Verona vs. AC Milan: Winners and Losers from Serie a
AC Milan succumbed to an embarrassing 2-1 defeat away to Verona on Monday afternoon as their hopes of qualifying for Europe were thrown into doubt once again.
The Rossoneri put in a tired, ambivalent performance as they lost to a side who had previously won just three of 34 league games this season and had lost four of their last five.
Verona, who are rooted to the bottom of Serie A and set for relegation, worked hard and created more chances than their Europa League-chasing visitors, refusing to give up despite going 1-0 down.
Pierluigi Gollini spilled a long-range strike from Keisuke Honda into the path of Jeremy Menez, who tucked in to give Milan the lead on 21 minutes. Carlos Bacca also had a goal ruled out for offside, while the hosts squandered a couple of good opportunities.
While Verona were unable to match the away side for possession, they continued to look more threatening. This was especially the case as the match wore on and became more stretched.
Gianluigi Donnarumma made a number of important saves, but there was little he could do about the equaliser. Alessio Romagnoli handled the ball in the area to give away a penalty, which former Rossonero Giampaolo Pazzini converted.
With time running out, the match looked set for a draw, but Milan gave away a free-kick on the edge of the penalty area in the last minute. Luca Siligardi stepped up and curled in a wonderful shot to seal three deserved points for Verona.
Read on for Bleacher Report’s winners and losers from another disappointing Rossoneri result.
Winner: Gianluigi Donnarumma (Milan)
Donnarumma put in an excellent goalkeeping display against Verona, enabling his team-mates to avoid further humiliation. He was called into action early to deny Pazzini from close range on eight minutes and made several crucial stops throughout the game.
The 17-year-old was the only commanding presence in Milan’s leaky defence, rightfully earning WhoScored.com’s man-of-the-match award for his efforts. After the game, Gialloblu head coach Luigi Delneri commented on the youngster's performance, telling Premium Sport (h/t Football Italia): "We were much more aggressive, but we had more scoring chances and we were up against a great Donnarumma."
If the Rossoneri do hold on to a top-six finish this season, Donnarumma will no doubt prove vital to the club’s European qualification.
Loser: Pierluigi Gollini (Verona)
In contrast to Donnarumma, Verona goalkeeper Gollini looked shaky in his team’s win over Milan. The 21-year-old parried a fairly tame long-range effort from Honda into Menez’s path for the away team’s goal and made a similar error later in the game.
He undoubtedly has plenty of promise and could be a key member of the Gialloblu’s chances of returning to Serie A should they be relegated this season, but this was not one of his finer performances.
Winner: Luca Siligardi (Verona)
Siligardi threatened Milan throughout with his direct dribbling and dangerous, floated crosses both from open play and set pieces. The 28-year-old gave Verona a real attacking outlet down the left flank and rounded off a fine individual showing with a stunning last-minute free-kick to win the game.
All in all, he made three key passes, completed two dribbles and put in 14 crosses as he looked to break down the Rossoneri defence. For this, he earned a commendable 7.78 rating from WhoScored.
Loser: Alessio Romagnoli (Milan)
Deciding which Milan centre-back played worse against Verona is a difficult call. Both Cristian Zapata and Romagnoli were caught out time and time again as the home side created several one-on-one scoring opportunities. However, given the latter gave away the penalty for the equalising goal, it was difficult to ignore his showing.
According to Opta Paolo, "Milan faced 28 shots today, 12 of which were on target – both are negative records for the Rossoneri this term." A lot of that had to do with poor defending, for which Romagnoli was the worst offender.
Winner: Keisuke Honda (Milan)
Honda took advantage of an injury to Giacomo Bonaventura to reassert himself with a decent display as the trequartista in Milan’s diamond midfield. Cristian Brocchi has used this shape in all three games since he took charge of the Rossoneri, though he had ignored the Japanese playmaker up until Monday’s clash with Verona.
With four key passes and two dribbles, per WhoScored, Honda was Milan’s primary attacking threat and did not deserve to be on the losing side.