Despite Milan seeking redemption after their previous outing at the Stamford Bridge, the Rossonerri fell short yet again as Chelsea secured a 2-0 victory over the Milanese club at the San Siro in match-week four of the Champions League.
As per Milan’s starting lineup, Theo Hernandez returned into the starting eleven in the place of Fode Toure. In addition, Matteo Gabbia was selected for the centre-back role alongside Fikayo Tomori, which pushed Pierre Kalulu out-wide as a full-back over Sergino Dest
Furthermore, Rade Krunic stepped into the attacking-midfield rule following Charles De Ketelaere’s injury, while Brahim Diaz breaks into the starting eleven out-wide following his brilliant display against Juventus.
Meanwhile for the London Blues, All remained the same from their lineup within their 3-0 victory at the San Siro except for Trevoh Chalobah stepping into the back-three in exchange for Wesley Fofana, who was ruled out of the fixture due to injury, and Jorginho who started in the central area of the pitch over Ruben Loftus-Cheek.
In the opening minutes of the fixture, it was Chelsea who dominated the majority of the possession. However, Milan did a really great job defensively remaining compact and coping with the pace of Mason Mount and Raheem Sterling out-wide.
Flares began to burst as the fixture continued to progress as both sides became less patient and pushed forward towards goal, trying to seal an opener through the break of a counter attack. However, both sides did very well defensively in order to stop each others build-ups.
In the 18th minute of play, it was Potter’s side that found the initial opening within Milan’s defensive shape as full-back Reece James sliced a brilliant through ball in between the lines to Mason Mount.
The English attacking midfielder burst with pace into the box towards goal past Milan defender Fikayo Tomori. The Rossonerri defender was involved with an altercation which involved an extremely light affair of tug-of-war, leading to Mason Mount falling after his heavy first touch which was easily diffused by Milan’s shot-stopper.
Despite the minimal contact, The 24 year-old was handed a red card and Chelsea were given a golden opportunity to break the deadlock with a penalty shot. As a result, the Italian midfielder Jorginho stepped up to the spot and cushioned the ball into the left low-corner to hand the Premier League giants the lead.
Although Milan were a man down, Pioli’s side showed no signs of facing defeat without a fight as Il Diavolo responded to the goal conceded with a quick counter from Hernandez, who managed to find the Spanish winger Diaz out-wide. The Spaniard delivered a brilliant cross to the veteran striker Olivier Giroud, but his well-connected header fired narrowly wide of goal and inaccurate in height.
However, Milan were unable to hold off the one-goal difference while being a man down throughout the remainder of the half as Mount and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang performed an eye-catching one-two combination that caught Milan off guard and created space for the Chelsea men in front of goal. The 33 year-old talisman remained cool and composed as he cushioned the ball past Ciprian Tatarusanu to double Chelsea’s advantage going into the second half.
Within the second half, Milan commenced extremely lively as the newly added substitute Sergino Dest distributed a well-weighted pass to find Sandro Tonali along the flanks. The holding midfielder distributed a low-driven cross towards the center of the box, but Kepa managed to stick his foot out in order to intercept the dangerous opportunity.
Shortly after, Rafael Leao slithered through the Chelsea defence with his fined-tuned dribbling and burst with pace out-wide in order to launch the ball into the box to find Desti in a goal-scoring area. The American full-back did well to bring the ball down, but his strike went over the bar for a goal-kick.
Despite Chelsea dominating the possession and finding several opportunities to obtain a third goal from Conor Gallagher’s skip around the keeper and Ben Chillwell’s cross in-behind, the Rossonerri were fierce defensively as pressed high only when necessary and won the ball back within their defensive zone from solid challenges.
In the end, Milan were unable to cut their disadvantage in half, resulting in a 2-0 defeat against the Premier League giants. Despite Pioli bringing on Divock Origi and Fode Toure in exchange for the Portuguese winger Leao and Hernandez in order to shift the tide, the Rossonerri were incapable of finding the back of the net within the final third of the pitch.
As it stands, Chelsea have seized first within Group E with a total of seven points. Meanwhile, Milan have dropped into third place as they possess a total of four points, only one point behind second-placed Red Bull Salzburg.