Notes On Europa League Qualification
Milan beat Rio Ave in a shootout and it took 12 rounds of it to win the game.
The game was 1-1 at 90 minutes and 2-2 at 120 minutes.
The first half was mediocre at best with Castillejo once again the focal point of the poor play. Other starters, which surprisingly included Maldini, were not much better.
The second half started with a quick goal when Saelemaekers found the ball just outside of the box and shot low to beat Pawel Kieszek in Rio Ave’s goal.
Diaz had come in in Castillejo’s place but any improvement in play was nonexistent.
Poor coverage and ball watching led to the hosts’ equalizer.
The game headed into the extra 30 minutes and within two minutes the hosts took the lead, with again questionable defending.
The other subs, Tonali and Colombo in extra time, made little difference but Milan spent a lot of time in Rio Ave’s third. A final minute shot into the box was handled by Rio Ave’s Toni Borevkovic. Calhanoglu converted the penalty to send the game into a shootout. Both goalies were unable to make a difference and when it fell to them to take a penalty both missed. In the 11th round of the shootout Bennacer missed but Francisco Geraldes did too. Kjaer scored with the 12th penalty but Aderlan Santos had his shot saved. Milan squeezed through to the Europa League groups stage in an almost surreal atmosphere in Portugal’s north. All the while the most distraught person was the aforementioned Borevkovic, standing on the sideline.