Three takeaways from Napoli 2-2 AC Milan: Giroud gives Rossoneri hope, Politano atones for early miss

In this exciting Serie A Matchday 10 encounter, Olivier Giroud scored twice for AC Milan, but the brilliance of Matteo Politano and Giacomo Raspadori ensured that Napoli would earn a point.

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Napoli had to come back from 2-0 down after the break to secure a draw against AC Milan on Serie A Matchday 10 at the Stadio Diego Armando Maradona.

The evergreen Olivier Giroud scored both Rossoneri goals in an eight-minute spell, but the Partenopei turned it around in the second half thanks to some fantastic goals from Matteo Politano and Giacomo Raspadori.

Both sides will probably feel like they have lost two points each, but the forwards on the night ensured that neither side was walking away with nothing as the two sides look to stay in the Champions League spots.

Giroud demonstrates his ability to score in big games

Giroud had scored in the opening three rounds of the 2023/24 Serie A season, finding the back of the net four times, only to go scoreless in the next five. Trips to Naples are often decisive fixtures and the Frenchman regained his form against Napoli.

He had a great chance to open the scoring just two minutes into the match, but Partenopei defender Amir Rrahmani made the decisive block. Then, in the 23rd minute, Christian Pulisic supplied a cross from the right wing, and the 37-year-old scored the first goal with a header, albeit with some help from Alex Meret, who had difficulty parrying the ball away.

Giroud got his and Milan’s second after 31 minutes when Davide Calabria crossed from the right flank and beat Meret with another header. He was replaced by Luka Jovic after 81 minutes, much to his dismay.

AC Milan are third in the table now, and they need their evergreen striker to keep scoring if they are to sustain a title challenge.

Olivier Giroud celebrates scoring for AC Milan. (Photo: AC Milan)

Politano redeems himself in style

In the early stages of this season, Politano has emerged as one of Napoli’s best formers. He was seen as an unsung hero when the Partenopei won the scudetto last season, especially in the shadow of Khvicha Kvaratskhelia and Victor Osimhen, but his direct involvement in the goals has improved in 2023/24.

When AC Milan were leading by a goal, he missed a great chance to score at the back post. Although there was a bit of an angle, the 30-year-old was in very close range and there was enough space to squeeze the ball in.

That miss makes his goal more remarkable. Five minutes into the second half, he exchanged passes with Giovanni Di Lorenzo, who eventually produced a deft lob into Politano’s path. The winger then performed a sombrero over a Rossoneri defender, ran around another one, and beat Mike Maignan in the Diavolo goal with a powerful low shot with his left foot.

Politano now has five goals for the Serie A campaign with three of them coming in the last four matches. Considering that Kvaratskhelia is no longer the unknown quantity and will draw more opponents, the Italian winger scoring goals is a welcome bonus for Napoli.

Napoli striker Giacomo Rasapdori takes a free-kick. (@sscnapoli _br)

Raspadori displays more of his class in the absence of Osimhen

It is clear that Raspadori and Osimhen are two different forwards. The Nigerian is an imposing physical figure that is dangerous in the air and on the ground, whereas the diminutive Italian is definitely more effective when the ball is at his feet.

However, Raspadori is stepping up in the absence of the Nigerian striker. In the victory against Hellas Verona on Serie A Matchday 9, his presence in the middle allowed Politano and Kvaratskhelia to cut in and get into scoring positions. In Napoli’s last two matches, he has found the back of the net in different ways.

If his winner against Union Berlin in the Champions League was a simple finish, this time he showed his brilliance with a stunning free-kick to equalise against AC Milan. The wall seemed well placed and Maignan was not poorly positioned as such, but the Partenopei forward produced a free-kick that possessed plenty of power and swerve, giving the Rossoneri goalkeeper little hope of saving it.

He has two goals from three competitive games since the return of club football after the international break, and whether it is due to his link-up play or scoring touch, he is slowly becoming a fine deputy for Osimhen.

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