Three takeaways from AC Milan 2-1 Paris Saint-Germain: Inspirational Leao reignites Champions League hopes, Loftus-Cheek dynamic in midfield

Rafael Leao starred for AC Milan in their victory against Paris Saint-Germain, but Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Davide Calabria were among the unsung heroes in their Champions League Matchday 4 encounter.

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AC Milan trailed early against Paris Saint-Germain, but they were able to come back and win 2-1 in their Champions League Matchday 4 encounter on Tuesday evening.

After former Inter centre-back Milan Skriniar gave the Parisians the lead after nine minutes with a header, Rafael Leao produced a splendid bicycle kick to equalise three minutes later and Olivier Giroud‘s header in the 50th minute was enough to secure the victory.

Aside from the goalscorers, there many other heroic performers for the Rossoneri, such as Ruben Loftus-Cheek, who was excellent in midfield, and Davide Calabria, who was tasked with nullifying the attacking threat of French superstar Kylian Mbappe.

Leao rediscovers form at a crucial time for AC Milan

Prior to this match, Leao had been out of form, failing to score or supply an assist for AC Milan in his last six matches in all competitions. His performances gave the impression that he was lackadaisical in his approach and he was totally ineffective.

With the Rossoneri at risk of being eliminated from the Champions League, the 24-year-old found the right time to lift his team and inspire them to victory. In the 12th minute, he found Giroud, who had a shot saved by Paris Saint-Germain goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma. Before the ball could drop from the air, Leao turned around and executed a superb bicycle kick.

Often criticised for his inability to track back, especially by AC Milan legend Arrigo Sacchi, the Portuguese winger was dropping back against PSG to receive the ball and start counter-attacks. Even when it seemed that his touches on the ball were heavy, he was able to beat his opponents for pace and surge forward.

Although Giroud scored the winning goal and had a fine game on his part, Leao brings much-needed flair and creativity for Il Diavolo. When the Portugal Men’s National Team player is on song, then AC Milan should be feared.

Rafael Leao pulls off an overhead kick in the Champions League for AC Milan. [@acmilan]

Loftus-Cheek offers energy and skill for AC Milan midfield

Arriving from Chelsea for a reported transfer fee of €18.4 million, Ruben Loftus-Cheek has been a worthy addition to the AC Milan midfield with his energetic running and effective ball use.

The 27-year-old probably should have scored a goal or two against Paris Saint-Germain, but he did many other great things in the game. He was great at bringing the ball out of his own half and make the Rossoneri attacks progress in that manner. This will illustrated in his four out of five successful dribbles and in winning eight out of 10 duels. He was also fouled three times, more than any other player.

Loftus-Cheek has showed that he can adapt to the tactical approach of Italian football and his ability to help AC Milan in both facets of the game was important in this Champions League fixture.

PSG’s Warren Zaire-Emery and AC Milan’s Ruben Loftus-Cheek in the Champions League. [@acmilan]

Calabria brings Mbappe to a halt

A maligned player at times, Davide Calabria usually provides a solid performance at right-back, but he can be criticised for making the occasional error or not providing enough width like a modern full-back. The AC Milan captain had to face one of the best players in the world in Kylian Mbappe and he demonstrated that he was able to thwart the French forward.

Whether it was by cutting off the supply to the 24-year-old or blocking areas for him to run into, Calabria ensured that Mbappe did not pose a serious threat to Mike Maignan in the Rossoneri goal. In the moments when he was beaten, he still had his teammates to help limit the space for the PSG star.

When the Italian giants created overloads on the right flank, the full-back was able to join offensively, and he created three chances. The 26-year-old might not receive as many plaudits as other teammates, but the AC Milan showed that he was not going to be intimidated by one of the best players in the world.

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