A Theo Hernandez penalty late in the first half was enough to give AC Milan a 1-0 victory against Fiorentina, despite a late surge from the Gigliati on Serie A Matchday 13.
The Rossoneri were able to secure the victory without key forwards Rafael Leao and
Olivier Giroud, but it was clear that their unavailability impacted on how the team attacked. Their absence also allowed Francesco Camarda to become the youngest debutant in Serie A history.
Meanwhile, Fiorentina struggled against another strong opponent in a domestic match. After being smashed 4-0 by Inter early in the season, and suffering defeats by the one goal to Lazio, Juventus, and now AC Milan, the Gigliati showed that they struggle against any team that sits back and defends against them.
Absences of Giroud and Leao telling for Milan attack
With Giroud suspended and Leao sidelined due to a thigh injury, AC Milan coach Stefano Pioli started with an attacking trident consisting of Samuel Chukwueze, Luka Jovic, and Christian Pulisic, but the trio failed to make a significant impact on the game.
Pulisic was played out of position and it was clear that playing on the left wing was not the best way to utilise his characteristics. Pioli decided to take him off after 61 minutes and replace the American with box-to-box midfielder Ruben Loftus-Cheek. Chukwueze remained on the pitch for the whole game, but was first for the most duels lost with 13, and Jovic squandered an easy chance to score before being replaced by 15-year-old Camarda.
Perhaps this was the best time to give this trident a test before the crucial Champions League match against Borussia Dortmund on Tuesday evening. If anything, it further proved that Giroud’s experience and aerial threat as well as the flair of Leao are key component’s of Pioli’s Milan.
Camarda makes Serie A history as youngest debutant ever
Francesco Camarda has been one of the revelations for the AC Milan Primavera, scoring seven goals in 13 competitive matches, and due to the absences of Giroud and the injured Noah Okofor, Pioli decided to select the promising centre-forward.
The young striker replaced Jovic after 83 minutes, and he made his Serie A debut at the age of 15 years and 260 days, beating the record of Bologna defender Wisdom Amey by 14 days.
He was not able to make much of an impact because Rossoneri were predominantly defending in the latter stages of the game. However, nothing can take away from his historical achievement.
Fiorentina cannot break down packed defences
Under coach Vincenzo Italiano, Fiorentina have become one of Italy’s most entertaining sides in recent years, and they have been able to qualify for the Europa Conference League twice. However, the Gigliati have demonstrated an inability to break down teams that defend in deep blocks.
The Viola had 58% of possession against AC Milan, had an xG of 2.00, and took 21 shots to nine, but only four of them had hit the target. It must be said that Mike Maignan had a fine game in goal for the Rossoneri, making some vital saves, including one from Fiorentina substitute Rolando Mandragora from point-blank range in the dying minutes of the match.
In previous Serie A matches, the Gigliati showed that they could not play their game against Lazio and Juventus, two teams that defend from deep, especially the latter. It was no different against AC Milan and Italiano needs to change something in his philosophy for the Tuscans to dismantle tight defences.