Patrick Cutrone nets first Derby della Madonnina goal to cap 8/10 night
AC Milan booked their place in the semifinals of the Coppa Italia on Wednesday night with an enthralling and much-needed 1-0 win over Internazionale.
An extra-time goal from Patrick Cutrone separated the two sides, with the Rossoneri now advancing to face Lazio.
Given recent results, Gennaro Gattuso and the players were under real pressure to deliver. The grit, determination and desire shown was exceptional, and maybe this match can be a catalyst to kick-start the second half of the season.
Milan need to get better results when they apply sustained pressure. While they eventually made it pay off in extra-time, there were spells in the game in which they should have done better to take advantage.
Manager rating out of 10
7 -- Gattuso made two key changes in bringing on Cutrone and Hakan Calhanoglu. His passion and resilience are made for these kind of matches even if he is limited to stalking the touchline.
Player ratings out of 10 (1-10; 10 = best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)GK Antonio Donnarumma, 7 -- As expected, he was jeered by many supporters early on as he received the same treatment as his brother. However, it was great to see him silence them with a crucial save and double-stop in the second half to prove his worth. Showed real class and earned the plaudits.
DF Ignazio Abate, 6 -- The veteran right-back deserves credit for keeping Ivan Perisic quiet for the most part, although he's still clearly very limited in what he can offer. Was forced off with an injury in the second half.
DF Leonardo Bonucci, 6 -- Greatly improved his performance in the second half after he showed a lack of composure while playing sloppy passes before the break. He does deserve a big share of the praise for nullifying Mauro Icardi.
DF Alessio Romagnoli, 7 -- Didn't put a foot wrong in a brilliant defensive display. Icardi didn't get a sniff as he kept things tight at the back and set Milan on their way going forward when on the ball. On the day Virgil van Dijk confirmed his move to Liverpool for a staggering fee, it makes you wonder how valuable Romagnoli is. In an ideal world though, he'll stay with Milan for a very long time.
DF Ricardo Rodriguez, 6 -- Similarly to Abate, he did well with his defensive assignment and Antonio Candreva quiet. He still needs to do better with his distribution from the left flank, but a decent shift from the left-back.
MF Franck Kessie, 7 -- Until he sorts his feet out in the final third, it will always be an easy target for criticism. However, he made his presence felt with his physical play, powerful driving runs, and overall tenacity in an impressive performance.
MF Lucas Biglia, 6 -- Did well sweeping up in front of the defence and put in a real shift for the team. However, still didn't grab the game by the throat and he lacks that assertiveness and accuracy to dominate the midfield battle.
MF Manuel Locatelli, 6 -- Needs to do much more, but his ability to keep pushing the ball is a key strength that should result in more playing time. Would prefer to see him play in the central role, but his quick passing and movement off the ball is important in an otherwise stagnant midfield when Biglia or Riccardo Montolivo play.
FW Suso, 7 -- Not always accurate with his delivery and did frustrate at times. However, he produced a moment of class as he registered an assist for the all-important winning goal with a perfectly weighted pass for Cutrone as he finally found a breakthrough.
FW Nikola Kalinic, 5 -- It was a tough task to go up against two physical Inter centre-halves, and so it's difficult to be too harsh. However, he didn't do nearly enough to make himself a nuisance barring some nice flicks and link up play. Cutrone showed the savvy movement needed that Kalinic was lacking.
FW Giacomo Bonaventura, 6 -- Worked hard defensively and continued to plug away throughout. Missed a great chance in normal time, which he should have buried, but was an influential figure and was key in getting the Milan faithful back on side.
DF Davide Calabria, 6 -- Did really well after replacing Abate. He got up to the speed of the game to continue to keep Perisic quiet, while he pushed forward to offer width whenever possible.
MF Hakan Calhanoglu, 6 -- A really important cameo appearance from the Turkish international as he showed glimpses of what we want to see from him. Tenacious in the tackle, inventive on the ball albeit it was all still a little too safe, let's hope he can build on this.
FW Patrick Cutrone, 8 -- It was an unforgettable night for the 19-year-old, as he bagged his first derby goal to win the game. He showed exceptional cleverness to make the run and get in behind before keeping his composure to slot the ball home. Further, his work ethic and desire ensured he was key in seeing the game out too.
Sumeet Paul covers AC Milan for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter: @SP_Calcio.