Domination of the Londoners to sign with Fofana, Aubameyang and James. Rossoneri undertone
Milan collapse 3-0 in the Champions League against Chelsea, says goodbye to the primacy in group E and is joined in second place by the Londoners. Stamford Bridge race without history, with Londoners who unlock it with Fofana in the scrum on 24 ‘and suffer only in the recovery of the first half for the conclusions of De Ketelaere and Krunic. At the beginning of recovery Aubameyang doubles after a hole by Tomori (56 ‘), then at 62’ James drops the trio, striking Tatarusanu with a right on the near post. Leading the group is Salzburg.
Too much Chelsea for a bandaged Milan, tired and with few ideas, which holds the pitch well for about twenty minutes and then, once it goes under, really builds too little and collapses at the beginning of the second half. A defeat that hurts morale and rankings, also because the Londoners are still in the process of learning the method of the new Potter coach and have appeared anything but an impregnable battleship. On a really bad evening the only ones to save themselves are Tatarusanu, who despite the three goals also made a couple of good saves, Kalulu, who tried to hold the cabin almost alone, and the usual Leao, less overflowing than usual, but the only flash of the Rossoneri race came after his exceptional acceleration, thrown to the wind first by De Ketelaere and then by Krunic. At this point, the San Siro match in a week is crucial for both teams.
Potter recovers everyone, apart from Kanté, and is spoiled for choice: 3-4-3 with Koulibaly at the first starting point under his management, keys to the midfield entrusted to Kovacic and trident Sterling-Aubameyang-Mount. Training required for Pioli, who has the infirmary overwhelmed: Dest right back, Krunic wide on the same wing and attack entrusted to the great former Giroud. Origi is recovered and leaves on the bench. Milan starts with personality against a Chelsea still running in after the arrival of Potter in place of Tuchel, holds the field well but never manages to trigger the strikers. As the minutes went by, the Londoners increased the pressure to 15 ‘Tatarusanu relaxed and pushed the right from the edge of Mount. The former Thiago Silva, first engages the Romanian goalkeeper with a central header raised above the crossbar, then is the great protagonist of the goal that unlocks the match: at 24 ‘Tatarusanu rejects the Brazilian’s diving header, then Fofana resolves the melee in the area with a right low shot. The goal gives the English wings, dragged by Mount: the English striker is seen to be rejected by Kalulu a safe shot (29 ‘), four minutes later he finds the 2-0 with a delicious excavation from a tight angle but the goal is canceled for irregular position. At 38 ‘Potter loses Fofana due to a knee problem: in his place Chalobah. Kalulu still keeps Milan standing with a providential recovery on Sterling (41 ‘) and in full recovery the Devil comes close to equal: great acceleration by Leao, who serves De Ketelaere, Kepa is saved with one hand then Krunic’s shot from a few steps ends very high after a detour.
Pioli does not change and the inertia changes, with Chelsea however more precise and good at sending the credits in the lap of 6 ‘, between 56’ and 62 ‘: Tomori pierces James’s cross and Aubameyang at his back Tatarusanu is dry, then the English full-back sets up on his own and strikes the vice-Maignan with a right on his post. The Rossoneri coach understands that the game is now over and lets some of the most important men like Leao, Giroud and Bennacer catch his breath ahead of the championship match against Juve. In the last half hour practically nothing happens and at the triple whistle of Makkelie the party at Stamford Bridge explodes, for three points that put Potter’s men back in the running.
James 7.5 – In the first half he stepped on his toes with Sterling, in the second half he put the turbo and made the difference. His assist for Aubameyang’s 2-0, then he sets out on his own and bye-bye Milan.
Thiago Silva 7 – The identity card says 38 years, but the Brazilian just does not show them and is among the best in the field. Cancel Giroud, always dangerous with a head propitious Fofana’s goal that unlocks the match.
Aubameyang 6.5 – In the first half he looks like a fish out of water, detached from the maneuver and imprecise even in the simplest passages. In the second half he remembers being a relentless bomber and scores the 2-0 which closes the match by taking advantage of a hole by Tomori.
Leao 6 – Not the best evening to show numbers and magic to the club that has been looking for him so much and that will probably do it again next summer. A single acceleration worthy of his name, which the wretched De Ketelaere and Krunic throw to the wind.
Tomori 4.5 – One of the great ex of the race, the English central runs into one of those performances that do not make him regret in these parts. The hole that allows Aubameyang to double up is sensational.
Ballo-Touré 4.5 – The hero of Empoli goes from stars to stalls in a matter of days, torn to shreds by the couple Sterling-James.
Chelsea (3-4-3): Kepa 6; Fofana 6.5 (38 ‘Chalobah 6), Thiago Silva 7, Koulibaly 6; James 7.5, Loftus-Cheek 6, Kovacic 6.5 (21 ‘st Jorginho 6), Chilwell 6; Mount 6,5 (29 ‘st Havertz 6), Aubameyang 6,5 (20’ st Gallagher 6), Sterling 6 (30 ‘st Broja sv). Available: Bettinelli, Mendy, Pulisic, Zakaria, Ziyech, Azpilicueta, Cucurella. Annex: Potter 7
Milan (4-2-3-1): Tatarusanu 6; Dest 5, Kalulu 6, Tomori 4.5, Ballo-Touré 4.5; Bennacer 5.5 (28 ‘st Pobega 6), Tonali 5; Krunic 4.5 (20 ‘st Gabbia 6), De Ketelaere 4.5 (20’ st Rebic 6), Leao 6 (27 ‘st Diaz 6); Giroud 5 (28 ‘st Origi 5.5). Available: Mirante, Jungdal, Gala, Coubis. Annex: Pegs 5
Referee: Makkelie (Netherlands)
Markers: 24 ‘Fofana (C), 11’ st Aubameyang (C), 17 ‘st James (C)
Ammonites: Krunic (M), Ballo-Touré (M), Kovacic (C), Tomori (M), Thiago Silva (C)
Milan lost a Champions League game by a margin of three or more goals for the sixth time in the competition, the first since 11 March 2014, against Atletico Madrid (1-4).
Milan have lost all of their last four Champions League matches against English opponents and have overall been defeated eight times in their last 10 games against these teams (1W, 1N).
Milan closed a Champions League game with just four shots for the first time since 19 October 2021 against Porto, the very last time they failed to score in the competition.
Chelsea have won each of their last two Champions League matches against Italian opponents, after failing to find success in the previous five (2N, 3P).
Milan have conceded at least one goal in 12 of their last 13 European competitions – the only clean sheet in the set came on 24 November 2021, against Atletico Madrid.
With 22 years and 301 days, Reece James became the youngest Chelsea player to have scored and served an assist in the same UEFA Champions League game.
Wesley Fofana is the first player to score his first ever Champions League goal in a game against Milan since Stefano Denswil, with Ajax in October 2013.
This is only the second time that AC Milan have played with only one Italian (Sandro Tonali) out of 11 players in a Champions League match; previously against Liverpool on 15 September 2021 (Davide Calabria).