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Milan v Fiorentina Live Commentary, 01/05/2022

FT
1 - 0
MIL
FIO
Rafael Leão (82)
Stadio Giuseppe Meazza

Commentary

That concludes our commentary of the Serie A fixture between Milan and Fiorentina! We hope you’ve enjoyed it!
Milan will look to inch closer to the Scudetto on Sunday, when they travel to play Verona. Fiorentina get a chance to bounce back on Monday against Roma.
Milan escape an extremely nervy tie at San Siro with a 1-0 win, thanks to Leao’s tidy finish with just eight minutes left in the match. The Rossoneri came out of the half-time interval determined to find the breakthrough but a lack of clinical finishing and bad luck looked to conspire to condemn Pioli’s side to a lacklustre and disappointing draw. Things looked to get worse before they got better as Cabral’s close-range header should have put the Viola in front if not for a world class stop by Maignan on his goal-line. The hosts would continue to suffer but finally managed to find what they needed after Terracciano’s poor kick allowed Leao to regain possession and drive forward before a cool finish from eight yards out beat the goalkeeper. The win puts Milan five points ahead of Inter, who kick-off shortly after the conclusion of this match. With the loss, Fiorentina stay seventh.
90' + 4' FULL-TIME: MILAN 1-0 FIORENTINA.
90' + 2' Milan have scored at least two goals in each of their last three Serie A games against Fiorentina and have not recorded a longer streak against the Viola in the competition since a run of six between 1992 and 1996.
90' The fourth official indicates four minutes will be added to the end of the 90 for stoppages.
I. Bennacer
Yellow Card
Milan
88' Bennacer's cynical foul takes Biraghi to the turf and earns the Algeria international a yellow card.
86' It’s all hands at the pump on defence as Milan have to hold on for another four minutes plus stoppage time in order to secure the points necessary to vault the Rossoneri five points above their nearest title challengers. It’s most certainly going to be a nervy final phase of the game with a win imperative for Pioli’s side.
84' Fiorentina press forward immediately after conceding, looking to hit right back and level the match at 1-1 but Martinez Quarta takes his eye off the ball carelessly and allows it to roll out for a Milan throw-in.
Rafael Leão
Goal
Milan
82' LEAO FINALLY BREAKS THE DEADLOCK! 1-0 MILAN! It’s a moment to forget for Terracciano, who mishits his kick out of the penalty area, presenting it to Leao on the left flank. The Portugal international slaloms his way back into the 18-yard box before curling an effort over the goalkeeper and in!
81' Against no other side in Serie A has Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored more goals than against Fiorentina (11 – also against Roma), while he also has 15 goal involvements against them, more than against any other side in the competition (4 assists also). Indeed, the only brace for the Swede in Serie A this season was in the reverse fixture against the Viola.
R. Sottil
R. Saponara
Fiorentina
81' Substitution Riccardo Saponara Riccardo Sottil
I. Bennacer
F. Kessié
Milan
79' Bennacer comes on for Kessie with 11 minutes to go in the game!
78' Saponara takes on Calabria and earns half a yard before firing a cross to the far post which flies harmlessly out of play.
76' WHAT A TREMENDOUS SAVE! HOW ON EARTH IS IT STILL LEVEL?! Biraghi whips a dangerous cross into the near post for Cabral, who rises above Kalulu and fires a header high into the top corner. Maignan flashes his reflexes with incredible skill, leaping to palm the ball up in the air before catching it while on his backside!
74' Pioli is cutting a frustrated figure on the touchline as time continues to tick on - with Fiorentina fending their opponents off relatively comfortably. There may be an opportunity late in the match to stretch Milan’s tired legs and hit on the counter, which could provide a chance to steal a result.
L. Martínez
Yellow Card
Fiorentina
72' Martinez Quarta kicks through Hernandez after the ball had already gone out of play for a throw-in. It’s a yellow card for the Fiorentina defender but because it had already gone out of touch the Rossoneri will have to restart with a throw and not a free-kick.
70' Tonali's cross is hit in search of Ibrahimovic but Cabral manages to clear it away first.
