Milan 1, Empoli 0: In Control

Despite having played a difficult Europa League match less than 72 hours ahead of this match, Milan showed up and never really left any doubt with their performance in their 1-0 win over Empoli, even missing key players and facing a team desperate for points. With Leão and Florenzi suspended, and Pioli giving some rest to players like Giroud, Adli, and Kjaer, for once, there was intensity and focus for much of the match, only allowing Empoli two shots on target the entire match. For a match with such quick turnaround after the home match vs. Slavia Praha, for once, this Milan were in control.

United in purpose.

For the entire first half, Milan were on the offensive, peppering Caprile's goal with shots. Jović had the first shot, then it was largely Pulisic and especially Okafor who were intent on scoring, but Caprile and his team were able to stop them. Things got a little testy, resulting in a couple of yellow cards, including one for Reijnders in the 26th minute for a foul on Cambiaghi. 

Getting three players sent off in a week, and scoring the winning goal. Pulisic is on fire.

But it was in the 40th minute that the deadlock was broken with a through ball from Bennacer, a cross from Okafor, and Pulisic to slot it home. However, the linesman put his flag up for offside, so no one celebrated. Sacchi, the referee, awaited a VAR review from Abisso, and eventually, the goal was given. 1-0 Milan. It turns out that Okafor was kept onside by the margin of the sleeve sponsor of the Empoli player. Thank goodness for corporate greed. 

Okafor was on a mission to win, and he got the assist.

Unfortunately, Empoli lost Ismajli to injury, and he was subbed off in the 42nd minute. The second half started out relatively similarly, although Calabria suffered a possible knee injury in the 53rd minute that was worrying. Ten minutes later, Pioli began the substitutions by bringing on Kalulu, Musah, and Chukwueze for Tomori, Reijnders, and Pulisic respectively. Ten minutes later, he replaced Jović with Giroud, clearly looking for a second goal, even if it never came.

Great to have Tomori back. in the starting 11.

That did not stop Milan from trying, even if they kept sending their attempts over. Empoli's best chance was a Destro header in the 83rd minute that struck the post, but he has not been able to score at the San Siro against Milan since he was not able to score for Milan at the San Siro. He also forced a save out of Maignan a few minutes later. Pioli brought Adli on for Okafor in the 90th minute to ensure that we did not concede in stoppage time. And Chukwueze had his best chance in the 94th minute with a great shot on target that Caprile somehow saved. 

Our defense looking more familiar again, and a clean sheet, too.

Despite only scoring one goal, Milan got the three points. But more importantly, they got a clean sheet, something they desperately needed for confidence. And they did it without Leão, and even without Giroud on the pitch for most of the match. Even with tired legs and a track record of dropping mentality or making errors at times like this, the team was united, focused, and demonstrated a refreshing intensity. After struggling last Thursday, and facing an important knockout match this coming Thursday, it was great to see the guys completely in control.

This post inspired by the music of Muse's "Feeling Good"

UEFA Youth League 
AC Milan Primavera vs. Atalanta
Wednesday, March 13, 2024 • 16:00 CET (11am EDT*)
*note the time difference due to Daylight Savings Time in the U.S.
This match will be shown on and the official Milan App

Our next match is 
SK Slavia Praha vs. AC Milan
Thursday, March 14 • 18:45 CET (1:45pm EDT*)
*note the time difference due to Daylight Savings Time in the U.S.

Milan 1, Empoli 0: In Control Milan 1, Empoli 0: In Control Reviewed by Elaine on 7:16 PM Rating: 5
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