Player ratings as Tomori & Diaz fire the Rossoneri into third

Milan cruised towards a comfortable 2-0 victory at home to Juventus in Serie A on Saturday night.

The Rossoneri’s manager Stefano Pioli – who was an Inter fan growing up and a former Juve player – valued the high-stakes encounter as a game “worth more than three points”.

His current employers were worthy recipients of all the spoils, surviving an early burst of pressure before goals from Fikayo Tomori and Brahim Diaz either side of half-time sent Milan third.

Juventus started quicker, firing off a flurry of efforts in the opening exchanges as the Bianconeri sat deep, waiting to strike in transition. However, Juve scarcely threatened thereafter.

Milan’s live wire Rafael Leao chipped away at the paintwork of Juve’s goal, striking both posts as the hosts grew into the contest.

The Serie A champions hadn’t scored a single set-piece goal coming into the weekend but threatened from every corner tossed into the box in the first half. Juve’s resolve lasted until stoppage time when Olivier Giroud thundered a volley towards goal. Tomori blocked his teammate’s effort but pivoted with a swiftness Ross Geller would admire to thunder in the opening goal.

In search of their first away win of the season, Juventus were forced to commit more bodies forward after the break. This only exposed cracks within the Bianconeri which Diaz wriggled through nine minutes after the break. Collecting Dusan Vlahovic’s misplaced pass in his own half, Diaz scurried forward, scuttling around the half-hearted attempts to halt his progress before firing the ball beyond Wojciech Szczesny.

Massimiliano Allegri immediately rejigged his midfield which was quickly afforded plenty of possession by their canny hosts. With a two-goal advantage to sit on, Pioli took off the impressive but static Giroud, setting his side up to sit back before bursting forward on the break.

Milan couldn’t add to their lead, settling for a classic risultato all’inglese (a 2-0 win with a goal in each half) fitting sparked by a strike from an England international.

Fikayo Tomori

Fikayo Tomori scored his first Serie A goal since finding the net against Juventus in May 2021 / Marco Luzzani/GettyImages

GK: Ciprian Tatarusanu – 5/10 – Spared any testing saves by Juve’s lacklustre finishing.

RB: Pierre Kalulu – 6/10 – Tucking infield to form a back-three when Milan have possession, affording freedom for his opposite full back.

CB: Matteo Gabbia – 7/10 – On his first Serie A start of the season, Gabbia didn’t look out of place on this stage.

CB: Fikayo Tomori – 8/10 – Couldn’t react quickly enough to get out of the way of Giroud’s effort but was razor-sharp on the spin to put Milan ahead.

LB: Theo Hernandez – 7/10 – Milan’s skipper pushed outrageously high up the pitch, drawing focus going forward to give Milan much more dynamism than they demonstrated in the Champions League against Chelsea.

CM: Sandro Tonali – 8/10 – Dropping deep to start Milan’s buildup in his own half but just as capable of closing down the black and white stripes on the other side of halfway.

CM: Ismael Bennacer – 7/10 – Played through discomfort in his shoulder from a first-half injury which impinged on his mobility but none of his influence.

CM: Tommaso Pobega – 5/10 – The most advanced of Milan’s midfielders was a little rushed with his passing.

RW: Brahim Diaz – 7/10 – Isolated for so much of the first half, Diaz fittingly scored his goal after doing all the work himself.

ST: Olivier Giroud – 7/10 – Revelling in his role as facilitator supreme, popping off a raft of one-touch flicks and passes to dovetail with Leao in particular.

LW: Rafael Leao – 6/10 – As ever, the surfing enthusiast was a recurring threat going forward but couldn’t quite find a personal breakthrough.

SUB: Rade Krunic (59′ for Pobega) – 5/10

SUB: Ante Rebic (64′ for Giroud) – 5/10

SUB: Charles De Ketelaere (65′ for Diaz) – 5/10

SUB: Aster Vranckx (84′ for Bennacer) – N/A

SUB: Divock Origi (84′ for Leao) – N/A

Manager: Stefano Pioli – 7/10 – His side certainly adhered to his demands to “raise the bar” after their midweek disappointment, adjusting the approach cleverly during the contest.

Manuel Locatelli, Sandro Tonali

Manuel Locatelli rose through Milan’s academy into the first team / Jonathan Moscrop/GettyImages

GK: Wojciech Szczesny – 4/10 – Couldn’t be expected to do anything against Tomori’s effort from such close range but sunk to the turf too quickly when Diaz charged towards him.

RB: Danilo – 6/10 – Failed to quell the bubbling threat of Leao at one end but posed a threat when he crept forward.

CB: Gleison Bremer – 5/10 – Kept it simple and safe with the ball at his feet.

CB: Leonardo Bonucci – 4/10 – Took an almighty whack to the face in the first half but practically stepped out of Diaz’s way, ushering the forward into the box.

LB: Alex Sandro – 4/10 – Offered little threat going forward but was caught out of position for Milan’s second.

RM: Juan Cuadrado – 5/10 – Engaged in a spiky head-to-head with Hernandez which rumbled throughout the first half before he was replaced during the interval while on a yellow card.

CM: Manuel Locatelli – 4/10 – Endured an uncomfortable return to the club that nurtured him into a senior player.

CM: Adrien Rabiot – 5/10 – Much like Juve as a whole – started the match brightly before fading.

LM: Filip Kostic – 4/10 – Scarcely involved before getting the hook inside an hour.

ST: Dusan Vlahovic – 2/10 – The closest he came to impacting the scoreline was sparking the breakaway which Diaz converted.

ST: Arkadiusz Milik – 6/10 – Produced a display dripping in effort and lacking end product.

SUB: Weston McKennie (46′ for Cuadrado) – 5/10 – Failed to force his way into the contest, skirting around the fringes.

SUB: Fabio Miretti (56′ for Kostic) – 5/10

SUB: Leandro Paredes (56′ for Locatelli) – 5/10

SUB: Moise Kean (78′ for Vlahovic) – N/A

SUB: Matias Soule (79′ for Rabiot) – N/A

Manager: Massimiliano Allegri – 3/10 – The former Rossoneri manager insisted pre-match: “Milan-Juve is always beautiful to play.” It can’t have made for pleasant viewing from Allegri’s vantage point – especially as his numerous alterations failed to provide any positive impact.

Player of the Match – Fikayo Tomori

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