Sampdoria 0-1 AC Milan: Player rating

AC Milan started their 2021/22 season with a tough battle at Sampdoria.

Brahim Diaz scored the only goal of the match in a fierce meeting at the Stadio Luigi Ferraris.

Portuguese forward Rafael Leao almost opened the scoring within ten minutes when he ran on Mike Maignan’s long goal kick, but his effort was tipped off by Emil Audero.

But Brahim gave Milan the lead not far behind. Davide Calabria won the ball high on the pitch and his cut was met by the Spaniard, whose shot spun under the Audero and into the Sampdoria net.

Euro 2020 star Mikkel Damsgaard responded almost immediately, but could not get a much-needed toe on Antonio Candreva’s post. Manolo Gabbiadini’s free kick was tipped over the crossbar by Maignan shortly after, and Damsgaard’s effort from the resulting corner was well stopped by the Frenchman.

Audero then almost gave Milan another when he pushed Theo Hernandez’s effort straight into Rade Krunic’s road, but he could only find the side netting.

Sampdoria increased the pressure after the break, with Hernandez almost giving away a penalty for a challenge against Gabbiadini.

Olivier Giroud had a calm debut, but almost sealed all three points with a close range, but Bartosz Beresznyski got enough of it to divert the effort behind.

Sampdoria’s last chance came when Candreva shot the ball over the goal, but substitute Valeria Verre could not direct it towards the goal and Milan held on for the victory.

Maignan was impressive on his debut / Jonathan Moscrop / Getty Images

Mike Maignan (GK) – 8/10 – Great shoes to fill as Gianluigi Donnarumma’s replacement, but passed his first test with brilliance. Be comfortable with the ball at your feet and made plenty of top stops.

Davide Calabria (RB) – 7/10 – A threat down the right flank and was well deserved his assist.

Simon Kjaer (CB) – 6/10 – Was bombed a lot and was very much at war.

Fikayo Tomori (CB) – 7/10 – Recovery pace and confidence on the ball were quite useful assets for Milan.

Theo Hernandez (LB) – 6/10 – Good forward as expected, but a little suspicious defensively. Sampdoria consistently doubled on him along the side.

Brahim played between the lines / Getty Images / Getty Images

Alexis Saelemaekers (RM) – 6/10 – Played more of a supporting role for Calabria to catch Sampdoria out with their barking runs.

Sandro Tonali (CM) – 6/10 – Nicely in possession but will not have been happy with how much joy the hosts got in areas behind him and in front of the defense. Made a vital block late.

Rade Krunic (CM) – 7/10 – Had bad luck not finding the net but still showed its value.

Rafael Leao (LM) – 6/10 – Started quickly but was then guilty of thinking too much when he was in possession. Could not use his trick or pace effectively.

Brahim Diaz (AM) – 7/10 – Lots of signs that he can take on the responsibility of creating and scoring goals that Hakan Calhanoglu has left.

It was a quiet evening for Giroud / Quality Sport Images / Getty Images

Olivier Giroud (CF) – 5/10 – Was not involved too much but at least gave Milan a direct withdrawal.

Ismael Bennacer (CM) – 6/10

Ante Rebic (LW) – 6/10

Alessandro Florenzi – (RM) – N / A

Alessio Romagnoli – (CB) – N / A

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