Serie A review: Deulofeu finding himself at AC Milan


AC Milan's Gerard Deulofeu, left, celebrates after scoring against Fiorentina. (Antonio Calanni/AP)

• Serie A, Stadio Giuseppe Meazza – AC Milan 2 (Kucka 17’, Deulofeu 31’), Fiorentina 1 (Kalinic 21’)

Sunday’s posticipo (final match of the day) pitted two traditional giants of Italian soccer against each other who are also both desperately trying to climb up the ladder and into the Europa League zone—Milan and Fiorentina sat seventh and eighth in the table ahead of this one. It was also a reunion of sorts, with Milan manager Vincenzo Montella facing his former club, so on paper this contest looked to be a tense and entertaining affair. It delivered for the most part.

Milan welcomed back Gabriel Paletta and Juraj Kucka from suspension, but were still missing Alessio Romagnoli, Mattia De Sciglio, Luca Antonelli, and Giacomo Bonaventura. Federico Bernardeschi was banned for Fiorentina, so Josip Ilicic earned a rare start.

A three-goal outburst in a 14-minute span during the first half thrilled the crowd at San Siro, with Gerard Deulofeu, on loan from Everton, scoring the winner on a highlight reel effort. A fairly open first half gave way to a more tactical battle in the second half, with Fiorentina controlling matters and Milan dropping deep, forcing Montella to switch from a 4-3-3 to a 3-5-2 formation for the final 15 minutes.

With the win, Milan put some distance between themselves and Fiorentina, and they solidified their hold on seventh place, keeping pace with city rivals Lazio, surprise package Atalanta and Inter Milan for the battle over the two automatic Europa League berths. Fiorentina remained in eighth, and while there’s still plenty of time for the viola to recover, this loss is a bit of a blow to their European hopes.



Can Deulofeu become a key contributor for AC Milan as it pushes for a European spot? Deemed surplus to requirements at Everton, Deulofeu, a product of Barcelona’s La Masia youth academy, has taken to life in Serie A quite nicely. This was his fourth appearance for the rossoneri, and the young Spaniard already has a goal and assist. He’s seamlessly fit into Montella’s 4-3-3- system, giving the manager another young and dynamic weapon in attack to call upon. If Deulofeu keeps this up—a big if when you consider his time at Everton—he’ll help Milan challenge for a top-six spot.


Gerard Deulofeu: He scored that marvellous goal—his first in Italy—and provided the home side with genuine pace and width while playing off on the wing and behind front man Carlos Bacca. He was at the heart of Milan’s attack, causing multiple problems for Fiorentina’s back line, before he was subbed out in the 73rd minute. His best outing for the rossoneri since arriving in Serie A.


31’ GOAL! AC Milan 2-1 Fiorentina: Deulofeu restored Milan’s lead with a brilliant finish. Fiorentina’s Borja Valero lost the ball inside his half, and Milan’s Mario Pasalic was there to scoop it up and feed Deulofeu. The young Spaniard took two touches before firing a side-footed shot from the edge of the box that tucked inside the bottom right corner, a goal that stood up as the winner. It was a dazzling display of pace and skill from the Everton loanee.



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