It was Hakan Çalhanoğlu who stepped up to convert the winning penalty for AC Milan against Torino just three days after their league meeting. This was after a dramatic one-hundred-and-twenty minutes, in which the Milan side must have felt hard done by to not have the win already secured.
The first half was a shaky affair, in which neither side managed to assert their dominance on the game. Torino keeper Vanja Milinkovic-Savic was almost punished for an early mistake, on the nineteen-minute mark he arguably took too long on the ball before trying to punt it long.
This would then hit Milan forward Rafael Leão in the arm, for which the referee blew the whistle before he had time to put the ball into the net.
A particularly soft decision, this would be the first ruling of referee Paolo Valeri to cause controversry, but was far from the last.
The first half would continue to be one of limited chances, with Zlatan Ibrahimovic, in particular, looking off the pace.
His one clear-cut opportunity falling in the twenty-ninth minute which he ultimately would send rocketing over the bar.
By this point, the theme of the game was abundantly clear, with a series of fouls resulting in the first yellow cards of the game, as Tomas Rincon and Karol Linetty found themselves in the referee’s book.
Torino would go on to test AC Milan keeper Tatarusanu, as he did well to parry a curled Simone Zaza from nestling into the bottom corner.
If the first half was one of limited chances, the second was the complete opposite with Milan taking the game to Torino.
Racking up an impressive thirteen shots on goal in the second half, with seven of these being on target.
It was clear that Serie A league leaders had no interest in allowing the game to go the distance. Full credit for this change in attitude has to go to AC’s manager Stefano Pioli.
Taking full advantage of the increased number of subs now allowed to him, he made four changes by the sixty-third minute.
Even with this impressive shift in attitude the Milan unit was unable to secure a goal, this is despite having not one but two legitimate penalty appeals waved away.
The first just five minutes into the second half, as the ball seemed to hit a Torino players hand on two different occasions. The second would prove to be far more controversial, as after a poor touch Milinkovic-Savic would seemingly pull Leao down in the box.
What seemed a definite penalty was not given, this was despite VAR being in use. An incensed AC Milan bench would rise up and confront the officials on the sideline, resulting in a red card to usual Milan shot-stopper Gianluigi Donnarumma.
The game was all but guaranteed to end up in extra time, as Brahim Diaz would waste a huge chance in the dying embers.
Extra time became a somewhat sloppy affair, tiredness had clearly set in on both sides as both seemed to be running on empty.
AC were still the aggressors, but there was still some fight left in the Torino side. Most of this was stemming from club captain Andrea Belotti, the striker subbed on specifically for extra-time did well in his limited minutes.
When Milan had yet another penalty shout ignored for another handball this game seemed destined to remain a draw.
The resulting commotion of this seemed to result in a series of cards. Kessie and Lyancao were both booked shortly thereafter, alongside this a member of Torino’s staff was shown a red.
With the pace at an all-time low, the final minutes of extra-time were lethargic as penalties loomed.
- Belotti scores for Torino placing the ball into the bottom-right. Torino 1-0 Milan
- Kessie cooly rolls the ball into the bottom-left. Torino 1-1 Milan
- Lukic goes for the same corner as Belotti and finds the net. Torino 2-1 Milan
- Hernandez emphatically smashes the ball into the bottom-right. Torino 2-2 Milan
- Lyanco finds the net, even with a touch from Milan keeper Tatarusanu restoring their lead. Torino 3-2 Milan
- Tonali brilliantly puts the ball into the top-left corner. Beyond keeper Milinovic-Savic who dives the same way. Torino 3-3 Milan
- Rincon’s penalty is saved! It’s at a comfortable height for Tatrusanu who easily gets across. Torino 3-3 Milan
- Birthday boy Romagnoli hits the ball low with some fury, giving Milan the advantage. Torino 3-4 Milan
- It’s keeper Milinkovic-Savic who steps up. Delivering the best penalty so far, he puts it high into the net. No saving that one and keeps Torino in the game. Torino 4-4 Milan
- Milan win! Çalhanoğlu swagger up and sends Milinkovic-Savic the wrong way. A really classy penalty to win the game.
Milan now find themselves eagerly awaiting the draw for their next opponent in the Coppa Italia. However, both sides have to focus on the league as Torino look to climb out of the relegation zones. Milan meanwhile will face Cagliari next as they chase their first league title in ten years.
Why not follow our socials? Find us on Instagram and Twitter @WDSportz_