Milan was more short handed – five players missing due to COVID-19 protocols, three playing at Africa Cup Of Nations, plus Kjaer and Pellegri all out – than Roma but Ibra, Leao and Rebic were on the bench following injury absences.
The early minutes were advantage Milan and Theo almost beat Rui Patricio with a low shot from distance. Subsequently VAR intervened and with the aid of the pitch side monitor the ref handed Milan a penalty. Theo’s shot at goal had grazed Tammy Abraham’s arm. Giroud converted the penalty.
Milan doubled the lead when a back pass was weak and short, it was picked up by Giroud who beat Rui Patricio from an acute right angle and hit the post but the rebound was found by Messias who thumped the ball in the far corner.
The back wasn’t always the most secure looking. In one instance Nicolo Zaniolo broke through and was stopped by a good Maignan save. The opening originated from a missed midfield ball. Before the 30 minute mark Messias had another half chance from a Florenzi pass on the right.
Roma’s best chance so far came in the 40th minute where a shot was just diverted slightly by Abraham’s head and forced Maignan into an acrobatic, top level reflex diversion for a corner. In the resulting corner the ball was shot on goal by Abraham but was diverted into his own goal by Krunic. The goal was credited to English forward.
Tensions were high in the latter minutes of the first half with more than one incident and more controversy as players came to shoves twice. A kick out at Krunic was not seemingly checked and very late in first half added time Zaniolo may have been fouled. 2-1 for Milan at the half it was.
The second started at a high pace with chances exchanged. A notable was a Brahim shot after eluding the defender. The long range shot hit the crossbar. In the 60th minute Maignan’s outstretched hand saved a low Abraham ball. Roma were crawling back into the match and Milan had the goalkeeper to thank. Bakayoko and Leao came on for Krunic and Saelemaekers. Later Diaz found himself with a good deal of space from a Giroud cross and missed his shot, moments later Messias shot high.
Roma made a triple sub in the 71st minute with two of them being familiar names, coming on were Stephan El-Shaarawy and Bryan Cristante plus Felix Afena-Gyan. Moments later Rick Karsdorp got another yellow for a 50-50 foul on Theo. Roma went a man down and the ensuing freekick was almost shot in by Florenzi. The former Roma player hit the corner of the far post and crossbar. He was substituted soon after for a very rare Conti – probably the most likely player to depart this January – appearance. Ibra came on for Giroud at the same time. Leao widened Milan’s lead minutes later. A long ball came to Ibra who chested it back into Leao’s path, the Portuguese burst through the Roma defense at top speed and finished well. Roma had a penalty shout in the 84th minute but it would have been very harsh and certainly not anywhere close to the foul on Krunic earlier in the first half. As added time was approaching Gianluca Mancini prevented possible fourth Milan goal. Deep in the four added minutes Mancini brought Leao down making no real attempt at the ball. Ibra’s penalty was stopped by Rui Patricio.
The game ended an eventful 3-1.