Despite facing a formidable challenge in phases, Milan blew away Dinamo Zagreb as a 3-1 victory ensured all three points for the men in red and black.
After dropping two points against Red Bull Salzburg, Milan need to pocket a win. But Dinamo Zagreb, who had an astonishing victory against Chelsea on the opening matchday, started the game on the front foot. Small and tidy passes between the lines were making them look like a team full of confidence.
But just before the halftime whistle, the visitors encountered a setback, giving the Rossoneri a golden chance to open the scoring in the shape of a penalty. Although Rafael Leão was the man to earn the foul for Stefano Pioli’s side, Olivier Giroud emerged on the scene to take the spot kick. And subsequently, he buried it, giving the home side some breathing space just before the halftime whistle.
In the opening minutes of the second half, Milan struck again, this time via Alexis Saelemaekers. A towering header from the Belgian rattled the nets at the away end, putting the hosts on a two-goal advantage. Despite conceding two, the Croatian side continues to be brave with their passing.
The scorer of the decisive goal against Chelsea last week, Mislav Oršic brought one back for Zagreb, with an eye-catch passing sequence between Petković and Oršic taking the Rossoneri defence out of the action.
Theo Hernandez, unmarked, made a galloping dart down the left and got enough time to find Tommaso Pobega, who was awaiting an opportunity. Upon receiving the ball, the former Torino man fired it home, almost putting the game to bed. Here are the player ratings from Milan’s first win in the Champions League 2022/23 season.
Milan: Maignan (6.5); Calabria (6), Kalulu (6), Tomori (6.5), Theo Hernandez (7); Tonali (6), Bennacer (6.5); Saelemaekers (7.5), Brahim (7.5), Leao (8); Giroud (6.5).
Substitutes: Pobega (7), De Ketelaere (6.5), Messias (N/A), Krunic (N/A), Dest (N/A).
Dinamo Zagreb: Livakovic (5); Moharrami (7), Ristovski (6), Sutalo (6), Peric (6.5), Ljubicic (5.5); Ademi (6), Ivanusec (6), Misic (6); Orsic (7), Petkovic (7.5).
Substitutes: Špikić (6), Drmic (6), Baturina (N/A), Marin (N/A).
GIFN | Jyotirmoy Halder