69' Amrabat goes through the back of Ibrahimovic, sending the imposing forward to the ground near the right corner-flag. It’s a free-kick for Milan in a good position to trouble Terracciano from a cross.
J. Ikoné
N. González
Fiorentina
67' Gonzalez is replaced by Ikone at the same time.
L. Torreira
A. Duncan
Fiorentina
67' Torreira comes on for Duncan in Fiorentina's second change of the game.
Z. Ibrahimović
O. Giroud
Milan
67' Pioli makes a change at striker with 23 minutes remaining as Giroud comes off for Ibrahimovic.
65' Milan have kept clean sheets in their last three home league games and have not reached four in a row in the competition since March 2019, when Gennaro Gattuso was in charge.
63' The Milan changes have certainly livened the side up a bit, however they are still struggling with a real lack of clinical finishing. A host of opportunities have ended with shots wide of the goal, with Rebic and Hernandez failing to capitalise on their ability to create space in tight areas.
61' Rebic drives into the penalty area after beating Martinez Quarta with a stepover and cuts down the byline before centring a pass to the penalty spot. The delivery takes a deflection on the way through however and bounces comfortably into the arms of Terracciano.
G. Bonaventura
Y. Maleh
Fiorentina
59' Maleh is brought off 57 minutes after his yellow card - with former Milan player Bonaventura sent on to replace him.
58' Fiorentina are enjoying a spell of possession, pinning all 11 Milan players back behind the ball as they circulate from right to left. It’s their first extended period on the ball in the second half, which should settle the Viola down after a number of chances conceded.
R. Krunić
Brahim Díaz
Milan
56' Diaz is brought off at the same time, with Milan sending Krunic on in his stead.
A. Rebić
Junior Messias
Milan
56' Messias hasn’t really involved himself in the match and he’ll be taken off just shy of the hour, with former Viola Rebic replacing him.
54' Hernandez gets into the penalty area after a lovely pass from Tonali but the full-back’s effort while sliding is sent high over the crossbar as Milan continue to search for a way past the Fiorentina goalkeeper.
52' Hernandez’s free-kick is punched away by Terracciano before Giroud manages to put the ball back into the danger area for Kessie, who had held his run. The midfielder opts to strike at goal from an acute angle and forces the shot-stopper into an effective save with his legs.
50' Kessie plays a lovely pass out to the left flank for Hernandez, who manages to control the ball and round Martinez Quarta before winning a free-kick for his side.
48' Milan once again conspire to waste a gilt-edged opportunity with Leao firing over the crossbar from six yards out after a well-worked passing triangle in the penalty area involving Diaz and Giroud gets the Portugal international in a bit of space.
46' Milan get the match restarted from the kick-off!
L. Martínez
L. Venuti
Fiorentina
46' A change at half-time sees the booked Venuti replaced by Martinez Quarta.
Milan will be forced to push forward and look for the opener as they search for the goal necessary to put pressure on title rivals Inter. The pace of play has been very positive from the Rossoneri, though Pioli’s side seem to be lacking a bit of quality with the final pass. Perhaps the guile of Bennacer or Rebic’s direct style could benefit the hosts, while Fiorentina have a host of attacking options to pick from to change the game: Ikone, Callejon, Piatek and Sottil - all of whom will force the Milan defence to defend differently.
An exciting and enthralling first half at San Siro comes to a close with both sides locked in a tight and tenacious 0-0 affair. The visitors started the better of the two sides, with the hosts evidently bearing the weight of a late title challenge ahead of Inter’s match later today. The Rossoneri eventually settled into the match thanks to a couple of key early saves from Maignan and even managed to find the back of the net through Hernandez - though an offside in the build-up wiped the goal away. The two teams combined for 12 strikes in the first half but the best opportunity of the lot went wide, with Igor’s shot from space narrowly missing the inside of the post.
45' + 2' HALF-TIME: MILAN 0-0 FIORENTINA.
45' The fourth official indicates one minute will be added at the end of the half for stoppages.
