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.
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.
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
Poland vs Argentina: Confirmed lineups
France, who have already secured a spot in the last 16 of the World Cup 2022, play Tunisia on Wednesday in their final Group D matchup.
In the meantime, the African nation is last in the standings and must defeat the current champions to advance to the knockout stages.
Poland XI (4-4-1-1): Szczesny; Bereszynski, Glik, Kiwior, Cash; Frankowski, Bielik, Krychowiak, Zielinski; Swiderski; Lewandowski
Argentina XI (4-3-3): Martínez; Molina, Romero, Otamendi, Acuña; De Paul, Enzo Fernández, Mac Allister; Messi, Álvarez, Di María
Mauricio Pochettino discusses next managerial job
Ex-Tottenham Hotspur and Paris Saint-Germain manager Mauricio Pochettino has admitted he’d be open to taking a national team job.
Pochettino has been without a job since being sacked by PSG in the summer, despite winning his first silverware as a coach at the club – lifting the Ligue 1 and the Coupe de France.
The former PSG boss has been linked with a number of clubs since then, but speaking to Sky Sports, Poch insisted that he is also open to a move into international management, stating: “It wasn’t under my consideration to go [into international management] but now, yes I am open. Why not?
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“Yes, of course we are still young, full of energy, and day-by-day I like the adrenaline to train, to be involved. Maybe the national team is a different job, but why not? If it’s not the next job, then maybe in the future. It’s not specific that all I want is Argentina. If another country, why not? For sure, that would be good also.”
Pochettino also took the time to discuss England’s World Cup credentials, stating that he sees them as one of the favourites to win the tournament in Qatar.
“England have the quality to be one of the teams with an opportunity to win the World Cup,” he said. “I saw a very good performance against Wales, and I believe the quality is there. It’s all about believing and performing in a way which can grant you the possibility to be there.
“But I really, really believe this year England can fight to try to lift the World Cup. [Gareth] Southgate is doing a fantastic job. He was a little bit unlucky in the final of the Euros against Italy, but he’s doing a fantastic job and deserves a lot of credit.”
Player ratings as Eagles of Carthage knocked out of World Cup despite shock win
Tunisia stunned France with a shock 1-0 win, but their hopes of reaching the last 16 of the World Cup were ended by Australia’s own unlikely victory against Denmark elsewhere in Group D.
The Eagles of Carthage fought tooth and nail to keep their hopes of advancing alive and put in a solid display against the rotated reigning champions, but their 2022 journey has come to an end at the benefit of the Socceroos.
Tunisia thought they took an eighth-minute lead when a Wahbi Khazri free-kick was flicked on and in by Nader Ghandri, but the linesman had his flag raised for a marginal offside and the goal was chalked off.
France looked very disjointed after making so many changes, though created a decent chance on the break with Youssouf Fofana slipping through Kingsley Coman, but his first touch took him away from goal and his off-balance strike sailed wide.
Steve Mandanda was forced into a save when Aissa Laidouni’s second-time cross was nodded on by Anis Ben Slimane, before Eduardo Camavinga – filling in at left-back – had to retreat and prevent a similarly deep ball from reaching the free Nader Ghandri.
Just after the break, Laidouni robbed Fofana of possession in his own box and curled one narrowly over the top of Mandanda’s crossbar as Tunisia went closer to finding a crucial opener.
And Tunisia took a deserved lead when Fofana lost possession too easily again, and Laidouni found Khazri to weave his way past the French backline and poke a shot past the flailing Mandanda.
With the clock running down, France finally showed signs of life with substitute Kylian Mbappe forcing a save from Aymen Dahmen and Randal Kolo Muani blasting wide at the end of Les Bleus’ only real sweeping move of the afternoon.
Tunisia nearly clung on through eight minutes of stoppage time before Antoine Griezmann’s deflected volley found the back of Dahmen’s net with essentially the last kick of the game, only for it to be ruled out by a lengthy VAR check.
However, Australia’s win had already been confirmed by this point and the Eagles of Carthage’s fate was already sealed.
GK: Aymen Dahmen – 5/10 – Didn’t inspire a lot of confidence but France barely attacked so it hardly mattered.
CB: Yassine Meriah – 7/10 – Got forward down the wing to support Kechidra. Helped by the fact France played without wingers.
CB: Nader Ghandri – 7/10 – Got his head on most high balls and defended with authority.
CB: Montassar Talbi – 7/10 – Just as Meriah did down the right, Talbi was of great use down Tunisia’s left.
RM: Wajdi Kechidra – 7/10 – Gave Camavinga plenty of problems in tandem with Ben Slimane.
CM: Ellyes Skhiri – 8/10 – After a poor showing against Australia, Skhiri came roaring back with a monster midfield performance.
CM: Aissa Laidouni – 8/10 – Took control of the midfield battle and teed up Tunisia’s opener.
LM: Ali Maaloul – 6/10 – Found it hard at times to get by Disasi but worked hard for the cause.
RF: Anis Ben Slimane – 6/10 – Brought a good mix of work ethic and quality in possession.
LF: Mohamed Ali Ben Romdhane – 6/10 – Similarly covered every blade of grass down his flank.
CF: Wahbi Khazri – 9/10 – Gave France all sorts of problems in his hour on the pitch, eventually scoring the opening goal.
SUB: Issam Jebali (60′ for Khazri) – 5/10
SUB: Ghaylen Chaaleli (74′ for Ben Romdhane) – 5/10
SUB: Ali Abdi (84′ for Ben Slimane) – N/A
Manager: Jalel Kadri – 7/10 – Tunisia produced an authoritative performance despite the obvious gap in quality.
GK: Steve Mandanda – 4/10 – Looked every bit of his 37 years of age, slow to react to danger and made a hash of saves.
RB: Axel Disasi – 5/10 – Played out of position on his senior debut for Les Bleus but handled himself well.
CB: Raphael Varane – 4/10 – Made captain in Hugo Lloris’ absence. Didn’t defend with much seniority.
CB: Ibrahima Konate – 6/10 – Put in a few recovery challenges but always looked awkward.
LB: Eduardo Camavinga – 3/10 – Hung out to dry in his first real outing as a left-back.
DM: Aurelien Tchouameni – 6/10 – Tried his best to hold the fort but needed more help.
CM: Jordan Veretout – 3/10 – Way out of his depth. Hid at times and just shouldn’t be starting a World Cup match.
CM: Youssouf Fofana – 3/10 – Looked bright early on but continually dribbled his way into trouble, culminating in Tunisia’s opener.
AM: Matteo Guendouzi – 3/10 – Failed to link midfield and attack. Gave the ball away loosely.
CF: Kingsley Coman – 5/10 – Progressed the ball well when coming deep to receive it but didn’t threaten Tunisia where it mattered.
CF: Randal Kolo Muani – 5/10 – Likewise helped out in deeper areas but not enough in the final third.
SUB: William Saliba (63′ for Varane) – 4/10
SUB: Adrien Rabiot (63′ for Veretout) – 4/10
SUB: Kylian Mbappe (63′ for Coman) – 3/10
SUB: Antoine Griezmann (73′ for Fofana) – 5/10
SUB: Ousmane Dembele (79′ for Guendouzi) – 4/10
Manager: Didier Deschamps – 3/10 – Sure, it was a dead rubber for France and Deschamps was right to rest his key men, but the XI he picked seriously lacked cohesion.
Player of the Match – Wahbi Khazri
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