Thursday October 4 2018
EL: Cutrone overturns Olympiacos

Milan completed a late comeback to sweep Olympiacos aside 3-1 with Gonzalo Higuain and a brace from substitute Patrick Cutrone.

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The Rossoneri had won 1-0 away to Dudelange and wanted to maintain their perfect start to the Europa League group, especially after Sunday’s 4-1 Serie A victory at Sassuolo. Gonzalo Higuain returned from a muscular injury, though Mattia Caldara was still out. While Gennaro Gattuso kept squad rotation to a minimum, Olympiacos changed the entire starting XI that lost to PAOK at the weekend.

Milan thought they had taken the lead after six minutes when Jack Bonaventura’s header on a Suso cross was going into the far bottom corner, but Samu Castillejo insisted on getting the final touch at the back post and was offside.

Instead, Olympiacos broke through with a goal out of nowhere. Leonardo Koutris whipped in a cross from the left and Miguel Angel Guerrero got in front of Cristian Zapata for a glancing header.

The visitors gained confidence and Nahuel’s scorcher flashed wide, while Higuain blasted a free kick over the bar. Pepe Reina mistimed the rush off his line and was fortunate Nahuel couldn’t get the lob in to an empty net from a tight angle.

Higuain was the only real danger for Milan, as he ran on to a long ball to force a save from Jose Sa’s knee at the near post, then the low Castillejo cross from the left was just behind him.

There was a similar situation when Castillejo couldn’t get his head to the Suso cross.

After the break, Suso hit the side-netting and Reina smothered a Guilherme strike, but Milan were fortunate Guerrero’s free header whistled wide from another Koutris cross in a repeat of the goal situation.

Patrick Cutrone was thrown on and almost equalised on 61 minutes, as he snuck up behind defenders and at full stretch just failed to get the touch to a Suso cross at the far post.

Milan really should’ve got the goal when a corner was taken short to find Cristian Zapata unmarked from 12 yards, but he hit a fresh-air shot.

They eventually got back on level terms with Cutrone, who timed his jump perfectly for a looping header on Ricardo Rodriguez’s cross from the left.

Moments later, the young striker almost got his second, unable to get a clean touch to the low Suso cross from six yards.

Milan did turn the game around completely, as Higuain gathered a Calhanoglu through ball, cut back inside to commit Cisse and placed the finish into the far bottom corner from 11 yards before another defender could come sliding in to block.

The momentum had transformed at San Siro and Cutrone completed his brace, peeling away from his marker to meet a smart Calhanoglu low assist rolled across the face of goal to the back post.

Gattuso’s substitutions were decisive, as Cutrone scored twice and Calhanoglu provided two assists. Calhanoglu almost scored another with the last kick of the game, his effort from the edge of the box smacking the far post on a Cutrone assist.

Milan 3-1 Olympiacos

Guerrero 14 (O), Cutrone 70, 79 (M), Higuain 76 (M)

Milan: Reina; Calabria, Zapata, Romagnoli, Rodriguez; Bakayoko, Biglia, Bonaventura (Calhanoglu 54); Suso (Borini 80), Higuain, Castillejo (Cutrone 54)

Olympiacos: Jose Sa; Torosidis (Meriah 78), Roderick, Cisse, Koutris; Natcho, Guilherme; Fetfatzidis, Toure, Leiva (Podence 72); Guerrero

Ref: Madden (SCO)

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