43' With less than 5 minutes left in the half it doesn’t appear as though either side will find a breakthrough, with both goalkeepers coming out firmly on top in the first half. Despite the number of chances created by both sides it’s been Terracciano and Maignan who have been the best performers at the San Siro so far.
L. Venuti
Yellow Card
Fiorentina
41' Venuti comes across and shoves Leao to the ground - stopping the forward in his tracks with cynicism. It’s a yellow card for the full-back and a free-kick to Milan late in the half.
39' Play is halted momentarily for both Messias and Biraghi, whose coming-together during an aerial duel left both players worse for wear. It’s been a fiercely contested match to this point, with every 50-50 challenge contested at a high level of intensity.
37' After a 4-3 win in the reverse fixture, Fiorentina could win both Serie A games against Milan in a single season for the first time since 2000-01 - 4-0 with Fatih Terim and 2-1 with Roberto Mancini.
35' Milan once again display their ability to break down the opposition defence, with Diaz’s fantastic turn getting him away from two markers 18 yards from goal. Instead of having a shot himself however the former Real Madrid and Manchester City midfielder looks to play Giroud through - allowing Terracciano to collect.
33' Hernandez steps forward to intercept Terracciano’s goal-kick out to Duncan - setting Milan away on an unexpected counter-attack. The full-back puts in a dangerous cross which is cleared but only as far as Kessie 25 yards from goal. The midfielder opts to hit the shot at the first time of asking but he sends it well wide.
31' A Milan counter-attack ends in disappointing fashion after Calabria sprints down the length of the right flank before centring a pass to the edge of the penalty area for Diaz. The creative midfielder is immediately closed down by three defenders - forcing him to shift it left once more for Leao but the eventual shot from the Portugal international is blocked by both Venuti and Milenkovic.
29' An early cross from Calabria, who had taken up a very deep position on the right wing, flies just over the head of the tracking Leao and into the awaiting arms of a grateful Terracciano.
27' Hernandez’s corner from the left is missed by both Giroud and Diaz before play is called to a halt for Cabral - who has gone down holding his head after attempting to guard the aforementioned France international striker.
25' Tonali give the ball away in midfield but Cabral is unable to link up with Saponara on the edge of the penalty area - giving Milan a chance to retake possession 20 yards from goal.
23' GREAT BLOCK! Saponara’s pass down the byline gets Maleh into a bit of space inside the penalty area with which to pick out a pass. The midfielder centres the ball for Duncan but his shot is blocked ruthlessly by a diving Tonali.
21' Saponara beats Calabria to the loose ball on the left wing and cuts inside before firing a shot that gives Maignan a bit of a problem - with the goalkeeper spilling the attempted catch before recollecting thanks to Kessie’s good defensive positioning.
19' Maleh finds himself in real trouble after the midfielder extends his arm and catches the neck of Tonali during an attempt to shield the ball. It’s a free-kick for Milan but the players are furious - demanding a second booking for the player who was shown a yellow card earlier. The referee disagrees and instructs the Rossoneri to restart play from the set-piece.
17' ANOTHER OPPORTUNITY WASTED! Kessie slips an inch-perfect pass between the Fiorentina centre-backs for the run of Giroud, who latches onto it before attempting a stylish chip over a sliding Terracciano. Much to Pioli’s dismay however, his side waste another opportunity with the France international striker sending his effort wide.
15' Tonali’s delivery finds Giroud inside the penalty area but the striker can only flail at it - giving Terracciano an easy save to make.
14' Diaz is brought down 30 yards from goal after a trailing leg from Igor catches the forward - giving Milan a chance to attack from a set-piece.
12' HERNANDEZ GOES WIDE! Leao charges towards the penalty area with pace and power before hitting a low pass into the penalty spot for Diaz. A delightful first-touch flick finds Hernandez near the byline but his acute-angle shot can only hit the side netting.
10' WHAT A CHANCE TO TAKE THE LEAD! Biraghi’s outswinging corner is a thing of beauty, finding Igor open on the edge of the penalty area. The defender takes the ball down well and lashes a half-volley that forces Maignan into a full-stretch dive. The shot flies millimetres wide of the goal - much to the relief of the Rossoneri.
