, which brought two goals. None of the Biancocelesti could contrast the Portuguese's power.

Who played for Milan

Maignan, Calabria (69' Florenzi), Kjaer, Tomori, Theo Hernandez, Loftus-Cheek (28' Musah), Adli (69' Pobega), Rejinders, Pulisic (82' Chukwueze), Giroud (69' Okafor), Leao.

Substitutes: Sportiello, Mirante, Jovic, Romero, Thiaw, Pellegrino, Bartesaghi

Manager: Pioli

Who played for Lazio

Provedel, Marusic, Casale, Romagnoli, Hysaj, Guendouzi (67' Kamada), Rovella (67' Vecino), Luis Alberto, Felipe Anderson (75' Pedro), Castellanos (75' Immobile), Zaccagni (82' Isaksen).

Substitutes: Sepe, Mandas, Pellegrini, Patric, Lazzari, Cataldi, Gila

Manager: Sarri

Referee: Massa

Goals: 60’ Pulisic, 88’ Okafor

Bookings: Marusic, Romagnoli, Leao, Hernandez, Maignan


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