On a vibrant Champions League night, when the stars of PSG and AC Milan collided, it wasn't just the French prodigy, Kylian Mbappe, who grabbed the limelight. A young maestro, 17-year-old Warren Zaire-Emery, emerged from the shadows, orchestrating two brilliant assists that left the Milan defence in tatters. But would Milan's sporadic flashes of brilliance stand against PSG's unyielding onslaught?
PSG vs Milan Highlights 2023: Champions League
Football • 26 Oct, 2023 • 2,027 Views • ⭐ 5.0
Written by Anand Swami
Young Blood Shines
At just 17, Warren Zaire-Emery was the star of the night. With Milan oscillating between energy and disorganization, Zaire-Emery provided PSG with the spark they needed, notching two crucial assists. His performance showcased his potential, finishing with an impressive 42/47 passes and creating four chances. Notably, he picked up his third assist with a brilliant play, setting up Kang-In Lee's goal. His ability to recover eight loose balls also underlined his commitment and work rate throughout the match. His astounding vision and control in the middle third set him apart from players twice his age.
Milan's Struggle in Attack
Although Milan showed glimpses of their might, they were often let down in the attacking third. Rafael Leao, in particular, looked isolated. Instead of connecting with his teammates, he tried, unsuccessfully, to breach PSG's defence single-handedly – a strategy that yielded no dividends. This lack of synergy was particularly evident as Leao made multiple attempts to penetrate PSG's area, only to be dispossessed each time. Olivier Giroud, despite a valiant effort, couldn't capitalize on the few chances that came his way. Milan's inability to effectively utilize their forward line will certainly be a point of reflection for them.
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Defensive Lapses Prove Costly
Milan's defence, particularly Fikayo Tomori, had a night to forget. After being caught out on Mbappe’s opener, Tomori was later involved in a controversial VAR decision that saw Ousmane Dembele’s strike ruled out. Despite these let-offs, PSG's other stars, Randal Kolo Muani and Kang-In Lee, ensured the Italian giants couldn't catch a break. Tomori also faced further challenges, with Kylian Mbappe proving a constant thorn in his side. Later in the match, Tomori picked up a booking that added to Milan's woes. As the minutes passed, Milan's defence seemed increasingly fragile, leading to more opportunities for PSG.
Mike Maignan, Milan’s last line of defence, was their beacon of hope. His brilliant saves, especially a fingertip one against Mbappe, showcased his skills. Unfortunately, despite his best efforts, Milan's defence couldn't hold back PSG's relentless attack. In one stunning instance, Maignan tipped a fiercely struck shot by Mbappe onto the post, denying PSG a certain goal. Despite the onslaught, Maignan's commendable efforts ensured the scoreline didn't balloon even further. His reflexes and positioning were arguably the only consistent elements in Milan's defence.
"Group of Death" Dynamics
This victory for PSG catapulted them to the top of Group F, solidifying its reputation as the "Group of Death". Milan, now at the bottom, will be relying on their upcoming home games to make a bid for the knockout stages. Given that Milan now has consecutive home games, there's a glimmer of hope for them to bounce back and potentially progress. However, with their current form in the Champions League, improvements are imperative. The dynamics of this group continue to intrigue fans, with each match bringing new twists and turns.
The match was punctuated by moments that will long be remembered. From Leao's relentless attempts to penetrate PSG's defence, only to be thwarted time and again, to Mbappe's confrontation with the official at halftime, signifying the tension on the pitch. Maignan's exceptional save off Mbappe's powerful shot highlighted the sheer willpower of Milan to stay in the game, even as PSG threatened to pull further ahead.
Tomori's challenging evening, compounded by Dembele's disallowed goal after VAR intervention, showcased the highs and lows football can present in just 90 minutes. These instances not only defined the narrative of the game but showcased the razor-thin margins between success and disappointment in elite football.
Amid the pulsating rhythm of a classic Champions League encounter, PSG's finesse proved superior, with the scoreboard echoing a commanding 3-0 victory. PSG's artistry, particularly from young Zaire-Emery, overshadowed Milan's potential. As the dust settles, PSG reigns supreme in the "Group of Death", leaving Milan with much contemplation and strategy for the battles ahead.
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