8' Milan have done well to settle down after an early Fiorentina flurry - regaining possession and moving it quickly from right to left. The nerves will no doubt be a factor with Inter taking to the pitch less than an hour after this game concludes. The title is still very much in the balance - with both sides equally likely to hoist the trophy at the end of the campaign.
6' MILAN SCORE BUT IT WON’T COUNT! Messias gets into the penalty area and cuts it back for Diaz, whose initial shot is blocked. The ricochet falls to Hernandez, who hammers a right-footed effort high into the goal. The player wheels away to begin celebrating but the fourth official raises his flag immediately as Messias was unable to keep onside during the build-up.
4' There is an early sign of concern as Tomori takes a seat on the pitch, immediately taking off his shoe and indicating for a switch. At first it appeared as though the former Chelsea centre-back would be incapable of continuing after an injury but it’s just a change of boots needed by the Milan player - whose studs are evidently not the correct length to start the game.
Y. Maleh
Yellow Card
Fiorentina
2' The referee comes over to show Maleh an early yellow card for an aggressive and ill-advised block on Maignan’s quickly taken drop-kick.
1' Fiorentina get the match underway from the kick-off!
Fiorentina make seven changes to the line-up that lost 4-0 to Udinese last time out. The unavailability of Alvaro Odriozola leaves Venuti starting at right-back, while Igor takes Martinez Quarta’s place at centre-back. Two changes in midfield see Amrabat and Maleh replace Torreira and ex-Rossoneri Bonaventura respectively. The final two swaps are in attack where Arthur Cabral and another former Milan player - Saponara - get the nod ahead of Sottil and a third familiar face - Piatek.
Milan name an unchanged XI from the side that beat Lazio 2-1 one week ago. Maignan starts between the posts behind a back four of Hernandez, Tomori, Kalulu and Calabria. Tonali and Kessie sit in midfield ahead of the defence while Leao, Diaz and Messias will all be looking to supply main striker Giroud.
FIORENTINA SUBS: Bartlomiej Dragowski, Antonio Rosati, Lucas Martinez Quarta, Riccardo Sottil, Aleksa Terzic, Giacomo Bonaventura, Lucas Torreira, Matija Nastasic, Jonathan Ikone, Jose Callejon, Aleksandr Kokorin, Krzysztof Piatek.
FIORENTINA XI (4-3-3): Pietro Terracciano; Lorenzo Venuti, Nikola Milenkovic, Igor Julio, Cristiano Biraghi; Joseph Duncan, Sofyan Amrabat, Youssef Maleh; Nicolas Gonzalez, Arthur Cabral, Riccardo Saponara.
MILAN SUBS: Ciprian Tatarusanu, Ismael Bennacer, Fode Ballo-Toure, Samu Castillejo, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Ante Rebic, Alessio Romagnoli, Rade Krunic, Tiemoue Bakayoko, Mattia Gabbia, Alexis Saelemaekers, Antonio Mirante.
MILAN XI (4-2-3-1): Mike Maignan; Theo Hernandez, Fikayo Tomori, Pierre Kalulu, Davide Calabria; Franck Kessie, Sandro Tonali; Rafael Leao, Brahim Diaz, Junior Messias; Olivier Giroud.
With 15 minutes to go before kick-off, let’s take a look at how the two sides are lining up - starting with our hosts!
Fiorentina’s somewhat unexpected hammering at the hands of Udinese on Wednesday condemned the Viola to their third-successive defeat in all competitions; which has them in seventh place. Vicenzo Italiano’s side will need to arrest their poor run of form if they wish to finish the season strong and potentially nab a Europa League spot ahead of one of the two Rome clubs - with Roma two points above.
Inter’s dramatic loss to Bologna in midweek has put the title squarely in Milan’s hands with four fixtures remaining. The Rossoneri currently lead the table by two points over their city rivals - with 10 points out of a possible 12 enough to secure Stefano Pioli’s side a first Scudetto since 2011.
Hello and welcome to our LIVE commentary of the Serie A fixture between Milan and Fiorentina!