Europa League, Milan overwhelms Rennes 3-0


By John

Milan-Rennes 3-0 (1-0) in the first leg of the Europa League play offs.

MILAN (4-2-3-1): Maignan, Florenzi (30′ st Terracciano), Kjaer (16′ st Thiaw), Gabbia, Theo Hernandez, Musah, Reijnders, Pulisic (36′ st Adli), Loftus-Cheek (30 ‘st Bennacer), Leao (16’ st Okafor), Giroud. (57 Sportiello, 83 Mirante, 15 Jovic, 81 Eletu, 84 Nsiala, 95 Bartesaghi). All: Pioli

RENNES (4-4-2): Mandanda, Doué G (22′ st Seidu), Omari, Theate, Truffert (30′ st Nagida), Bourigeaud, Santamaria, Matusiwa (30′ st Blas), Doué D. (30′ st Salah), Kalimuendo (22′ st Gouri), Terrier. (1 Gallon, 40 Lembet, 15 Wooh, 16 Belocian, 38 Cissé, 39 Lambourde, 99 Yildirim). All: Stephan

Referee: Dabanovic (Montenegro)

Networks: in pt 32′ Loftus-Cheek, in st’2′ Loftus-Cheek, 8′ Leao

Angles: 8-2 for Milan

Recovery: 1′ and 4′

Note: Nagida booked for foul play. 69,021 spectators for a taking of 2,558,234.82 euros.

A good AC Milan put their qualification for the Europa League round of 16 on ice thanks to a clear 3-0 victory at San Siro against Rennes. A brace from Loftus-Cheek and a goal from Leao decided the match. The first chance is for the Rossoneri and comes in the 7th minute. Kjaer passes for Leao who skips the direct marker with a chest shot and goes for a shot with his right, hitting the crossbar squarely.

The hosts started better and collected five corners in the first half, but in the 24th minute the French came close to taking the lead when Bourigeaud’s right-footed shot went just wide to Maignan’s left. Once the scare was overcome, Pioli’s men moved forward and found the advantage in the 32nd minute. Florenzi receives the ball on the right and serves a kissing cross to the head of Loftus-Cheek, who heads ahead of everyone and pierces Mandanda with the help of the post, thus making it 1-0. It is the result with which the two teams go to the break.

The seven-time European champions restarted strongly in the second half and found the second goal after just two minutes. Theo Hernandez takes a corner from the right, Kjaer hits with his back finding Mandanda ready to block but on the rebound Loftus-Cheek is still the quickest of all to head in from a few steps.

The 3-0 came five minutes later. Leao and Hernandez combined well, with the Frenchman putting a nice ball back for the number 10 who sent a precise right-footed shot past Mandanda into the corner. In the 11th minute, Pulisic tries with his left foot, but the goalkeeper saves for a corner.

In the 16th minute, Thiaw is back on the pitch, having been out due to injury for almost 80 days. The French team met again in the 26th minute, when Maignan had to make two saves in the space of a few seconds on Gouiri and Santamaria. A few moments later, the Rossoneri came close to a poker first with Pulisic and then Okafor, with their shots with a sure shot rejected first by Mandanda and then, after the goalkeeper’s save, off the line by a providential Matusiwa. The result will no longer change. The two teams will face each other again next Thursday at 6.45pm in Rennes for the return match.