Gianluigi Donnarumma shines but AC Milan held by Udinese
AC Milan were unable to make it three consecutive Serie A wins on Sunday afternoon, as Udinese secured a share of the spoils in a 1-1 draw at the San Siro.
Despite dominating for large periods of the game, the Rossoneri came up short in their bid to overturn their deficit after Pablo Armero came back to haunt his former side by giving the Zebrette the lead. M'Baye Niang equalised for the hosts but a winner was not forthcoming.
Milan boss Sinisa Mihajlovic deserves credit for his changes at the interval, which led to a relentless effort from the hosts in a bid to maintain their recent momentum.
However, it was a disappointing afternoon for the Serbian tactician and his men, as they couldn't find a winning goal. Despite some impressive performances across the starting lineup, the absence of the injured Giacomo Bonaventura undoubtedly had a negative impact on the team in the opening 45 minutes.
THE BEST OF ESPN FC
- Bell: Liverpool fans make themselves heard
- Cox: Leicester improving | Why Poch should stay
- Okwonga: Man United's market | City's title hopes
- Laurens: PSG's pre-UCL issues | Hertha's curse
- Highlights (U.S. only): Stuttgart 1-3 BVB
- FC TV: Champions League W2W4 | LVG wrong
- News | Transfer | Toe Poke | Fantasy | FC TV | Podcast | MLS
Player ratings (1-10; 10=best; players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating):
GK Gianluigi Donnarumma, 7 -- The 16-year-old produced two stunning saves in the build-up to Armero's goal, but it was his stop on Francesco Lodi that stood out. It enabled Milan to counter attack and score the equaliser, and so the youngster certainly had a decisive impact on the game.
DF Ignazio Abate, 6 -- A solid display from the Italian international as he remained in control defensively while being his usual energetic self with countless runs down the right flank to join up in attacks.
DF Alex, 6 -- The experienced centre-half returned to the starting lineup and led by example as he was relatively untroubled throughout the encounter and looked in control for the most part.
DF Alessio Romagnoli, 7 -- It was a commanding performance from the youngster as he made some key interceptions with his ability to read the game so well. While he dealt with any danger efficiently and swiftly, his composure on the ball also allowed Milan to build from the back.
DF Luca Antonelli, 6 -- Although he may have struggled at times dealing with the Udinese threat down the right flank, his marauding runs forward caused them just as many problems as he was a key in making up for Giacomo Bonaventura's absence on the left hand side.
MF Keisuke Honda, 7 -- Perhaps not as influential as he was against Palermo, but the Japanese international continues to work hard off the ball and became more dangerous in the second half as he spent more time on the ball. Has now turned jeers into applause from the supporters.
MF Riccardo Montolivo, 6 -- His hesitancy to shoot irked the home faithful, and the captain arguably should have tried his luck on two specific occasions rather than pass the ball to a teammate. Nevertheless, it was a controlled performance as he helped build play from midfield.
MF Andrea Bertolacci, 6 -- The Italian international overcame a difficult start to the game to prove his resolve and talent. Having been guilty of surrendering possession far too often early on, he grew into the encounter and helped dominate the midfield battle before almost winning it with his effort that crashed off the crossbar.
MF Juraj Kucka, 5 -- After playing a starring role in Milan's recent resurgence, Kucka rates so low this time round through no fault of his own. Deployed on the left flank in Bonaventura's absence, he didn't suit the role asked of him as an injury then forced him off at half time.
FW Carlos Bacca, 6 -- Can't be faulted for effort and persistence, but it wasn't Bacca's day as he spurned one great chance in particular as he headed straight at Orestis Karnezis. Had another effort ruled out for offside, but was generally a real nuisance for the Udinese backline.
FW M'Baye Niang, 6 -- Replaced just after the hour mark as Mihajlovic looked to give him some well-earned rest. The Serbian should have spotted something with Niang being most dangerous when moved out wide on the left in the second half. Scored the all-important equaliser, but was too wasteful in the first half.
FW Mario Balotelli, 6 -- Gave Milan a different look in attack with his clever play between the lines, and he threatened to score from set pieces. However, he's still working towards being fully match sharp.
MF Kevin-Prince Boateng, 6 -- Failed to have a similarly impressive impact off the bench like he has done in recent weeks, but his hard work is always appreciated.
Sumeet Paul has written for various websites providing Serie A coverage. He can be found on Twitter @SP_Calcio for all things Italian football.