Brilliant Deulofeu lifts nine-man Milan past Bologna
Nine-man AC Milan secured a miraculous 1-0 win over Bologna on Wednesday night, with Mario Pasalic scoring the late winner for the Rossoneri. Both Gabriel Paletta and Juraj Kucka had seen red leaving the visitors two short for the last half hour, but a bit of Gerard Deulofeu magic carved the Bologna defence open to help Milan snatch the victory.
Milan deserve a huge amount of credit for digging in and playing out a significant part of the game with only nine men. To also secure a win was simply stunning, as their tireless display was rewarded and they finally broke out of their slump.
The lack of discipline that this side is showing this season is a real concern, as dismissals are almost becoming part and parcel of every game. Coupled with missed early opportunities and Alessio Romagnoli's injury, it looked set to be a disastrous night all round.
Manager rating out of 10
5 -- It's difficult to understand why Vincenzo Montella is persisting with certain individuals. Pasalic and Carlos Bacca, regardless of the former's late goal, were poor again but still stay in the side, and his decision to replace Manuel Locatelli at half-time was baffling, although it worked out in the end.
Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Gianluigi Donnarumma, 8 -- Made a key save in the first half and was alert throughout. Saved the best for just after the hour mark though, as he produced a stunning stop to deny Ladislav Krejci a certain goal and was decisive in keeping Milan in the game.
DF Ignazio Abate, 6 -- Not always solid from a defensive perspective but showed plenty of commitment carrying out his duties and pushing forward whenever possible in an all-round decent effort.
DF Gabriel Paletta, 5 -- The experienced centre-back had a good start to the game, but picked up a silly yellow card after an altercation in the box. Saw red after 36 minutes to leave his teammates short, although he was left exposed and vulnerable to what was a predictable second yellow.
DF Alessio Romagnoli, 6 -- A decent performance cut short after 30 minutes due to injury. The Italian international was always alert in dealing with the Bologna threat, kept things simple in his passing and hopefully won't be out for too long.
DF Leonel Vangioni, 6 -- A tough game in which to make his first start for Milan, and considering the circumstances, he dealt with the occasion well. By no means was it a perfect display, but kept things tight and in context, he can be pleased.
MF Juraj Kucka, 5 -- As always, the combative midfielder offered energy and tenacity but ruined his night with two silly yellow cards in quick succession to leave his teammates at a severe disadvantage. It was a really naive and disappointing effort from the experienced Slovakian.
MF Manuel Locatelli, 6 -- Back in the team and offered defensive coverage while he kept possession ticking over. Did well when forced to play in defence after Paletta's sending off, and it was really frustrating to see him sacrificed at half-time for Cristian Zapata.
MF Mario Pasalic, 6 -- The Chelsea loanee rescued his night with the late winning goal, as he showed great determination and energy to get up in support and score. However, his mark would have been lower prior to that as he was average for the most part and missed two great chances to score.
FW Suso, 6 -- His delivery from set pieces was terrible, but he deserves credit for continuing to plug away and trying to make something happen. Looked more effective when played through the middle in between the lines, something that Montella may choose to look at again.
FW Carlos Bacca, 5 -- An utterly useless performance. It's incredible to see how poor he is in build-up play, and he never seemed to be in the right place when the ball was delivered into the box. His attitude was better but it's baffling as to how Gianluca Lapadula isn't in the team yet.
FW Gerard Deulofeu, 8 -- A brilliant effort from the Spaniard. Worked tirelessly and used his pace and trickery well. Saved his best until the final minute though as he went on a mazy run before producing the perfect assist for Pasalic. Rightfully the first man that Montella hugged after the game, and he'll hope he can build on this now.
DF Cristian Zapata, 6 -- For his usual standards, he did well after coming on. Wasn't always accurate with his passing, but cut out the errors and will need to be on his game for the trip to Lazio next week.
DF Gustavo Gomez, 7 -- Made two exceptional blocks shortly after coming on to keep Milan in the game. A really positive performance, he also set Deulofeu away in the build-up to the goal and so hopefully it's something for him to gain confidence from.
MF Andrea Poli, 6 -- Staked his claim for a spot in the starting lineup. Battled hard for his team to add presence and energy in midfield.
Sumeet Paul covers AC Milan for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter: @SP_Calcio.