Hakan Calhanoglu salvages point for Milan to continue impressive form
After their enthralling extra-time win over Inter Milan in the cup in midweek, AC Milan struggled to muster the same level of intensity and determination but still earned a hard-fought point in Saturday's 1-1 draw at Fiorentina. Hakan Calhanoglu continued his impressive recent form off the bench with the all-important equaliser.
Gennaro Gattuso has spoken in recent weeks about how the Rossoneri struggle to react to a setback. Well, he got the answer he was looking for on Saturday as his side hit back immediately and continued to push for a win.
The performance lacked any real fluidity and sustained pressure, and so it was a step backwards from Wednesday night against Inter. Tiredness perhaps played a part, but Milan must find that high level consistently.
Manager rating out of 10
6 -- Gattuso's changes made the difference again, particularly the introduction of Calhanoglu. However, he undid that good work with some questionable decisions, most notably starting Riccardo Montolivo and Fabio Borini.
Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Gianluigi Donnarumma, 7 -- Made his 100th appearance for Milan and proved his class and importance with three great saves. Left exposed for Fiorentina's opener, but was otherwise decisive in a great performance.
DF Davide Calabria, 6 -- While he always puts in a decent shift defensively and offers an option on the right flank, he needs to add more quality to his game. Whether that's his delivery into the box or overall influence, he can do more.
DF Leonardo Bonucci, 5 -- A far from secure display from the captain, and was also guilty of a decisive mistake in losing Giovanni Simeone for the goal. Not good enough as he was exposed on multiple occasions and made many sloppy errors.
DF Alessio Romagnoli, 5 -- Made a real mess in the incident that led to his booking, as he was sloppy on the ball and made a rash challenge. He was relatively solid aside from that but it was a drop off from his recent displays.
DF Ricardo Rodriguez, 6 -- Similar to Calabria in that he does his defensive work well but whether it's the system not helping him with a lack of options to help out or just a lack of confidence to do more on the left flank, he's too quick to cut back and play a simple pass.
MF Franck Kessie, 5 -- It's worth noting that tiredness may have been a factor as he wasn't himself here. Didn't really impose himself on the game as he usually does with his physicality and was far too erratic on the ball as he gave away possession on countless occasions.
MF Riccardo Montolivo, 5 -- Rarely looked to play a decisive ball forward, and when he did try it often resulted in surrendering possession. Montolivo did have a decent spell when he initially came back into the side, but he doesn't assert himself on proceedings as he too often floats around without doing much apart from sweeping up for others.
MF Giacomo Bonaventura, 5 -- Did a decent job in midfield in terms of being tidy in possession and kept Milan ticking as he looked to make something happen. However, there was no decisive edge to his play as he didn't do a great deal to threaten with tiredness a factor for him too.
FW Suso, 6 -- By no means one of his best performances, but he always looks the most likely to make something happen for Milan. Perhaps looked to by his teammates too much, but he did trouble Fiorentina at times and was key in the lead up to the equaliser.
FW Patrick Cutrone, 5 -- This game arguably showed that it isn't just a Nikola Kalinic problem that Milan have up front. The frontman always seemed to be too isolated and struggles to get involved against two centre-halves, but the youngster still imposed himself well at times and made a nuisance of himself.
FW Fabio Borini, 4 -- It's not even Borini's fault that he scores so few as he shouldn't be played in an attacking role. Fans admire his work ethic and determination, but he simply doesn't have the attacking qualities to be effective in the final third. Must be the last time he plays on the left wing.
MF Hakan Calhanoglu, 7 -- Bagged his third Serie A goal of the season to earn an important point for his side. Will hopefully get a start sooner rather than later as he has earned it with impressive displays off the bench to show how Milan can be more of an attacking threat when he's on the pitch.
FW Andre Silva, 6 -- There was plenty of running and movement off the ball from the Portuguese international as he linked up well with Calhanoglu. Similarly to his Turkish teammate, needs to be given a start soon.
MF Manuel Locatelli, N/R -- Disappointingly only had two minutes on the pitch. Should have started or at least replaced Montolivo much earlier.
Sumeet Paul covers AC Milan for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter: @SP_Calcio.