Kessie, Cutrone, Suso in form as Milan begins Serie A campaign with win
AC Milan began the new Serie A season with a comfortable 3-0 win over Crotone on Sunday night. Federico Ceccherini was sent off after just five minutes for the hosts, and in turn the Rossoneri ended the contest before half-time through goals from Franck Kessie, Patrick Cutrone and Suso in an impressive all-round performance.
Solid as a team defensively, Milan dominated possession for the majority of the game as they showed composure, class and technical quality on the ball that has been missing for too long to carve out countless scoring opportunities.
Perhaps the biggest negative was that Milan stepped off the gas in the second half with the game safe, and didn't play with the same intensity. They still managed to create chances, but didn't take them.
Manager rating out of 10
8 -- Vincenzo Montella has to perform a balancing act and rotate his team with Europa League qualifiers also to consider. The early dismissal undoubtedly changed this game, but he's getting his selections right so far.
Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Gianluigi Donnarumma, 6 -- Was a spectator for the most part, but he's making a very useful habit of producing key saves. Deserves credit for maintaining his concentration at all times.
DF Andrea Conti, 7 -- His energy is second to none as he motored up and down the right flank before eventually being replaced. Always offered an attacking outlet, was tidy on the ball and defended well.
DF Leonardo Bonucci, 6 -- A solid league debut for Milan's new captain. Had some issues dealing with Ante Budimir and was at times wayward with his passing, but still a positive outing overall.
DF Mateo Musacchio, 7 -- Dealt with Crotone's threat without fuss, and looked more assured on the ball as he produced a fine display. Depending on which system Montella goes with, Alessio Romagnoli will have a fight on his hands to get back into the team's back four.
DF Ricardo Rodriguez, 7 -- Worked well in tandem with Conti on the opposite flank; when one went forward, the other dropped back. Looked very comfortable on the ball when pushing up and nullified any threat down the left side.
MF Franck Kessie, 8 -- Scored his first league goal for Milan in another commanding and standout performance. It's difficult to believe he's just 20, as he plays with such physicality and maturity.
MF Manuel Locatelli, 6 -- A mixed bag from the youngster, as he looked good in protecting the back line for the most part and linking things in midfield, but was caught out at times too and picked up a yellow card for a late challenge.
MF Hakan Calhanoglu, 7 -- It's clear he's still working towards full match fitness, but his classy ability on the ball is on show. Looks so much more effective in midfield, and played delightful balls to his teammates to set up some dangerous attacks.
FW Suso, 8 -- Great assist for Cutrone's header and bagged a goal for himself in an impressive performance. The Spaniard was a constant menace, especially in the first half, and he proved to be decisive in helping Milan secure victory and break down an organised side.
FW Patrick Cutrone, 8 -- The 19-year-old produced a brilliant display as he was key in all three goals, first by winning the penalty, then adding a second himself before turning provider for Suso. If there was any doubt about whether he can play an important role for Montella this season, he's doing a fine job of dismissing them.
FW Fabio Borini, 7 -- As always, Borini worked tirelessly with his pressing and running in behind, and he can be pleased with his efforts. Caused problems from an attacking perspective too even if he did lack the final bit of quality, but a positive outing.
FW Andre Silva, 6 -- Came on just after the hour mark and forced Alex Cordaz into making three great saves. From a critical point of view, he perhaps should of scored at least one, but a positive impact on his Serie A debut.
DF Ignazio Abate, 6 -- Gave Conti a deserved rest in the latter stages, and was a calming influence on the right to shore things up at the back.
MF Jose Mauri, N/A -- Not enough time to impress as Montella looked to him to settle things in midfield in the final 10 minutes or so.
Sumeet Paul covers AC Milan for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter: @SP_Calcio.