Milan eventually prevailed in a brilliant Coppa Italia tie on Tuesday night as we secured a 4-2 win over Torino after extra-time at San Siro.
Giacomo Bonaventura had given us an early lead, but a brace from Torino defender Bremer looked as though it could potentially send us out of the competition.
However, Hakan Calhanoglu struck in injury time to bring us level, and the Turkish international was on hand to score again in extra-time as we re-took the lead before Zlatan Ibrahimovic added the icing on the cake to wrap things up just minutes later.
It was a back-and-forth thriller, but the important thing is that Milan came out on top to set up a semi-final clash with Juventus, while that’s now six games unbeaten and five wins in a row across all competitions.
Great character to come back
Bremer’s second goal was a real body blow for the Rossoneri, and with just 20 minutes remaining it looked as though the tie was slipping away from us.
However, it was great to see the steeliness and desire in the side to keep pushing to find a way back into it. When our confidence has been low in the past, heads would drop and we’d struggle to keep our discipline. This time round, we produced the right reaction and Stefano Pioli deserves a huge amount of credit for his game-changing substitutions.
Even after Ibrahimovic’s miss in injury time, we put that behind us and came out for injury time with the right attitude and it was a massive boost to see us continue to build momentum.
Relief for Calhanoglu
The 25-year-old has been through some testing times as he hasn’t performed at the level required and many supporters have let him know about it, be it at the stadium or on social media.
However, he finally showed the quality that he’s capable of producing with two great goals and his impact off the bench was decisive in turning the tie back in our favour.
One impressive outing doesn’t dismiss all the disappointment that came before it though, and so while Calhanoglu deserves credit now just as he deserved the criticism previously, he must now build on this and take advantage of releasing that pressure off his shoulders.
Ibrahimovic scores in front of Curva Sud
The 38-year-old missed another sitter in injury time, and it was hoped that we wouldn’t come to rue that as the game went on.
He didn’t miss a second time though as he produced a brilliant finish to score our fourth on the night, and it was an absolute joy to see him celebrate in front of the Curva Sud once again with that trademark pose.
Milan’s unbeaten run has coincided with his return to the club, and while he can’t take all the credit for that, his influence is having a clear impact as his guidance on and off the pitch is helping his teammates.
Rebic making strong case for starting place
After his heroics off the bench in the previous two games, Ante Rebic was given a chance in the starting line-up on Tuesday night and he looked impressive again.
It’s striking to see what confidence can do for a player, as he showed his ability to take defenders on and leave them trailing while offering a real goalscoring threat in his own right.
His pace, trickery and movement off the ball coupled with his work-rate and defensive work arguably now make him very difficult to drop as a partnership with Ibrahimovic could be worth testing.
Last of Piatek?
As per the Guardian, Krzysztof Piatek is being paired with an exit from Milan before the transfer deadline, and as he struggled to make an impact against Torino, the question has to be asked as to whether that could be the last we see of him.
Given how prolific he was last season and the immediate rapport he built with the fans, it will be incredibly disappointing to see him leave the club any time soon.
However, he simply isn’t delivering this season and with Ibrahimovic, Rebic and Rafael Leao arguably now ahead of him in the pecking order, it’s difficult to see him staying.
Time will tell if an exit materialises or not, but while he may have had a chance of ending talk of a departure if he performed in this game, it unfortunately went the other way and leaves us questioning whether or not he’ll still be a Milan player beyond this week.