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AC Milan 1-0 Napoli: Theo Hernandez’s brilliance shines once again

Milan clinched victory over Napoli at San Siro with a well-executed goal by Theo Hernandez, assisted by Rafael Leao, although they faced some late pressure.

Tijjani Reijnders was suspended, and Fikayo Tomori, Malick Thiaw, Pierre Kalulu, Mattia Caldara, Tommaso Pobega, and Samuel Chukwueze were unavailable. Ismael Bennacer and Yacine Adli started together for the first time. Mario Rui was suspended, Victor Osimhen was at the Africa Cup of Nations, and Alex Meret was sidelined with gastroenteritis. Walter Mazzarri returned to a three-man defense with a free role for Kvicha Kvaratskhelia, as Piotr Zielinski returned from injury.

Despite being a Champions League quarter-finalist last season, Napoli hadn’t lost a Serie A game at San Siro since December 2014, winning their last three matches here.

Napoli had an early chance as Kvaratskhelia provided a cross from the right, but Giovanni Simeone missed the target from close range.

Milan broke the deadlock with a well-coordinated move initiated by Theo Hernandez from midfield. After receiving the ball from Olivier Giroud, Rafael Leao delivered a precise pass to Hernandez, who found the net at the near post.

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Rafael Leao attempted to double the lead with a curling shot from distance, but Pierluigi Gollini made a flying save to push it away.

Milan made a substitution when Davide Calabria suffered a muscular issue. Alessandro Florenzi came on to replace Calabria.

In the second half, Napoli made a tactical change by introducing Matteo Politano for Leo Ostigard, shifting to a 4-3-3 formation.

Florenzi’s deflected shot caught Gollini off guard, and he had to be alert to prevent Giroud from capitalizing on the rebound.

Ruben Loftus-Cheek appealed for a penalty after a challenge from Amir Rrahmani during Leao’s assist, but the referee waved play on.

Despite attempts from Bennacer and Leao, Simeone squandered another opportunity, firing over the bar.

Politano came close with a left-foot curler that grazed the far post, while Mattia Gabbia denied Giacomo Raspadori’s attempt. Leao’s finish missed the target.

Loftus-Cheek blocked a Politano shot, and Napoli had a late double chance in the 89th minute. First, Jan Simic deflected Jesper Lindstrom’s effort onto the upright, then Mike Maignan made a crucial save to deny Politano’s follow-up.

There were penalty appeals after a ricochet hit Yunus Musah’s hand, but the referee deemed it unintentional, and the challenge on Giovanni Di Lorenzo was fair.

Ethan Dempsey
Ethan Dempsey
Ethan is a lifelong football fan. When he is not obsessing over the Premier League games, Ethan likes to read fantasy tomes, watch football documentaries and waste hours upon hours on video games.
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